Category Archives: Dr. Babooner

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Ask Dr. Babooner – Anthropocene Defaunation Edition

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I’ve been feeling a bit down lately, and whenever that happens my cure is to spend some time out in nature. Lovely flora and majestic fauna bring home the beauty of the world, and they convince me that my problems can be managed.

I know others find respite in nature too. And some of them are scientists. I know this because yesterday while I was reveling in the tranquility of a lush summer glade, I discovered a rolled up magazine trampled in the mud at the base of a tuft of prairie grass.

Opening it up, I saw it was the latest edition of a publication called “Science – The World’s Leading Journal of Original Scientific Research.” When I tried to flatten it out on a rock, the pages fell open to an article titled “Defaunation in the Anthropocene“. From the heading I just assumed it was about keeping young deer out of a suburban nightclub, but once I started reading it became clear this was about something even more disturbing.

Dr. Babooner, it turns out some people think the world is undergoing it’s Sixth Mass Extinction, and we humans are the cause.

That’s kind of a paradigm-shifting thought – rather than being the nice, decent people I assumed we were, I’m now told that we’re a disease, and we’re cutting through the Earth’s defenses more rapidly than the planet can protect itself and all the other creatures who live here.

Suddenly I’m kind of down again – the way you feel at the end of a night of drinking when you realize you really weren’t the life of the party, and you might have danced naked on the coffee table well past the point when people stopped thinking it was cute.

I’ve never thought of myself as part of a global plague, but now I can’t think of anything else. Dr. Babooner, how can I ever be comfortable in nature again, knowing I am such a threat to it?

Apocalyptically,
E. Bola

I reminded E.B. of the John Prine quote where he quoted Dear Abby saying “You have no complaint. You are what you are and you ain’t what you ain’t.” He might have completely made up that line, but if so it just makes him an artful liar. He’s darn good at it, so why kick up a fuss? You’re a disease! The kind that dances naked on a coffee table! The next time you come down with the flu, imagine there’s a microbe just like you in your system, riding through your innards in a top-down convertible, whooping at the stars. Then get out there and have some fun.

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

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We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Ask Dr. Babooner – Start Seeing Billionaires

We are ALL Dr. Babooner.

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I’m the billionaire head of a massive corporation, so there’s no denying I’ve had some success in life. But I’m not just a money object. I think of my self as well-read and clever, and I have lots of ideas that surprise people, including me.

Recently I suggested that all our lives would be better if robots did more of our routine work because if people only had a four day work week, that would free us up to spend more time with our families.

It was an innocent suggestion, but boy did I get hammered for it!

Critics say I don’t understand the plight of the average person working an hourly job in America today who struggles to feed children keep a home intact.

They also say I’m a snooty, self-involved party boy.

But this should come as no surprise. In case you didn’t notice my first line, I’ll repeat it – “I’m the billionaire head of a massive corporation.”

For as long as I can remember, there has been an unlimited amount of money available to fill any need and satisfy every whim! Do I realize that many people work 60 and 80 hour weeks to make ends meet to support a family?

No, I don’t get that!

Can I comprehend the connection between time spent working and income for low-income people, namely that a shorter work week and fewer hours spent on the job means less money overall?

Of course not! Work is something I do to pass the time while my money makes itself.

I know this is pretty basic information, but being a billionaire today relieves you of any curiosity you might have about other people. I barely talk to my rich neighbor, so how could I be an expert on the lives of the poor?

The fact that so many people don’t understand how it feels to be the billionaire head of a massive corporation makes me wonder if there’s a market out there for Billionaire Awareness Training. With so many of us calling the shots in business, politics and technology, it seems to me that even a hotel maid would have something to gain from truly understanding the Billionaire mindset.

If nothing else, it might explain all those wet towels on the floor.

Like I say, I consider myself clever though my ideas have more to do with imagining the future rather than facing some other person’s reality.

I suppose critics will claim the poor don’t have time with all the hours they’re working to take a class about understanding billionaires. But that brings me back to my original point – robots can cover for them!

They can even take the course online, and if they don’t have access to the internet, I’m sure course materials could be delivered by drone to the front doors of their hovels!

But reaction to my previous brainstorm has made me a little gun shy, so before I put it out there I thought I’d better get a second opinion. Dr. Babooner, what do you think of my idea?

Hopefully,
Billionaire Head of a Massive Corporation

I told B.H.O.A.M.C. his idea is fantastic and he should move quickly to copyright and implement it. Even though the normal people of the world do not necessarily love billionaires on a personal level, they think the lives of billionaires are fascinating and most would jump at the opportunity to immerse themselves in details about the billionaire universe.

One suggestion – if Billionaire Awareness Training is offered as an evening class, why not have it catered at the poolside classroom?

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

Babooner_Referee

Ask Dr. Babooner: Can I Care About Soccer and Stay American?

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I’m a proud American who has taken pains while hanging with my friends and co-workers to make a very big deal out of the fact that we’re not Europeans.

I have impersonated the English, derided Italians, belittled the Dutch and made caustic remarks about Spaniards.

I have even been snooty about the bad habits of the French, one of which is, of course, snootiness.

And I have mocked the Germans for being so Germanic. Which is why I’m terrifically excited about the U.S. soccer World Cup match vs. Germany today. I want so badly to beat them that my brains are as useless as a tub of sauerkraut when it comes to doing anything else!

Unfortunately, at the office I have been rather outspoken about the shortcomings of soccer as a sport (slow moving, complicated, silly costumes, no violence, no hands) and have made a very public show about not caring one bit about who advances (or doesn’t) to whatever ridiculous stage of the World Cup is next.

A group of my co-workers have reserved a conference room to watch the game at midday today, with the blessings of top management because they think knowing something about the rest of the world might help us on the business side.

I’d love to watch and cheer for our team, but I’ve already staked out my position as a soccer foe. I believe I actually said something like “… anyone who cares about soccer is not and never can be an American!” If I now use my time and energy to cheer against the Europeans in their silly, girly game, on one level it will mean the Europeans have already beaten me!

And of course it would expose me as a blowhard and a hypocrite.

I could comfort myself with the knowledge that the game will be over by the early part of the afternoon and the post-mortem will begin, but everything I’ve already said about my predicament goes double for talking about the contest afterwards.

I can’t show any interest in it at all. Maybe that’s why I can think of almost nothing else!

In agony,
Fútbol Zero

I told Fútbol Zero to get over himself and watch the game. Abstaining at this point will just call more attention to your nonsensical attitudes. So let your co-workers laugh about your conversion as the contest begins – they’ll soon forget it as you share your enthusiasm or misery as the case may be. And don’t be worried about what they’ll think of you – they are already well aware that you’re a blowhard and a hypocrite.

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Condiments and Toppings

Dear Dr. Babooner,

Just yesterday I was summoned before a Congressional tribunal and humiliated when a powerful government employee called me a liar in front of a TV audience! And the only thing I did to deserve it was to sell weight loss products to people who didn’t have money to spare or the sense to resist.

I admit I peddled products that “didn’t have the scientific muster to present as fact”, but no one seemed to be impressed with my concession on this point. Scientific muster is overrated anyway. Just pass the Dijon!

Seriously, so much of success is about the condiments and toppings anyway! Something perfectly ordinary can become a sensation if you smother it in special sauce and put a cherry on top. Don’t believe me? Lady Gaga!

Anyway, the real product is potential … the remote possibility that something good could happen – that a little green bean might do what years of dieting and exercise have failed to accomplish.

The scientific term I use to describe this effect is “a miracle”, but I was taken to task for that, too.

This, in spite of the fact that so many others have become rich by marketing angel dust and fairy powder. What’s so wrong with selling hope?  What am I supposed to do, GIVE it to them?

Dr. Babooner, we’re constantly hearing that we should fight for our ideas, no matter how outlandish. “Never give up!” “Believe!” “Follow your dreams!” Well, my dream was to become a tycoon by using smooth talk to flood the space between science and wishes.

Now, apparently, the big fat government is going to squash my beautiful tomorrow. Some say my credibility is ruined, but I think I can get it back with one milligram of strained kidney bean extract and a spoonful of nut butter twice a day!

So many Americans are suffering from the same malady – from bankers to bank robbers they’ve been publicly scolded and they feel permanently shamed. And I admit that after being bullied by the U.S. Congress, even I’m feeling a bit gun shy. Should I share this miracle reputation cure with them, or keep it under my hat?

Chastened But Still Charming

I told CBSC he might as well double down and continue with his unsupported claims. Expanding your bogus product line is the right thing to do now, because being called a liar in front of Congress is not as damaging as one might think. Given the setting, some will simply not believe the allegations against you. Others will assume you are simply a minor league exaggerator being disciplined by fabrication experts for their own amusement. In either case, let the buyer beware!

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

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Self-Admiration Society

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I was recently given the assignment of finding the best-qualified person in the world to take over a very important job at our company. This high-profile position demands a candidate who inspires confidence. I interviewed several people who are quite accomplished and extremely impressive in many key areas that are essential to success in this pivotal role.

We are ALL Dr. Babooner
We are ALL Dr. Babooner

But after careful consideration, I came to the conclusion that none of them were nearly as excellent as me, so I made the inspired decision to award myself the prize I had been asked to give to someone else.

Many have asked – how did I know this was the right thing to do?

Well, it wasn’t a conclusion that would be obvious to the casual observer, but I saw it clearly by using my exceptional powers of deduction. For one thing, in our interviews each candidate was quick to say how pleased they were to meet me.

It was literally the first thing out of their mouths!

This was quite the surprise – I was expecting them to open with some tidbit about why they were the best qualified candidate for the highly prestigious job that only I had the power to award them! And yet each one saw fit to take the time to go into sometimes embarrassing detail about their admiration for me. In fact, prizing me as a role model and an inspiration is the quality that united these very competent individuals – every single one!

That got me to thinking that if these are the best candidates in the world for this job and they’re all impressed with me, maybe that’s a message I should not ignore!

Others have questioned my motives and have suggested that my carefully thought-out choice reveals self-absorption or a total blindness to the usual boot licking that accompanies any hiring process. But my decision makes perfect sense to me, so why should I pay attention to the opinions of people who might be smart in some areas but are permanently handicapped by the undeniable fact that they are not as awesome as I am?

Exceedingly, Magnificently,
More Competent Than Everyone

I told MCTE that self awareness is an important quality for every person to possess. And if it leads you to the realization they you pretty darn great, there’s nothing wrong with saying so in a very public way. Just don’t expect everyone else to agree – they’re not as amazing as you so they may be unable to see it. Pity them and carry on.

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

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Ask Dr. Babooner


Dear Dr. Babooner,

I have a steady, good paying job that’s as vital to the community as anything anybody else does, and it’s more important than most. I’m proud of my work and I don’t mind saying so. But snide comments from the neighbors, my friends and even some members of my own family are wearing me down. It feels like people just don’t understand what I do.

Even though we have a great history that’s directly connected to human progress, there hasn’t been a popular role model for my line of work since Art Carney was hanging out with Jackie Gleason.

Yes, I’m a sewer worker.

Sometimes I have to go into dank places where waste collects and congeals into a putrid sludge. Our high-tech equipment usually keeps us at a distance from the most unsavory elements of our work, although it helps to have a strong stomach. I am very careful about where I step, though I do sometimes get a fragrant paste smeared on my boots and clothes.

But I’ve done this for a while, so clean-up is one of my best skills. On my way home I look just as prim and pressed as anyone. My house is as tidy and as sweet smelling as a fussy florist’s flat.

Still, as soon as people realize what I do for a living, I am subjected to a never-ending flow of poop jokes. There is never a time when people don’t feel that it’s appropriate to cut loose with another good-natured jibe about gas, muck, and chunks.

Diarrhea comes up with surprising regularity in these casual conversations, even though we in the profession treat it the same way actors approach Macbeth – we never speak its name.

My 25th high school class reunion is coming up in a few weeks, and I’m torn. I want to go but I feel like I can’t tell people what I do for a living. My wife suggested I say I’m in the disease prevention field, which is accurate but it could lead to more questions and eventual disappointment when people find out I’m not a doctor. My brother said I should just tell them I’m in the pipeline business, but somehow that sounds … dirty!

Dr. Babooner, I feel stuck. Should I tell the truth, lie, or just stay home?

Clogged Brain

I told Clogged he should definitely go to his class reunion and should consider telling the truth. Most people truly appreciate our sewage system and the professionals who make it run. It’s not at all difficult to understand why this work is a social good. Even small-government conservatives are willing to pay taxes in support of what you do. But if being honest is too painful, one can always claim to be a member of the U.S. Congress. With some, that revelation will give you a quick taste of how it feels to have a job that is truly reviled, and everyone else will quickly change the subject to something more pleasant!

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

dr_babooner_beret

Ask Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

Almost 20 years ago I had a prolonged fling with a powerful married man. I was silly and he was foolish and it got into the press (because he was kind of important) and it almost cost him his job. But he survived the scandal and is still taken seriously today.

I, however, was mocked and scorned and I lost all the jobs that I might have had – ever. The only real employment I could get from that moment on was in the global punchline industry. As the unpaid butt of a billion jokes, I heard my name mentioned everywhere as I saw my once-promising future become bimbo-ized. So rather than hide and weep I went on TV to talk about it with Barbara Walters and sat for interviews so someone could write a book on the whole incident from my point of view.

Then I tried to make handbags for a living and when that didn’t work out, I hosted a reality show but people were only interested in the much more dramatic reality show I had lived through. So I didn’t say much for a long time, hoping it would all blow over. But now I’m back and guess what? Nothing has changed! People are acting like I’ve never talked about it at all and that I’ve been in hiding all this time, even though I’ve been desperately trying to get attention for something (anything!) else.

In spite of it all, I’m still ‘that girl’ even though I’m 40 years old!

I can see clearly now how things will go unless I’m somehow able to re-write the end of my story. But how can I do that? Should I change my name? Should I do a total makeover and move to Madagascar? But disappearing won’t do anything to salvage my name, and of course politics is completely out of the question.

Please, Dr. Babooner, point me in a direction that will head me out of this eternal dead-end!

Sincerely,
Saucy Beret

I told Saucy Beret she is completely out of luck if she hopes to write this “shameful episode” out of her someday obituary, because as a somewhat famous person her obituary is already partly written and it’s in there for keeps! Her only hope is to minimize the dalliance with an outsized, separate accomplishment of some significant sort. I recommend finding a cure for cancer, which would not only give her something to talk about besides her youthful indiscretions, it would also tangentially benefit a few other people she’s never even met!

Short of that, her only option is to grin and bear it.

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Bad Advice

We are ALL Dr. Babooner.

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I was giving my girlfriend some advice the other day about who she shouldn’t be seen with, based on a companion-complexion social yardstick I came up with for no particular reason. It was just a bit of harmless counseling delivered by an elderly fellow to a younger person.

That’s what we 80 year old tycoons do with our 30-something girlfriends. We tell them how to live, because that’s what attracts them to us – our wisdom.

So I simply told her to think about how things look to other people, and I only did it because I’m so sensitive to appearances. Yes, I fancy myself kind of a public relations expert!

What I should have told her was “Don’t record this!”

Now the tape of my comments has been shared far and wide and people are saying I’m scum. And newspapers and websites are publishing unflattering photos of me, especially that one with my hands folded over my belly.

I admit that I’m surprised. I thought I was still hot! Really!

And I guess that’s just another one of the bizarre thoughts rolling around in my head that is apparently not true!

So now people I’ve known for years have banished me.

I’m an outcast and they won’t return my calls! Which is kind of an ironic result to come out of my who-to-be-seen-with advice.

Dr. Babooner, it feels like my brain is stuffed with ideas that just get me into trouble when I let them out. Plus, I now have no friends, no business associates, and no girlfriend to live within the inexplicable boundaries I feel compelled to enforce!

How can I make everything right?

Dizzily,
Done Don

I told Triple D that it is simply not possible to make “everything” right. Making “anything” right might be a stretch at this point. But offering sincere apologies and examining your attitudes is a good place to start.

And going forward, it is better not to worry about who other people associate with, unless you are a parent and the person in question is your son or daughter. And if the person in question is young enough to be your granddaughter, but isn’t, don’t let that confuse you. Truly, it’s none of your concern.

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

ann_landers-baboon-2-copy

Ask Dr. Babooner

We are ALL Dr. Babooner.

Dear Dr. Babooner,

Taking a cue from the government-funded activities of NASA, several years ago I purchased a powerful telescope and began looking around my immediate neighborhood for other homes that showed signs they could support life as comfortably as the home I live in now.

I’ve been studying the area very carefully and for the most part the places I see all have something terribly wrong – they’re way too big or far too small, they’re too close to a busy street or too far from the local park, they have aluminum or vinyl siding (which I hate), or smokers live there and the air inside the home is simply not breathable.

That last bit is something it took quite a while to learn, but now that I’ve had time to practice with the telescope I’ve become quite good at training it on windows and getting a clear sense of what goes on inside by measuring shadows as they pass in front of the interior lights.

Just the other day I found a house that is quite far from my own but it seems to have all the
elements I love about the place where I already live. The size and temperature are nearly perfect and I think there’s even liquid water inside. I’m pretty sure on that count because I saw someone taking a bath!

You can imagine how excited I was!

But just this afternoon the police came to my door and told me if I don’t start pointing my telescope at the sky rather than the other houses up and down the street, they will try to move me to a new home that is cold and desolate most of the time and has food water only at certain times which are not under my control.

Dr. Babooner, I thought scientific exploration was a pathway to a better life, but in this case it feels like all my work is taking me in the wrong direction. Should I stop, or keep pressing onward, hoping for a breakthrough?

Sincerely,
Curious K

I told “Curious K” that he (she?) should definitely stop peeping into other people’s homes and calling it research. The sad truth is that even if you found a place that could support your life as nicely as the place where you already live, the chances are slim that you could get there and even slimmer that you would be welcomed by the current inhabitants. It would be much better to take care of and learn to cherish the place you call home.

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Forlorn and Friendless

We are ALL Dr. Babooner
We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I’m kind of a big deal around this area where I live. I have the most money, anyway, which draws respect and disdain about equally.

People who know me say I can be aloof and disconnected. I have absolutely no idea what they mean by that. I would ask them to explain but then I’d have to listen to their answers, and I always seem to lose interest after the first few words!

Anyway, it turns out there is this bully in the neighborhood who thinks his yard is bigger than the boundary stakes indicate, so he has annexed a piece of the property next door.

That sounds crazy to me but I couldn’t care less who claims to own which flower bed around here. Mostly we all stay inside and watch TV anyhow, and almost nobody is out in their yard, ever. Still, the populace is in a tizzy over this and they’re looking to me to do something.

So now I’m supposed to make everything right. I’d say the chances are pretty slim that people will be happy with the outcome, but I’m still obliged to throw my weight around and act like some Master of the Universe, or something.

And here’s the hard part – I kind of AM a Master of the Universe and I can get my way on a lot of things. But this? I’d rather spend my time trying to solve world hunger than get in a tiff with the biggest jerk on the block over a tiny piece of land.

Everybody’s going to be watching me for the next few days to see what I do about this stupid situation and how I confront this turf grabber. So should I ratchet up my pretend outrage and bluster and fume get all up in his grill, or should I be myself and just play it cool?

Aloofly,
Forlorn and Friendless

P.S. – He has nuclear weapons and so do I, if that matters any.

I told F.A.F. that we often have to put on a show to get what we want, and bringing empty outrage to the table can occasionally make a difference in negotiations. So I was going to tell you to pull out all the stops and let your head explode over this one, just to see if you can get a few concessions in the process.

But your postscript gave me pause. Sometimes there are good reasons to keep the temperature as low as possible. I’d say in this case we don’t want any emotional scenes or misunderstandings. It sounds like you’re both capable of rash actions that would be hard to undo.
Since the neighborhood bully wants more land, maybe there’s part of your yard you could cede to him as a substitute for the one he took over – a harmless swap just to defuse the conflict. You wouldn’t have to give him anything important, just some weedy waterlogged area that is a pain to look after even under normal circumstances. Some place like the state of Florida, for example.

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?