From about the age of 7, when I'd
read Dear Abby in The Indianapolis Star,
I've been fascinated with the advice column. These days, I prefer the more
but the idea is the same.
The writers all have intractable
situations and they're asking the advice columnist for solutions. As far as I
know, no columnist has ever reversed the scenario and asked his or her readers
to answer questions and solve the columnist's problems — until now.
The scenarios that follow are 100
percent real-life situations that I have no idea how to resolve. I've asked my
friends and they also don't know. If you feel that you have the solution, you
grateful if you could solve these problems.
A stripper's secret
The first problem comes from
Texas, where a friend of mine has quite a nice career going for himself in
Dallas. Let's make up a name for him, say, "John F. Kennedy." John is
a married man whose personal life is quite uneventful. His best friend, we'll
call him "Jack Ruby," is quite the ladies' man. His current
girlfriend, "Marilyn," is extremely beautiful and cunning. Marilyn is
also the featured performer at one of the leading topless bars in Dallas. As
such, it's not unusual for her to make more than $1,000 a night in tips. Ruby
is fine with all of this, because Marilyn's money allows him to live a far more
lavish lifestyle than he otherwise would. They have a nice house, a new car and
he even gets to spend his free time watching his girlfriend and her peers on
What Ruby doesn't know is that
Marilyn supplements her income not only through lap dances and tips but by also
turning tricks with wealthy clients. This has doubled her income, giving Ruby
an even higher standard of living than before. Ruby is unaware of her
prostitution but is starting to wonder why Marilyn is suddenly making twice as much money at work. Did I mention that Ruby is
extraordinarily jealous and would likely go into a violent rage if he found
out? No? Well, he would, which makes my friend John's problem even more
Turns out that John's brother, "Bobby,"
is one of Marilyn's most faithful customers and is even convinced that he's in
love with her. He's threatening to expose all the secrets to Ruby, which would
be unfortunate not only because would it ruin then men's friendship, it could
also lead to violence. Ruby not only has a jealousy issue, he also has a stash
John's been urging his brother to
stop seeing Marilyn, but Bobby isn't listening. He's also subtly hinted to Ruby
that his girlfriend's seemingly inexplicable pay raise may in fact have an
explanation. He doesn't want the situation to get out of control, but he's also
powerless to keep his brother away from Marilyn, or to make Marilyn forgo her
illicit gains. What should he do?
I live with my wife in a duplex
in a fairly nice neighborhood. The rent is reasonable and the location is
convenient for our jobs and is close to several nice restaurants and grocery
stores. Everything was fine until our neighbors moved in about 18 months ago.
They're several young men with no apparent means of support. More importantly
to us, they belong to one of the worst rock bands I have ever heard and they
practice, quite loudly, several times a week. The sound of the drums makes our
walls rattle and the bass gives us headaches. And when they're not practicing,
they're throwing parties where the participants all get drunk and loud. This
happens so frequently that we have the police department's number on speed
dial. We've called in on them, our neighbors to our
south have called in on them and the neighbors immediately west have, too. The
police come out, tell them to quiet down and the problem is solved until the
next night, when the process starts all over again.
We've tried reasoning with them
to no avail. Our landlord is nice enough, but seems to have no deterrence power
either. Their front porch is littered with Pabst and Milwaukee's Best cans. All
of this might be tolerable if their band was actually good — but they're
horrible. Think Fugazi mixed with an alternate-universe Celine Dion.
All the suggestions we've gotten
from friends are either impractical or illegal. We don't want to vandalize
their instruments. We also don't want to burn down their house because, since
we live in a double, ours would burn down too. We're tired of calling the
police but want the noise to stop. Are there any legal, nonviolent courses of
action we can take?
Again, if you feel you have
answers to one or both of these problems, please let me know. I'm usually
pretty good at dispensing advice, but these issues have me stymied. Thanks for