The advice column… from lonely hearts to weight watchers… they are still important


By Bill Derby, Publisher

I have always wanted to write an advice column under a pseudo name so no one will know it’s me. It’s like hiding behind a page of newsprint, peeking out on occasion. I read somewhere that people may think “advice columns ought to be a relic and belong to a time when local newspapers were a community’s main window on the world.”

Good community newspapers are still viable and full of intelligent information.

Today, many people look up stuff on Google for personal help. Yep, Google will tell you what you need to know while saving your secrets with all your shortcomings to sell for anxiety medication advertising. Folks at Google at one time mentioned their programs had a bug spreading your personal information like a norovirus on a cruise ship.

Today, you can share your dilemmas with the world on social media and, yes, everyone else will know them too! Newspapers only print your pseudo name in advice columns like…”Sleepless in Johnson City.”

A good friend of mine contacted me Saturday via text. He was in Atlanta with his wife who was attending a psychology seminar. Both are marriage counselors and live in a foreign country called California. I think he was feeling good spending quality time in the southern capital of the United States.

He’s good at giving advice since he earned his PHD. He was our lead singer in our high school rock band and showed no propensity for solving marriage problems. While singing songs by James Brown and Bo Diddley he was more focused on watching dancing girls.

Here are some advice questions and suggestions he mentioned I might like to try. I’ve added a few answers along with some special Dear Abby relics.

  1. What is the secret to a happy marriage? Dear Abby knew the secret but she’s gone. Or, ladies, if a man says he’ll fix something, he will. There’s no point in telling him about it every six months.
  2. What should every man understand about women? Don’t let go of your wife’s hand at the Mall, because she will start shopping.
  3. How do I handle criticism? Make a face and blame it on gas pain.
  4. Who was the biggest influence on your life? Captain Kangaroo or was it Mr. Green Jeans?
  5. What role should vanity play in a man’s life? Just because waffles are pancakes with abs doesn’t mean eating them gives you abs.
  6. What’s the best survival tip you know? If you swim with a friend, your chances of getting eaten by a shark will drop by 50%.
  7. What adventure most changed your life? Study, Sleep, Socialize. Pick Two.
  8. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? If you are running low on laundry, a bathing suit makes perfectly acceptable underwear. Or, never trust an atom, they make up everything.
  9. What advice would you give your younger self? Don’t grow up, it’s a trap.
  10. What is a cure for a heartache? I don’t know. Buy an Alexa and ask her.

Famous Dear Abby questions and answers

Dear Abby: My boyfriend is going to be 20 years old next month. I’d like to give him something nice for his birthday. What do you think he’d like? —Carol
Dear Carol: Never mind what he’d like, give him a tie.

Dear Abby: Our son married a girl when he was in the service. They were married in February and she had an 8 1/2-pound baby girl in August. She said the baby was premature. Can an 8 1/2-pound baby be this premature? —Wanting to Know
Dear Wanting: The baby was on time. The wedding was late. Forget it.

Dear Abby: I’ve been going with this girl for a year. How can I get her to say yes? —Don
Dear Don: What’s the question?

Dear Abby: I’ve been going steady with this man for six years. We see each other every night. He says he loves me, and I know I love him, but he never mentions marriage. Do you think he’s going out with me just for what he can get? —Gertie
Dear Gertie: I don’t know. What’s he getting?

Dear Abby: I have always wanted to have my family history traced, but I can’t afford to spend a lot of money to do it. Have you any suggestions? —M.J.B. in Oakland, Calif.
Dear M.J.B.: Yes. Run for a public office.

Dear Abby: What inspires you most to write? —Ted
Dear Ted: The Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Dear Abby: Are birth control pills deductible? —Bertie
Dear Bertie: Only if they don’t work.

Dear Abby: I know boys will be boys, but my ‘boy’ is seventy-three and he’s still chasing women. Any suggestions? —Annie
Dear Annie: Don’t worry. My dog has been chasing cars for years, but if he ever caught one, he wouldn’t know what to do with it.


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