Knowing Is Half The Battle
Real True Confessions With Padre Pienbique
Quote Of The Month: AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young was once asked by an interviewer why he doesn’t play guitar solos like his brother Angus, he flatly stated: “They interfere with my drinking”
Despite electing a winner in Barack Obama, our nation still lacks two characteristics: A true moral compass and the confidence to draw the line when enough is enough.
Let me explain-
The other day I was flipping channels on the radio when the retards on the local hard rock channel announced a contest tie-in for the upcoming AC/DC show. The theme was “Dirty Deeds,” as in the song. The contest itself required that listeners email in the dirtiest deed they have ever been party to. The winner gets two front row tickets to the sold out show.
The ass-clowns on the morning show stipulated that all participants were subject to ejection if their story couldn’t pass the B.S. Detector. For example, one guy wrote in that he used an ex-girlfriend’s toothbrush to clean the toilet before putting it back in place for her to employ.
Even though the story certainly qualified as a Grade-A Dirty Deed, it was dismissed on the grounds that no man would ever scrub the toilet.
For all the concerts I’ve either gone to or been a part of, I’m embarrassed to admit that AC/DC has never been one of them.
If you’ve been reading my column for a while you’ll know that I have reported more than one dirty deed. And yes, they’re usually done dirt cheap.
So I went to their website and submitted my story about punishing a dishonest carnival worker by pushing a port-o-pottie he was in on its front door and laughing as gallon after gallon of corndog shit and 3.2 beer piss washed over him while he helplessly screamed in horror and disgust.
To beat the B.S. Detector and secure my front row tickets, I copied the link to the column I had originally confessed this. (http://www.jambands.com/Columns/AMiller/content_2005_10_12.00.phtml )
Everybody has a couple God-given talents. Mine are simple: I’m astute judge of character and I can tell a good story. It’s not enough to make a million on the market or get elected to congress, but it should be enough to win tickets to AC/DC.
Somehow, someone else must have submitted a story that out-dirties mine But how, I don’t know. If the contest itself wasn’t a fix and the DJ’s best friend didn’t “win” the tickets, then I don’t want to meet the motherfucker that one-upped me. And neither do you. Ditto to the guys in AC/DC. God help them if he gets VIP passes for the backstage.
It’s moments like these that I fear the world has passed me by. For fuck sake, what kind of person could top the fate of the poopie carny? And if the world has moved beyond that, I feel that some good advice for a troubled society is in order.
Unfortunately, dispensing carefully thought out advice isn’t nearly as easy as regurgitating tales of brown-and-golden showers. The whole process is fraught with obstacles, as good advice can get lost in any of the conceivable potholes along the path of inquiry.
Either the question (or quite often, the questioner) is unintelligible, the answer given isn’t what they expect/wanted, or most often, the advisor is expected to take their side.
These are the most obvious problems for an advice columnist. Secondary challenges creep in down the line, for no other reason than no good deed goes unpunished. Years ago, one fellow threatened to crush my skull because I had advised his girlfriend to run for her life after he came home drunk, cut himself several times with a knife and offered to do the same to me. (I caught wind of their marriage several months later. I guess nothing restores peace and removes everyday troubles like getting pregnant I’m sure it’s a happy ending!)
Lest anyone thinks the advice business is little more than drinking beer and talking shit, I’m taking this opportunity to set this record straight. Below are a few unanswered examples of the above issues. Together we’ll address the problems of deciphering their questions, and perhaps answer them if we can.
EXAMPLE 1: YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO GUESS WHAT I’M GONNA SAY TO THAT
This next question comes across my desk more often than you think. Even though it seems on the surface that I should have a stock answer, the truth is that to honestly answer his question, I have to review the past, evaluate the data, and be sure of my response.
What I was wondering is what’s the strangest thing y’all have autographed?
Time and place will do if you’re foggy.
There is nothing strange about signing the naughty parts of drunken women. There’s always someone that mistakes a Wu show for amateur night at D vu. But in the end, a tit is a tit, and as wonderful as they are, they’re not that strange. On the side of strange itself, it’s not as if anyone has asked me to write the lyrics from Kangaroo inside their labia. Thus, it’s not the where, but the what that was signed that’s up for grabs.
The real answer to this would be the record contract with Phoenix Rising the Wu signed years ago. It was certainly strange in that although it promised to promote, support and encourage the efforts and careers of the Big Wu and its musicians, it actually did quite the opposite. While the contract itself talked at length about the standard operation procedure for managing the production and sales of our musical efforts, it turns out that what it meant to say is that our lives are basically over if- more appropriately, when- they go tits up. Truly one boob you’d never want to sign. Instead of the guarantee of hot action, that autograph brought on the certainty of class action, as in lawsuits.
EXAMPLE 2: ASKING ME THE RIGHT QUESTION, BUT LOOKING FOR LOVE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES
Among my favorites, when a person in need of direction asks for advice, they’re usually looking for a certain answer. Like anybody lost in love, they already know what they want to hear, but unfortunately for them, the answer doesn’t suit the question.
I’m parading this particular example because my advice, is more upbeat than what he expects.
By the way, it’s within these queries that the advice columnist receives his reward for a job well done. There’s nothing like sending someone better news than they hoped to receive. The only danger is that they might act on it.
I was recently in my favorite tavern when one of the servers (off-duty of course) became very friendly with me. As the night progressed, it became very clear that jeans were about to be creamed. My Enemy (the bar owner) stepped in with a Super Cock-Block. All I heard was: "Don’t sleep with Bone Saw." I’m not worried about the girl because a few drinks will easily solve that problem. Revenge for my Enemy is more difficult. I decided to boycott his bar. No one else there drinks Old Style and he orders it special for myself. If I could stick him with a week or two of inventory that would be great.
There is one problem with this boycott. What if the beer actually does get neglected? Even worse, what if my enemy decides he needs to drink up this Old Style supply himself? He will then not only have cock-blocked me, but he’ll also be drinking my beer. The thought of this happening disgusts me. Should I continue with my boycott or do you have a better plan for revenge?
Clearly, there are two factors that he is not taking into consideration:
First, if he’s not careful, his Enemy is going to wind up with the girl and the Old Style beer. Talk about losing the farm!
Secondly, he wrongly assumes that his waitress is one of the few Americans that loves their boss and will listen to anything they say.
This is a breed of human that is rotten with bad ideas and ripe for picking on.
My advice to him is to get his head out of his ass and readjust his sights on getting his way with both the beer and the waitress that brings it to him. By the evidence he had presented, I’ve no choice but to take him at his word: The girl is friendly at her discretion, and the owner feels compelled to go out of way to keep the finest of American brews on tap for his customer’s enjoyment.
Thus, the beer he threatens to boycott and the owner that provides it to him are both non-factors in his equation. The problem is the “Super Cock-Blocking” he received. Cock blocking (Super or not) is a reaction to a threatening situation, and if anything, exposes the blocker’s weakness. If he keeps his cool, this man in need could be advised to play two games at once: Utilize a waitress’ inevitable aversion to her boss’ unwanted affection and play upon her willingness to get friendly.
Forget about the supply of Old Style beer that was specially ordered for his personal enjoyment. At this point, it’s irrelevant. What he has forgotten, and what the owner understands, is that custom beer is provided as a service, not a favor. The proof in the pudding comes along with the fact that the beer in question is sold, not handed over, like something as free and useless as advice.
If we are to add up the circumstances, venture a bit of deduction, and ultimately take all of the useful factors into account, we’ll see that our man with a problem doesn’t really have half as much to cry about as he led on. The difference is that between his failure to land a waitress and the shit doled out to him by his evidently bosom-buddy bartender, he’s just been caught short on mojo.
In short: How do you tell someone to grab some sack and do the right thing?
EXAMPLE 3: THE PERSONAL TOUCH
Once in a while, someone tries beating everyone to the punch, hoping to have their position will be validated by the affirmation of their truth through the magic of name-dropping. While this disposable ploy might work with any of my former booking agents, managers, or self-described rainmakers, I’m too old at 36 to suffer anymore of this foolishness. See below.
Is it bad that I want to kick Mike Lahti in the balls the next time he’s around? I try to not think this but he seems to always have some kind of comment, or wise-ass rebuttal to everything I say. What should I do?
P.S.: Would you want to help tackle Lahti and help bring him down a peg?
Moving a step beyond the usual “come on man, you know what I’m going through” routine, name-dropping is about to get this guy nowhere. That’s because I do know this guy. But I would never want to kick Lahti in the balls. I mean, the guy brews beer, and good beer too. What kind of fool wants to bite the hand that feeds him the cause- and solution- to most of the world’s problems? Good lord, this guy actually wants me to side with the devil and he’s got nothing in the cooler to make up for it.
EXAMPLE 4: POSING PERSONAL PROBLEMS AS PHILOSOPHICAL QUERIES
One step sneakier than name-dropping, this sort of question hopes to identify yours truly with the very troubles that plague their life. The old switch-a-roo of a query is an old ploy; if it doesn’t work on everyone the lost soul knows, then maybe the justification will spin up a little sympathy from the one person they know (who in this case) can drink more than them.
If you had a choice between making money from music or making money for drinking beer, what would you chose? Now, I know what you’re thinking. Technically, you get paid to do both at the same time, but if you did have to make a choice between only one or the other, what would it be? I ask myself that same question and I’m really starting to think that I have a drinking problem. Fuck it, the only drinking problem that I see is that I have two hands and only one mouth.
Silly rabbit, high-functioning alcoholism is for bass players. The thought that she (yes, this is from a woman) could align her problems with my positive attributes suggests something more devious than anything the above name-droppers could possibly plan on a good day. But I’m here to help- believe it or not.
So what do I do with such a case? It’s framed around me (to protect her tender position), yet begs for brutal honesty (if I was to tell her to cut the crap and just fucking admit that her life isn’t worth spit until she gets a grip.) It’s within these sensitive and personal moments that a good advice columnist can stop pretending that their ill-informed bullshit can change the world and just focus on making the sun shine, one life at a time.
Except that the best of advice columnists, along with everybody who knows this troubled child, would say the same thing: Be brave, take no shit, and announce to the world that you’ve decided to trade the problems caused by your drinking for the equally unattractive and always obnoxious loudmouth rap of newly sober.
That should make it all okay.
In the end, we’re all advice columnists. It’s not hard to see the angles when you’re on the outside looking in. The only difference is if you write it down for all to see, it’s all there to haunt you when it all goes wrong.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, be nice to your mother and drink your milk!
P.S.: St. Wouis Dan- Patience and self-control beats a dramatic statement. I’m thinking about you