Hi, my name is Jamie Loftus and this is an advice column I am writing because I was instructed to do so. Here’s a first piece of advice: don’t take orders. Here’s a second piece of advice: if someone is offering you a reasonable sum of money to take orders and you don’t think their politics or hygiene are particularly threatening, sometimes take orders. Here’s a third piece of advice: 69’ing is for high schoolers.
Like science and the study of psychology, advice columns have historically provided a service that no one needs or asks for by people in ugly clothing. The professionals providing the service became known as the ‘agony aunt,’ a term that would often be conflated with ‘aunt in agony,’ leading to an epidemic of preventable aunt-related deaths in the late 70s and early 80s. As I continue to follow the trail first blazed by emotionally unstable sisters, one may ask what qualifies me, a young woman trying to have it all and raise an emotionally unstable hamster in a time of political unrest, to tell you how to live your life?
In my twenty-four years of life, I have never had a problem. No one I know has ever died or, to my knowledge, will die. My parents love me dearly and appear to be suffering no deep-down desire to have sex with me, even though I am a hot babe with long hair and every eligible sentient creature wants to know what I look like when I fake an orgasm. I’ve never faked an orgasm. My SAT scores were so perfect that the CEO of the company offered to paint my toenails in sky writing. I went to Harvard and was able to develop a fun attitude toward cocaine while continuing to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra, invented a vaccine for ennui and played every part of Guys and Dolls on Broadway. As a woman who has never had a problem, I believe strongly that the best way to advise is to simply do what I, a person who has been given every possible advantage who could not possibly understand the troubles of those less fortunate than myself even if I wanted to, would do. (This is fan fiction I have written about myself, and in reality have no qualifications and should not be trusted.)
And so comes the time that I change forms into one of the agony aunts of yore, and am ready to bring my extremely limited experience to berate and advise you. I am your agony aunt, and your aunt in agony, and your wife who has been chained to a radiator for four months because you didn’t want me to get any funny ideas while you maxed out all my credit cards at Radio Shack. Let’s begin.
1. I am very tight with my friend Shelly, which makes it painful to admit that her snapchats are just awful. She just sends videos of her cat, who usually looks like he’s dying; bubbling pots of brown chili, which she if not good at making; and in-process pedicures, that would only appeal to bourgeois foot fetishist. I could just unsubscribe, but I want to find a way to save her from herself. What do I say?!
Regards, reader – I appreciate your candor in so readily admitting a problem that is both unimportant and uninteresting, and commend you for your bravery of speaking out on such a relevant issue. To find the answer you seek this time you need to look within, because the woman who is Snapchatting you is Shelly Miscavige.
For context, Shelly Miscavige (your friend) is the wife of the head of the scientologist church David Miscavige who hasn’t been seen in public since 2007. The Scientologist church has worked with the LAPD to assure the public that Shelly is alive and well, but as you and I know, everything the Scientologists say, including the notion that Leah Remini is a capable actress, should be questioned.
Of course, the nature of Shelly’s snaps is open to interpretation, but as with all interpretations of all work, mine is the only correct one. Look at what you have to work with – a dying cat, a pot of chili, a half-finished pedicure. We could interpret this as a cry for help via triptych – Shelly’s feral pet cat is dying, Shelly’s remaining food source is either canned chili or the excrement of her dying cat, and is desperately clinging to the concepts attached to traditional femininity as her life in solitude slowly begins to take its toll on her mind.
Or, an alternative – look in the background of every snap sent by Shelly, and I have a sneaking suspicion there’s a hidden message in there communicating her true message. Some examples of a message she could be sending in three parts are “Scientology rules, dude!,” “Katie Holmes innocent,” “Tell Leah waddup.” My advice is to snap Shelly back, commend her avant-garde digital art, and ask if she has Kirstie Allie’s phone number.
2. I wanted to go to the women’s march, and the protests at the airports, but my friends didn’t invite me. Is it OK for me to invite along the next time a big protest comes up? Or should I go alone? And if so, do I confront them if I see them at the protest?
Reader, there are many events to which an invitation is required – weddings, c-sections, art gallery openings, figure skating shows in which the skaters are skating encoded messages to their government during a stirring rendition of “Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong,” and the birthday parties of children you do not know. There is one party I wish I had never accepted an invitation to that led to my high school boyfriend being impaled by a harpoon gun, leading to a years-long trial I have yet to psychologically recuperate from.
However, a protest is not an event that requires an invitation or even a friend in the world to attend with, and I think it unlikely that groups of friends think of organizing a protest group in the same way one would organize a brunch or a narcotics intervention. While it would not be appropriate to casually invite yourself to a friend’s embalming, it’s not that big a deal to tell your friends you intend on going as well. If your friends are decent, they’ll see the error of their ways (or ignore their better judgement because you are a terrible friend) and invite you. If they’re not decent, go anyway – the protests taking place around the country right now are important, and you’ll kick yourself if you let a little social insecurity get in the way of participating in something larger than yourself. Maybe you have restless leg syndrome and will kick yourself regardless, I have no way of knowing.
3. I want to be part of doing the right thing, and so I deleted Uber when everyone else was doing it. But I live in suburban Nashville, and so it can be very hard to get around. When, if ever, is it OK for me to start using the app again?
First off, I think you’re good – to my knowledge, the CEO of Uber who sat on Trump’s advisory board stepped down after thousands of users deleted the app cold turkey. If you’re still feeling wrong about it but need the app to get around, start trying to form socialist meetup groups in your Uber Pools late at night on the weekends, galvanizing vulnerable drunk people coming from a Skrillex concert to join your cause for political good. If you can swing it, convince your Uber driver to drive your new drunken compatriots to Joshua Tree and really hash things out. The revolution begins with you, my friend – and if it doesn’t work out, there’s probably a case to be made for your Uber driver abducting you.
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