Sunday Advice Column #6


Happy Sunday fellow mutants. I’ve had a pretty killer weekend so long and plenty of time to ponder these questions. Give ’em a gander.

My daughter recently lost a tooth and, after comparing notes with her classmates, has discovered that the Tooth Fairy had unfairly reimbursed her at less than half the price her friends were getting for their teeth. I thought $2 was pretty generous of the fairy, but maybe I’m way behind the times. What’s the proper amount?

A quick Internet search tells me today’s American kids are earning about $3.70 per tooth on average. I made a fairly average buck a tooth in the early 80s. Adjusting for inflation that would end up being about $2.30. So basically you, much like the American worker’s wages, are nor quite keeping up with inflation.

If you want to bring your financials up to date, tell her you received an email from the Tooth Fairy’s team informing you that there was an accounting error and she can expect the balance owed of $1.40 to be delivered under her pillow as early as tonight.

If you’ve spoiled her, she might want more, but that’s sort of your fault.

You could always try to teach her a useful lesson. Tell her the tooth she lost wasn’t worth much because the dental hygiene practiced at the time of harvest left a bit to be desired. If she wants to earn serious money, she’ll have to take care of the remaining teeth in a way that meets the Tooth Fairy’s high quality standards.


Anyway, what do you think the tooth fairy does with all those teeth? I bet there’s something like an ivory trade. Those creeps collect all the tiny teeth and carve them into small chess pieces or handles for their Lilliputian revolvers.

In Italy, the Tooth Fairy is frequently portrayed as a tiny mouse. Imagine that shit. Mice adorned with baby’s teeth carved into the shape of little skulls, marked with the indecipherable ancient language of some long forgotten rodent god. They march around at night in your house like miniaturized Ewoks. Chanting. Always chanting. And beating their small drums made from bottle caps. Their whistling, chirping voices reciting prayers of vengeance that the first shall be made last and the last shall be made first.

Anyway, the whole concept of the tooth fairy seems dishonest to me. What lesson does it teach? That if you are disfigured you will be compensated by some supernatural entity? I know it’s supposed to comfort children in a scary time, but this is how people end up with creepy old sugar daddies or voting for Bernie Sanders.


How do you deal with backstabbing coworkers?

I prefer straightforward aggression when there’s conflict. I would pull the person aside and say something to them like, “hey I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, but I’m pretty sure you did X and I’m not having it.” Before you bring anyone else like a manager in, you want to let the person know what he or she did was noticed and not appreciated.

Before you get too crazy you need to be really aware of anything you might’ve done to add to the conflict. If you were being a twat, you need to own it. If you suck at your job and the person has no way to address that in your corporate structure, be aware of your shortcomings. Sometimes when a person feels like they’ve been stabbed in the back, they actually deserve to be stabbed in the front, they just keep avoiding what was coming by turning away, leaving the back as the only good target.

To move this forward, let’s just assume you’re blameless and you’re dealing with a cowardly asshole. This person is now dead to you. Don’t talk shit about them, though. The weird thing about duplicitous people is that they’re often very good at convincing others they’re nice people. You can easily find yourself dividing your team and that’s not a good thing.


If this person needs help with something, you’re too busy. If it looks like they’re about to fuck up something, you don’t help them. When it’s job review time, you don’t hold back.

Get off of this person’s radar as much as you can. When they inevitably fuck someone else over, you have an ally. This person becomes your pawn. You get them to go to the boss. You get them to lash out. When your enemy is weakened, move in and cut their head off (metaphorically speaking).

Sometimes the best thing for you to do is just leave. If the environment rewards backstabbing, you need to get out or get ready to get your hand dirty.

Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power is a great book about human nature and the use of power. A lot of nice people don’t like this book because it advocates a view of the world that is unkind and cruel (AKA the truth). Read it and apply the lessons to your life.


How old is too old to wear a vest?

It totally depends on the vest. You can go all the way to your grave with a well-tailored three-piece suit. If you’re a corny biker type or leather daddy, you probably feel ok about wearing a leather vest. Punk rockers and metal heads are famous for their battle vests. I have a well-worn Patagonia vest with a Western yoke design and I’ll probably wear it until it’s in rags.

Honestly, I feel like worrying about age appropriateness of clothing is stupid. Wear what you dig, dig what you wear.

What’s the shadiest behavior you’ve witnessed from a friend or coworker?

Having worked in the bar industry for many years I have a lot to choose from. I’ve seen countless fights, acts of infidelity, thievery, lying, cheating, and bullying. Hell, I’ve even stirred a drink with my penis once.

The shadiest behavior always comes from people in positions of power like managers or owners. I watched one manager pour well tequila into premium bottles one night when we ran out of the good stuff. I’ve had paychecks bounce while owners were off buying new property and having crazy sex parties. There is nothing worse than a bar owner or manager with a coke habit.


One thing that really gets me at farmers markets is when you hear people claim that they’re “beyond organic” and don’t have any sort of paperwork backing up their claims. If you’re “beyond organic” then you should easily be able to meet the minimum organic standards.

Does a woodchuck really chuck wood?

It turns out they don’t actually chuck wood. Marmota monax is this creature’s scientific name. They’re found all over North America and have different names depending on where they’re found. They’re called woodchucks, whistle pigs (they make weird noises), and sometimes land beavers.

Native Americans have been eating them for centuries and have quite a few different names for them: otchek, otchig, and wuchak. One or more of these was misheard by English settlers and that’s how we got “woodchuck.”

How will I know when I need advice?

When you have completely failed at something and have no ideas to advance further, it might be time to consult someone.



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