“And,” I said, after thinking this over momentarily, “what do you perceive your ‘calling’ to be?
“I have begun an advice column.”
Now I understood why he appeared as a toned-down version of the actor Morgan Freeman. I couldn’t stop myself from playing along. “And what, exactly, are you going to offer advice about?”
“All things related to living among your species,” he said. “It is one of the most difficult tasks in the Galaxy. There are dynamics difficult even for us to understand, so I suspect it may be impossible for you, yourselves.”
“You think our civilization is complicated and confusing?”
“Sarah Palin,” was all he said.
“I see,” I said. “But how would an outsider like you be in a position to explain it?”
“I am smarter and more analytical than you.”
Upon hearing this, the urge to mention his frequent career changes and seemingly constant stream of reprimands from the Falloonian Elders came to mind, but I withstood it. “So what makes you think you would be successful at this latest endeavor?”
“I sense your cynicism but would invite you know I have already begun, with great results.” With that, he produced the briefcase that he carries around and began to retrieve papers. He thrust one at me. It read:
“Dear Ask the Alien:“My wife was always a wonderful traveling companion, cheerful, agreeable, and willing to lead a spirited conversation aimed at whiling away the hours of travel. A year ago, however, she purchased a new cell phone that accesses the Internet. I haven’t heard a word from her since. When we travel, she sits and stares at the darned thing, punching messages and laughing to herself. I might as well travel solo. What might I do?” It was signed “Lonely Traveler.”
“Well,” I said. “I can’t imagine problem like that. What advice would you offer?”
“Oh,” he said, “I already have. Here.” He handed me another sheet and I read:
“Dear Lonely Traveler:“Throw the offending instrument out the window.”
“That’s all?” I said.
“My secret lies in the quality or condition of being easy to understand,” he said.
“Simplicity is one thing,” I said, “suggesting a course of action that could lead to bodily harm is another. Do you have more?”
“Glad you asked,” he said. “Here’s a problem from another person.” I read:
|Men: you just have to face facts. There are things in life|
more interesting than you. Many things. Sorry - C.W.
“Dear Ask the Alien:“My husband was always a wonderful traveling companion, calm, agreeable and even tempered, until recently. We were on a trip, each minding our own affairs, when he suddenly reached over, grabbed my Smart Phone, and threw it over a bridge railing into the Arkansas River. What should I do? The last time I wrote you of a problem, you advised me to ‘cut him off.’ I should tell you that we are in our 70s, so I don’t think that advice will work.” It was signed, “Seeking Revenge.”
“Hmm,” I said. “And your advice?” He handed it to me.
“Dear Seeking Revenge:“Go to his computer, pull up the browsing history, print it off, and send it to each of his friends and business associates.”
“Man,” I said. “You’re tough.”
“Check this one out,” he said, handing me another. It read:
“Dear Ask the Alien:“One of my best friends is so excited that he was at last able to marry and have a husband. I am, of course, happy for him. But now he is making a spectacle of himself. Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries (monthly), not to mention Valentine’s Day are so extravagantly planned that he is making the rest of us look cheap and tawdry. How can I cool the enthusiasm of this marriage so that it is more like a normal one?” It was signed, “Suffering by Comparison.”
I could hardly wait for the response as he passed it to me. I must say, it was a beaut.
“Dear Suffering:“Before the next event, tell him in greatest secrecy that you happen to know what his husband wants most as a gift: a banjo.”
You know. I think the Alien may have found his calling at last. Feel free to seek answers for yourselves.
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