Category Archives: Dr. Babooner

Ask Dr. Babooner

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I’m just as upset as I can be at the thought that my government continues to collect raw data about my phone calls without my permission, and just between you and me I want it to stop immediately.

Some say most Americans don’t understand the difference between tracking metadata around phone calls and “listening in” to what is said in the conversations.

They say I’m confused over this issue. In the parlance of today’s youth, they call me “all messed up.”

But how would they know how “messed up” I am unless they were listening to my phone calls?

That’s where you’d find sure evidence – the wrong numbers I dial, the incoherent messages I leave, my pointless rants, my misdirected anger, my smothering over-involvement in other people’s lives, and my creepy drunken midnight calls that dissolve into soft whispers and sobbing.

So oh yes, I’m sure they’re listening.

If they don’t stop collecting this data soon, they should at least have a relationship expert or a voice analyst listen very closely to that short conversation I had last Thursday with Carol. I think she still has feelings for me, not because of anything she said, but more in the tone of her voice.

Why won’t the NSA confirm it? I know they have the technology!

Tormentedly,
B. Reft

I told B. Reft he is a good citizen for caring so passionately about this surveillance issue, but he should stop drawing conclusions from scanning the headlines only and take the extra time to read the entire article. And anyone who needs the help of an NSA voice analyst to keep love alive would be better off looking for a new relationship.

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

Ferns and Cockroaches

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

My ex-husband was such a snot, he brought everybody down with his relentless negativity. He always assumed the worst and constantly complained that human beings were “messing everything up”. He couldn’t hold a job and didn’t care that our family was running out of money because he was convinced it was only a matter of time before we’d annihilate ourselves as a species.

His crabby doomsaying drove away all my friends and the neighbors would close their windows and draw the shades whenever he went outside. He’d sit on the deck smoking a big fat cigar, flicking ashes into my carefully planted flower beds while he mocked me for the work I put into the landscaping.

“Geraniums are unsustainable,” he said. “Evolution and radioactive mutation will destroy almost all living things. After the big one blows, all that will be left is ferns and giant cockroaches.”

Fortunately, I saw the light and ditched him last winter. Now everything he hated is still here but he’s gone.

He moved out of state and I haven’t heard a thing from him since the divorce. The odd thing is, I can’t keep geraniums alive in that spot by the deck anymore. I plant and water them but they wither and die. And ferns are coming up instead! The neighbors still steer clear of the house and every now and then I hear a strange rustling sound inside the walls.

Either he put some kind of hex on me, or left the house full of bad vibes, or the apocalypse has already occurred an I just don’t know it. And remembering what he said about ferns and cockroaches, I’m terrified whenever I have to fetch something from under the kitchen sink!

Dr. Babooner, can a place be haunted by someone who is still alive?

With Utmost Concern,
Totally Freaked

I told Totally that the only place her ex is capable of haunting is the inside of her head. His apocalyptic visions got lodged in there and simply need to be driven out. My recommendation is to watch Dr. Strangelove a few times and learn to love ferns – they’re really quite beautiful. Although he was wrong about so many things, he’s probably right that ferns will outlast humans on this planet, just as they did the dinosaurs. Think of the ferns as respected elders and plant the geraniums somewhere else this year.

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

Ask Dr. Babooner

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I’m an older person who enjoys his simple pleasures. I cherish my freedom to “live large.” I figure I’ve earned my leisure time. No one is the boss of me and every minute of every day is pretty much spoken for. I guard my schedule of planned relaxation quite jealously.

Sitting in front of the TV with a beer a jar of nuts is one thing I really enjoy. I know it’s not particularly healthy, but I view physical exertion the same way some people look at paying taxes – I don’t do it unless forced, and then with plenty of complaining.

I don’t socialize or do things with the extended family, because that’s not really part of my routine. I start the day with light beer, dry roasted peanuts and morning news shows and slowly transition to dark, hearty beers, cashews, and police dramas.

There might be some intermittent napping in there as well.

Still, my relatives pester me about doing things to prolong my life, citing studies like this recent one that claims people could live five years longer if they would just do three hours of “moderate” exercise every week.

I don’t doubt that any of this is true, but do the math – that’s six full, 24-hour days of exercise each year. And let’s assume you get your five year “extension”. You’d have to continue this exhausting habit to stay alive – no coasting. Six times five is thirty. You’d be stuck doing another month of exercise until the grim reaper finally allows you to quit!

In the meantime, think of all the TV that would go un-watched, the peanuts that would be uneaten, and the beer that would remain un-drunk!

Dr. Babooner, why should I change my comfortable and abundant lifestyle just to spend more time (literally) on a treadmill?

Largely,
Bud Planters (not my real name)

I told Bud Planters (not my real name) that his “routine” is actually a steep downward spiral but he’s free to live five years less than he might if that’s his preference. But I couldn’t figure out two things.

  1. How did the mental fog lift long enough for him to do the math on excise and write this letter?
  2. How did he wind up with relatives who care whether he’s around an extra five years or not?

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

Ask Dr. Babooner

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I bet pretty much all my life savings on the three principal names I thought Britain’s Royal couple would give their new daughter. In my defense, it felt like I was really on to something when I entered the office pool with  “Mayweather Tesla Skywalker”.

A lot of people were trying to second-guess William and Catherine on this, analyzing their public statements and debating each other on Facebook to get some kind of a crucial advantage in knowing which way the couple leaned, baby name-wise.

But Wills and Kate are my favorite royals precisely because they’re so normal.  I figure they’re probably thinking about the same things I am most of the time, so I went with my gut, which was totally wrapped up in the big fight on Saturday night between Floyd and Manny.

I knew that everybody else knew that Mayweather was going to win, so why gamble on that when I could go All In on something that had a much higher chance of delivering a mammoth payoff?

Imagine my surprise when they came up with Charlotte Elizabeth Diana – a totally predictable and profoundly uninspiring choice.

For my money, “Princess Mayweather” is very British-sounding and would have become a much-beloved name.   Much more beloved than Princess Floyd, Princess Paquiao, or Princess Manny, which were some of my other choices.

Now all my money’s gone, but if that bet had come in, I’d be richer than everyone.  No exceptions!

Dr. Babooner, why can’t dreams come true?

Sincerely,
Long Shot

I told “Long Shot” there’s a distinct difference between investing in a genuine dream and throwing away your life savings on some crazy idea you pulled out of a dark crevice.

A dream is inspirational, especially if it includes an element of self-betterment and rises out of a desire to improve the world. But guessing that the royals would decide to call their daughter ‘Mayweather Tesla Skywalker” is flat-out crazy.

But it’s better that you were parted from your cash in this picturesque way. At least you got a good story out of it, and you were going to lose that money anyhow. It was simply a matter of time.

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

Ask Dr. Babooner

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I’m not a bad person, but I’ve had trouble in my life that has everything to do with the inappropriate places where my arms, and to be more exact, my hands, wind up.

I won’t go into too much detail here, but it has been brought to the attention of law enforcement by several people (shopkeepers, women I’ve known, and women I haven’t known), that my mitts tend to violate certain legal and ethical boundaries.

Usually I say something like “I didn’t realize I was doing it.  That hand has a mind of its own!”

And usually that explanation is rejected as just so much bunk.

But now, there’s scientific evidence that the octopus has smart arms that really do work independently of the central brain!

Dr. Babooner, this news gives me hope.  If mind-of-their-own appendages can be a real thing for hideous deep-sea creatures, isn’t there a possibility that I suffer from the same condition?

I’d like to start an emotional support group for people with Octo-digititis, a term I just made up to describe those whose fingers are autonomous and unprincipled.  I know this might be a tough sell, but if you were to sign on as an adviser, it might give us the heft we need to be taken seriously as an afflicted community.

Would you consider it?  Name your price.  Given enough time and the opportunity, I’m pretty sure I could get my hands on whatever it takes to convince you to join our cause.

Confidentially,
Groper Lightfingers

I told ” Groper Lightfingers” that Dr. Babooner does not lend her “heft” to any cause, especially not one which is simply a glorified excuse for poor behavior. Blaming the newly revealed mechanics of octopus locomotion for your trouble is an insult to cephalopods everywhere. Octopi are social creatures with “smart” arms, while your out-of-control extremities are clearly anti-social and exceedingly dumb.

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

Ask Dr. Babooner

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

Since I am a regular reader and commenter on “Trail Baboon,” I have come to feel kinship with these noble creatures and have occasionally described myself as “a baboon” with what I thought was justified pride.

Then few weeks ago I saw a show titled “The Secret Life of Primates” on PBS, which inspired me to do even more research online.

After that I became somewhat identity-confused because there were several baboon traits that I liked, and then there were some others.

What I liked:

  • In several species of baboons, the alpha female rules. She gets the first and best food, water, sleeping spots.
  • The adults groom each other in a “significant social function” and ritual.
  • Young baboons are active and playful, especially while the adults groom each other.
  • The females tend to be the primary caretaker of the young, although several females will share the duties for all of their offspring.
  • Baboons are completely at ease in trees, thanks to their long arms and legs.

What I didn’t like:

  • The weakest female develops a real inferiority complex.
  • Among the males, there is a lot of infighting for lead position.
  • Baboons  eat EVERYTHING they can find – fruit, insects, small fish and animals, and seed pods embedded in anything including dried out dung piles of, say, a rhino.

That last part about picking seeds out of rhino dung completely put me off the feeling that I am in any way like a baboon.

And yet I still admire the tree-swinging and grooming and females-in-charge aspect. Is it wrong to accept kinship with only the admirable baboon traits, while distancing myself from the negatives?

With concern,
Barbara in Robbinsdale

I told BiR that her somewhat tentative baboon-affinity is no different than the difficult choice politicians face when they are asked to take a picture alongside some random stranger. One wants to be friendly and accepting, although if the price of putting your arm around someone (or following them on Twitter) means you endorse everything they have done or will ever do, it quickly becomes impossible to socialize. I suspect before long all our public associations will have to be accompanied by a detailed disclaimer statement – fine print that will clearly lay out what we like and don’t like about them.

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

Carnival Town

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

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

I suffer from a litte-known, not-well-understood condition called Atariphobia, which is an unsupported-by-facts but nonetheless pervasive fear of invaders from space.

Consequently, I find myself constantly scanning the sky for signs of flying saucers.

In addition, I am a practicing Orsonist. As followers of the late actor/director Orson Welles, we Orsonists assume that in every case the most dramatic explanation is automatically the one that’s most likely to be true.

Rosebud!

Welles is known for the classic 1938 “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast,  which convinced too many people that Earth was under attack.  As a result, smoldering craters of every kind give me the creeps. When our family went to visit Yellowstone National Park, I stayed in the hotel room the entire time, sobbing.

In spite of these debilitating conditions, I am usually able to lead a typical life. But there’s a blog I follow where the writer often talks about how beautiful our planet looks from space, and he sometimes posts things like this video:

When I look at this, I’m terrified.

Compared to the barren, dead worlds we see elsewhere in our solar system (Mars!) and others we’re discovering throughout the galaxy, our place has a distinct ‘open for business’ look that makes me extremely uneasy.

It’s a swirly, spinning, sparkly gem set against a black background, with inexplicably vivid highlights, like the intermittent green glow of those northern lights – a feature that simply begs to be investigated.

If you were a space alien searching for a fun place to land or a bright bauble to tear apart, ours appears to be the only game in town. Why wouldn’t you come here?

I’m usually not too political, but I called my Congressman to urge her to do something. I thought maybe she could offer legislation to wrap the world in a drab,frumpy bag, dressing it down in the same way a beautiful woman de-emphasizes her best features to discourage unwanted attention.

The congressional aide I spoke with told me the Republican leadership is already doing everything it can to uglify the world through climate change denial. He used the incessant western drought as an example.

“California,” he explained, “is already looking a lot like Uranus.”

But I could hear stifled laughter on the other end of the line. I don’t think they took me very seriously.

Dr. Babooner, people are so willing to mock those who are even a little bit unconventional. How can I get them to consider the real risk posed by our planet’s obvious invade-able-ness?

Trepidatiously,
I.M. Wary

I told I.M.W. there is not much one person can do to make the world seem uninviting to outsiders. And when it comes to putting a potential crisis on the popular agenda, one must wait one’s turn. As a people, we respond to risk when the danger is imminent and our possible responses are limited.  In other words, we will only act when it is too late to act.  But as an Orsonist, I’m sure you’re already well aware that the world will accept no whine before its time.

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