Category Archives: Dr. Babooner

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Ask Dr. Babooner – Bad Job Edition

Dear Dr. Babooner,

When I was younger I imagined living off the grid in a perfectly balanced lifestyle that combined meaningful environmentally-sensitive work with sustainable practices at home that left no footprint on our fragile planet with regard to carbon generation or over-use of any other precious resources.

I saw myself living on sunlight and good intentions, and dying as compost.

But in reality I work in California’s Central Valley, drilling deep wells to reach the receding water table. I’m on the job 12 hours a day because demand has gone through the roof, even though there is no roof where I work and everything we do is directed into the ground.

But you get the idea. The job is dusty and hot and it can be dangerous if you’re not paying attention because you’re bored, which I am most of the time.

My employer does things on the cheap and charges top dollar. He tells me not to speak to the customers at all, ever, about anything. I think he’s worried that they’ll find out six months ago I was working a barista at Starbucks. I don’t know why this is a problem. The equipment in that job was noisy and complicated too!

Our customers get emotional because they’re spending tons of money on a bet and their entire livelihood is at stake. Last week this one guy sat in a lawn chair and watched us the whole time, drinking beer after beer and complaining about the government. The deeper we went without a strike the more morose he became, and the more beer he drank. Needless to say, he sprouted a gusher long before we did.

At least he went behind a tree.

People tell me I should be happy to have a well-paying, in-demand job, but I can’t help but think this is all a fruitless effort to continue a kind of agriculture that, if this drought continues, is destined to become, well … fruitless.

Dr. Babooner, I’d like to lecture these farmers about conservation of resources and finding ways to not over exploit the preciously small amount of water that’s available to us, but my boss tells me if I say one word about any of that he’ll fire me and bring in drillers from North Dakota who don’t care about the environment, they’re just looking for a way to get out of the Bakken oil fields before winter hits.

Bored, Always Drilling Activist Seeks Sustainability

I told B.A.D.A.S.S. she (or he) should just be quiet and take the money. If California’s drought goes on much longer, the central valley will run dry one with you or without you. And arid-land farmers are usually not open to lectures from the crew they’re paying to dig expensive holes. Keep your earnings and use them to save the world later on, although given your high ideals you probably shouldn’t ask too many questions about what the bank is doing with your savings.

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

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We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Ask Dr. Babooner – Is It My Face?

We are ALL Dr. Babooner.

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I’m having a problem related to the shape of my skull and from your picture (lovely!) it seems to me that you are the one advice columnist out there who might be able to understand my predicament and advise me properly.

I have always had a very hairy and prominent brow ridge, so when I meet people they instantly assume I’m some kind of cave man. Many of them appear genuinely surprised when I open my mouth and use language to communicate.

And now comes a new study that claims, after an examination of more than 1,400 ancient and modern skulls, human society advanced socially and technologically when skull shapes morphed away from heavy brows and towards more rounded, softer, feminine features.

“… people started being nicer to each other, which entails having a little less testosterone in action” says a press release.

I suppose humans will always instantly judge other humans based on their appearance and I don’t want to get into an argument with anthropologists, but this kind of research only makes my life more difficult.

People tend to like and respect me after we get to know each other, but only after we go through a process.

First, they make some kind of Flintstones joke or give me a pretend compliment about how my eyes are naturally shielded from the rain and the sun. Once it’s “out there” about my Neanderthal brow, I can speak openly (but not aggressively) about skull shapeism and gradually convince them that I’m nice, and I am not going to pick up a club and throttle them.

Although between you and me, I sometimes do want to pick up a club and throttle them.

Dr. Babooner, I can’t change my face and wouldn’t want to, but I do get tired of how long it takes to win people over. In some cases, soft-faced folk are so timid it takes months for them to say the kind of insensitive thing that makes it possible for me to address the real issue.

Should I continue to wait for their misstep, or should I bring it up myself?

Fred (yes, that’s my real name)

I told Fred he is exceptionally kind hearted and optimistic to wait for others to mention the proverbial “cave man in the room”, but there are probably subtle ways he can use humor to move the process along so the necessary reckoning can happen sooner. For instance, uttering an occasional “yabba dabba doo” might help, though he should be careful to say it softly and sweetly.

But that’s just one opinion. What do you think, 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?

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?

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?

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?


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?


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?