Advice from the Mild Discomfort Auntie

Dear readers, kindly note the words “Mild Discomfort.” If you’re in serious trouble, please consult an Agony Aunt, such as Slate’s excellent Dear Prudence. But if you’re only slightly anxious, or in a spot of bother, or a wee bit miffed about something – I’m your Auntie!

Now, let’s get to this week’s letters.

Dear Mild Discomfort Auntie,

I’m an older, white, conservative, evangelical Christian and a life-long resident of Iowa. In the past few months, everyone I know has met at least one Republican candidate for President. Ron Paul shared a baloney sandwich with my chiropodist, Michele Bachmann bought some conditioner from my hairdresser, and my sister got hugged enthusiastically by Newt Gingrich. (Her ribs still hurt, but the X-rays came back negative).

But not one candidate has knocked on my door, way-laid me at McDonald’s, or stopped by to chat while I was putting up the storm windows. Mitt Romney spoke at my church, but as I approached him afterward to ask some in-depth questions about the Book of Mormon, he made a lame excuse – “Oops, I think I left the dog strapped to the roof of the car” – and hurried off.

What gives, Mild Discomfort Auntie?

Corn-fed and Fed Up

Dear Corn-fed,

Mild Discomfort Auntie shares your bafflement. She wonders, gently, if it might be a personal hygiene problem. Did you change your clothes after putting up the storm windows? Have you seen your dentist lately? Failing that, all that Mild Discomfort Auntie can suggest is that the God you pray to in church is really, really looking after you.

Dear Mild Discomfort Auntie,

Young Americans view the future

Like, my boyfriend – I’ll call him “Justin” ’cause that’s his name – is knocking boots with this sophomore skank, and all my friends are like, You’ve gotta ditch him, yo?, because he’s totally like, dissing you? but I’m like, No, it’s cool, because this way I don’t have to shag him, and really I just want someone to go to the movies with, for which he’s perfect because we’re both heavy into the auteur theory and take serious issue with Pauline Kael’s argument that film is essentially a collaborative medium. So my question is: am I normal?

No Foe of Truffaut

Dear No Foe,

Why settle for normal? You’re not a U.S. presidential candidate; you can aim higher. As for your predicament, Mild Discomfort Auntie suggests “re-purposing” your boyfriend as a friend and continuing to enjoy your nights out at the movies. Though as a writer herself, she feels constrained to add – respectfully! – that she considers the auteur theory to be, like, totally rubbish.

Dear Mild Discomfort Auntie,

Pocketing the silverware

I’ve messed up. After being released from prison for stealing a Starbucks grande mocha frap (decaf) to feed my starving sister, I was turned away from every bed-and-breakfast place in town. A celebrity chef befriended me and gave me shelter, but in the middle of the night I stole his silverware, only to get caught when it fell out of my pants as I was passing a police station.

To my amazement, the celebrity chef told the cops that he’d given me the silverware, and, when they left, he threw in a couple of candlesticks. He then reminded me of a “promise” I’d made to use the stuff to turn honest. But I’m buggered if I can figure out how to earn a living in this economy when all I’ve got is 64 place settings of stainless steel flatware in the “Stars and Stripes” pattern and two candlesticks shaped like turnips.

Can you help?

John V.

Dear John V.,

Mild Discomfort Auntie was not born yesterday. Not only has she seen Les Misérables, she’s read the book, and despite your ludicrous attempts to update the story, you, John V., are no Jean Valjean.

Still, on the off-chance that any fragment of your story is true, here is her advice. First, is your sister still starving? If so, Mild Discomfort Auntie suggests that she move to South Carolina, where the Republican candidates will soon be gathering to share their baloney.

Second, “Corn-fed” (see above) might be willing to buy your patriotic “Stars and Stripes” silverware.

Third, do you know any members of the celebrity chef’s family? Because he seems to be suffering from memory loss and should be tested for early-onset Alzheimer’s.

As for getting a job in this economy – if Mild Discomfort Auntie knew how to do that, would she be answering these letters?

Well, dear readers, that’s all we’ve got time for today. Don’t forget to send your (minor) problems to the Mild Discomfort Auntie!

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