November 16, 2004

They're Baaaaaaaaack!

Today's Musical Selection: "Chick-A-Boom" by Daddy Dewdrop

Hi, everybody! I hope all of you enjoyed The Great Debate. It was a well-argued match and a hell of a lot of fun. If you didn't enjoy it... well, sorry. But at least it's over now, right?

And now we turn our column back over to one of our regular features that's been on a brief hiatus, Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice and their romantic advice column. Uncle Millie had a bit of an unfortunate DWI incident a couple weeks ago, and he entered a court-ordered detox program. He's been granted a temporary release to produce this week's column. Therefore, he and Aunt Beatrice come to you today from the campus of the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California.

Since Uncle Millie is only allowed out of the center for a limited time, I'll skip the preamble and turn things over to our favorite couple. Take it away, you crazy kids!

- - - - -

Love Is Like Oxygen, and So Is Whiskey, by Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice

UM: Hello, lads! And greetings from the beautiful Betty Boop Clinic.

AB: Ford, dear. The Betty Ford Clinic. I've told you that four times already.

UM: Whatever. I've been banished here for 30 days, in involuntary service of the state, after my sham of a trial, the greatest miscarriage of justice since Dreyfus.

AB: Oh, please. They had you dead to rights on the drunk-driving charge.

UM: They were stopping everyone driving on that sidewalk. That's profiling!

AB: On the bright-side, you're now a record-holder. The police department says no one's ever recorded a higher score on their Breathalyzer.

UM: But it's no matter. Rancho Mirage is a lovely town. The skies are clear, blue and beautiful, and the temperatures are hovering in the 70s even in November. My friends back East aren't so lucky... I understand there was some snow late last week in the Northeast. So in some senses, life isn't so bad. And I believe I have benefitted from my time here. Of course, life on the inside deprives me of my truest companion, the light of my life, indeed that which makes me want to go on living-

AB: Oh, Millie, that's so swe-

UM: Whiskey!

AB: I should have seen that one coming.

UM: To drop me in the middle of paradise and then take away the nectar of the gods... well, 'tis a cruel, cruel joke indeed.

AB: I don't really think it's a joke. I think it's the point.

UM: I'm afraid I'm not following.

AB: There's a shock. Millie, you're an alcoholic. You have a problem with alcohol.

UM: That's a falsehood. I have no problem with alcohol. It's the police that have the problem with it.

AB: You're really a piece of work.

UM: Why, thank you, love.

AB: Let's just read our first letter.

Dear Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice,

I'm 29, and I've had my share of relationships, mostly unserious, and I'm about ready to settle down and find someone I can make a long-term commitment to. Problem is, I can't seem to meet anyone who's worth that kind of commitment. Most of the women I meet are just looking for a good time and don't want anything beyond fun, and the ones who seem interesting and whom I'd like to go farther with are married, engaged or in serious relationships. I'm starting to wonder if the Man Upstairs is having a joke at my expense.

Tell me, please: How do I break out of this rut I'm in?

Brandon in Atlanta

AB: Hi, Brandon. You seem like a nice guy, and I'm sure you'll find the woman you're looking for eventually, but my best advice to you is to be patient. Serious relationships don't happen overnight, and you need to endure a little waiting before you find the right person. If you're looking for a one-night stand, you can find one almost instantly -- as my dear husband never tires of demonstrating. Good, quality relationships take longer to arrange. The wait is worth it, though. Or so I'm told.

One piece of advice: If you're still going to the same clubs and hangouts you did when you were looking for a "good time," you might want to consider finding some new spots to frequent. Certain places have certain environments, and you're not likely to find long-term love in the same place you went to find hang-ups.

UM: Hook-ups, dear.

AB: Oh, you're right. Sorry about that.

UM: You're not very attuned to the slang of the young, my dear.

AB: Since I'm not trying to get them in bed, I don't have to be.

UM: I sense a certain bitterness.

AB: I'm still annoyed that you value whiskey over me. Although I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

UM: Oh, come, my love, I was just joshing you. Of course I miss you terribly. I think of you always, and count the days until you come to visit.

AB: Really?

UM: Really.

AB: Well, I- Thank you, Millie, that's very nice. So what's the punch line?

UM: There is no punch line, my dear. I am as serious as a heart attack. Though hopefully less fatal.

AB: How, uh, sweet.

UM: At any rate, lad, my beloved makes good suggestions. Ordinarily, I know this is the part where I'd ask you to get your head examined for wanting a committed relationship, perhaps quoting Shakespeare's dictum: "Why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free?" But I won't.

My time here in rehabilitation has given me a new appreciation for the things that really matter in life. I've realized that the support and companionship of the people you love can carry you through the darkest times, and I no longer mock those who seek it for themselves.

AB: Why, Millie, that was beautiful.

UM: Thank you. Now, lad, my dear wife is right to prescribe patience. A lot of the women in your age bracket who are interested in long-term commitment have, as you've noticed, already found someone to settle down with. For that reason, you might want to think of dating younger women. Not flirting with illegality, mind you, but 24- or 25-year old women are old enough to be looking for serious long-term relationships yet young enough not to have settled down with someone in particular yet.

AB: That's... actually good advice. Wow.

UM: alternatively, you could wait a couple years until your contemporaries' first marriages begin to dissolve, and suddenly the field becomes much more open.

AB: And there's the Millie I know. For a second, I was starting to wonder if they'd secretly replaced you with someone else. Still, that's remarkably... clear-headed advice coming from you. I'm impressed.

UM: I really have had the chance to think about the direction of my life in here.

AB: Okay, what is it?

UM: What is what, love?

AB: The punch line. What's the joke?

UM: There is no joke. I'm not kidding.

AB: All right.

Dear Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice,

I have a question of relationship etiquette. About two weeks ago, my best friend "Davey" broke up with his girlfriend "Julie." They'd been going out for a couple years. Over time, Julie sort of went looking to me to act as a go-between when things got difficult between her and Davey. She told me a lot of secrets about what went on between her and Davey. Real private things, if you catch my drift. I learned some less-than-appealing things about my pal.

At any rate, I took Julie out to dinner after the breakup to console her (I did the same for Davey separately), and she confessed that she had feelings for me. I told her that I had feelings for her, too, and we promised to talk about this more in the future.

So here's my question: Would it be right for us to start going out? Should we observe a "waiting period" out of respect for Davey? Should we tell him about the fact that we're going out? I really want to explore things with Julie, but Davey's my best friend, and I don't want to do anything that would hurt him or make him mad.

Ron in Grosse Pointe

UM: Ah, me lad, you're wading in dangerous waters. The best friend's ex-girlfriend is always a delicate subject, one of the leading causes of tension between gentleman friends. Many a good friendship has been torn asunder by it. So tread lightly, that's my first recommendation.

As for how you proceed, that depends on the circumstances and the temperament of your best friend. In general, though, it's always wise to observe a cooling-off period, lest your friend get the idea that you stole his lady away from him. That never ends well. And I'd also consider who dumped whom. If your friend broke it off with the lady, he'd probably be a lot more comfortable with the idea of your dating her than if she left him.

AB: That's surprisingly nuanced advice. Well done.

UM: Thank you, my love.

AB: I don't have that much to add. However, I would emphasize that Davey must be told at some point, preferably at the point when you make it official with Julie. If I were him, I'd want to know. Even if I didn't really like the idea, I'd rather hear about it from my best friend than picking it up weeks later through the grapevine.

UM: Yes, I agree. Although when you tell him, you might wish to select a venue with plenty of witness and ample avenues for escape, just in case he doesn't take it well.

AB: Although you keep slipping in those little Millie-isms that remind me of your typical personality, I have to say you're behaving yourself much better than usual. This rehab must actually be doing you some good.

UM: Why, thank you.

AB: So, when do you let me in on the joke?

UM: As I explained before, it isn't a joke.

AB: Okay...

Dear Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice,

Please help! My boyfriend is a conservative Republican, and I'm a moderate-to-liberal Democrat. Normally, this isn't a problem; we usually don't talk about politics and when we do, we know how to keep the discussions civil and calm.

But this election changed all that. I sincerely believe that President Bush is a danger to the country and the world, and I worked hard to defeat him. This caused some tension between my boyfriend and I, since he was working just as hard to re-elect Bush, but it wasn't too bad.

Since the election, though, he won't stop gloating! He wrote the word "MANDATE" in soap across the bathroom mirror. In bed, he says, "Who's your president? Who's your president?" After the election, he bought a pet hamster and calls it "Condoleezza."

I can't take it any more! What should I do?

Helen, In a Red State and Feeling Blue

AB: Hi, Helen. I have to admit, I share your disappointment about this election. I voted for Kerry myself. I respect and admire him, and I think he would have been a good president. It's too bad the majority of voters didn't agree with us, huh?

UM: I myself am no longer allowed to vote, thanks to that draconian law that convicted felons are denied the franchise, but if I could have voted, I'd have voted for the president. I think he's done a fine and admirable job in office. He cannot, however, hold a candle to my favorite president of all.

AB: Lincoln? Roosevelt? Washington?

UM: Bill Clinton. He was an inspiration to every man in America!

AB: Why didn't I guess?

UM: At any rate, your boyfriend's partisanship is irrelevant here. He's a jerk, plain and simple.

AB: Uncle Millie's right. This isn't about the election. It's about the fact that he can't respect your beliefs. There's only one thing to do with a guy like that.

UM: That's right: get even.

AB: Uh-

UM: Pay James Carville fifty bucks to call your boyfriend and threaten to come beat him. Spray-paint "DEMS 4-EVER" on the side of his car. While he's sleeping, tattoo a picture of Ted Kennedy on his chest. Make him sorry he ever crossed you.

AB: I think that's enough. She gets the point.

UM: I believe she does.

AB: Are your behavioral medications wearing off?

UM: I'm not on medication. I'm on a natural high.

AB: Well, I have to say, despite that little outburst at the end, you do seem much more fit for civilized society. You really do seem like a new man.

UM: I told you, this place has worked wonders. It's really affected me.

AB: I can see that. I'm impressed.

UM: And I've done it all thanks to my little secret.

AB: What's that?

UM: These.

AB: Those are... miniature airline liquor bottles?

UM: You bet. I have a friend on the outside who smuggles them in. You think I'd be able to take 30 days without my dear friends Jamison and Bushmill?

AB: Do you understand that that's the point?

UM: Point? Don't be ridiculous! Who would try to deny me my liquor? It's downright un-American.

AB: You really are beyond human help. Give me those.

UM: Get your own.

AB: I'm taking you back inside.

UM: Well, my work here is done. We'll see you again in a fortnight!

AB: Possibly fromt he inside of a jail cell, if this is Uncle Millie's idea of "detox."

UM: Happy hunting!

- - - - -

Thank you, Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice.

I think I'll be taking my leave now too. See you tomorrow!

Quote of the Day:
"In the NFL, it used to be the object of the game was to get into the end zone. Now, the object of the game is to get into the end zone and act like a fool."
- Norman Chad

Posted by Fred at November 16, 2004 06:45 PM


I'm not sure I like the new you. You used to be more crusty.

My advice to Ron in Grosse Pointe is to go for "Julie." His best friend "Davey" would. Heck - he already did. If Davey tries to get even by saying something about Ron getting something "used" just tell him it is no problem once you got passed the "used" part.

As for Helen, Blue in a Red state, how could NO one even mention witholding sex? I mean, c'mon. It works wonders. If a jerk has to jerk he won't be a jerk for long.

Posted by: Tripp at November 18, 2004 05:20 PM
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