Advice Columns

At times I’ve thought it would be fun to write an advice column to answer personal questions. The format I envisioned was similar to Dear Abby but with answers reflecting a farcical perspective of a southern speaking country boy. Here’s an example:

Dear Neil: My husband is running around on me. How can I stop him? A Scorned Woman.

Dear Scorned Woman: Shoot him in the foot. That may not stop him, but the limp should slow him down. Please understand, however, there are places where intentional shootings are illegal even if justified. Check with your sheriff about state laws and local ordinances.

Prior to taking any such action, I also suggest you consider whether you would be happy living in a small cell with a roommate you didn’t choose while wearing matching jumpsuits. Prison attire is rather lackluster. Compliments on how nice an outfit looks are rare. If that doesn’t sound like a lifestyle you would enjoy, you might first try taping this column to your husband’s TV remote. That could help initiate a meaningful discussion about your concerns.

Another idea would be to call your local funeral home and ask about prearrangements. Make sure your spouse overhears you describe him as a “no-good, two-timing, low-down snake in the grass.” Ask the undertaker for information on the cheapest and fastest burial options. Find out if small pieces of lead would be destroyed in the cremation process. If you live near the coast you may want to inquire about burial at sea. At that point, if your husband is not visibly sweating, you might ask the funeral home manager if he is aware of any alligator farms in the area.

I hope you find this advice helpful. If you feel the need for additional suggestions, I encourage you to send ten dollars and a SASE for my pamphlet – “Treats for Cheats.” P.S. The advice I’ve offered may not be appropriate for your particular situation, but at least I gave it a shot.

A redneck flavored feature seemed like a great idea until I realized I’d need most of the space for disclaimers. If someone took me seriously that could be a disaster. I had decided not to pursue the advice column idea any further, but recently I’ve had what seems a rather urgent request.

Being asked for my advice reminded me of a moment in the distant past when I had a question for Mr. Emmett “Pa” Stephens. It involved our Chamber of Commerce planning a Developer’s Day in the early 1980s. We were expecting a substantial number of overnight guests and wanted to provide a memorable breakfast.

Mr. Emmett was the chief cook for Vienna First Baptist’s monthly Brotherhood meetings. His cathead biscuits and side meat were exceptionally fine when served with soft scrambled eggs and cheese grits. That menu seemed a perfect way to start our day if the volunteer cooking crew was agreeable. I was barely grown at the time and they were in their senior years, so I didn’t want to impose.

“Mr. Emmett,” I said politely, “I’d like to ask your opinion on something.”

“Well, Neil,” he replied with a mischievous drawl, “before I give you an opinion there’s something I want to make sure you understand. Opinions are like behinds. Everybody has one and some are shaped better than others. Now, after hearing that little spiel if you still want my opinion, I’ll be glad to give it to you.”

His response was considerably more colorful than I’ve presented but that’s the gist of it. After we shared a moment of laughter, he said he’d be glad to take care of breakfast and felt sure the cooks would be on board. We had twenty or more developers, mostly from Atlanta, who fell in love with biscuits made from scratch and lightly floured skillet-fried fatback. Mr. Emmett delightfully introduced them to the joyous path of high cholesterol. 

Introductory material has taken up so much space today that I don’t have room to properly address the recent solicitation for advice. A friend of mine wants to know how I convinced my wife to mow our grass. I’ll try to answer him next week. Or I may wait until Jane is out of town.

I don’t think it’s an urgent matter as his lawn looks freshly cut. Besides, I can almost guarantee that my advice will be just as useful next week as it is now.

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5 Responses to Advice Columns

  1. Judy says:

    I am rolling on the floor laughing at this one! I think you should start an advice column.


  2. aaron brown says:

    I love this post. Best yet


  3. Fran says:

    I think you’ve found a new vocation!


  4. Ellen Hunsucker says:

    As far as advice columns go, maybe you should stick to your day job, lol!


  5. vernon twitty says:

    Neil, I usually have a comment about your columns, but today nothing I could add would do your advice column justice. So, we’ll let it be as your advice probably can’t be beat.


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