Category Archives: Dr. Babooner

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Ask Dr. Babooner – Yoga Pants Edition

We are ALL Dr. Babooner.

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I don’t intend to be rude, but sometimes the truth hurts.

One of the qualities that puts me on a higher level than other people is my exquisite fashion sense. I have been consistently ahead of the trend curve for at least fifteen years, starting out in the late ’90’s when I figured out the whole flashy Y2K style thing (mesh tops, box-pleated skirts, sequined pants, sparkly shoes) long before anyone else had decided to put a single rhinestone on their favorite rock band t-shirt.

When 9/11 happened and attitudes changed, but I got there first with every possible variation on distressed denim.

I did the ’80’s revival just before it went mainstream in the mid-2000’s, and dropped it while others were still popping their collars. Then I went to a full pirate thing while Johnny Depp was still figuring out how to do his eyeliner.

In short, you can’t out-trend me. That’s how good I am.

But lately I’ve had a real lack of enthusiasm when it comes to yoga pants. And this is a problem because I’ve been hearing that there’s a pants war breaking out in the aisles of some clothing stores because shoppers want Yoga Pants and Leggings instead of jeans.

Dr. Babooner, I really like my skinny-leg jeans, but the pendulum of fashion seems to be swinging in a different direction. That leaves me conflicted, because being at the leading edge of What’s Next has always been a large part my personality. So in a rational world, I would already have 20 pairs of Yoga Pants waiting to go.

But the sad truth is that Yoga Pants strike me as silly, and you really shouldn’t be seen wearing them in public, or without a cushy mat under your arm. And in any case, if I’m not wearing jeans I feel like I’m pretending to be someone else.

My fashion success has always been about getting to the Next Big Thing Before Anyone Else, and then telling people how I just beat them. But now I’m starting to think my trailblazing instinct is leading me to resist a popular trend and to tell other people they must avoid it as well if they don’t want to run the risk of falling flat on their rounded, stretchy-garbed cheeks.

Sincerely,
Clothes Hoarse

I told Clothes Hoarse it’s my impression that the Denim vs. Yoga Pants showdown is definitely ON, and if she really thinks her trailblazing fashion sense is pointing her away from it she might want to consider the alternate possibility that she is just getting old.

Old people like what they like and don’t care for the new. That’s one of the great perks of aging – you don’t have to ask yourself whether you’ll go with every new idea – the answer is almost always “NO!”, and people won’t fault you for it. That’s just the way old people are.

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

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We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Ask Dr. Babooner – Trendy Vice Edition

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I admit I’m a gambler, and there are times when I get carried away. I feel kinda bad about that!

I used to go to the Showboat in Atlantic City, NJ. But now the place is closing! So is Revel, another hotel/resort that was opened just 2 years ago, and it was built at the cost of 2 billion dollars.

Talk about coming up a big loser on a risky bet!

In another few weeks, a third casino will close, leaving Atlantic City with only 8 gambling establishments compared with the 12 they had at the start of the year.

I wish I had made a wager on that back in January. Hindsight!

Some experts say it’s necessary for Atlantic City’s survival to reduce the number of casinos, because the traffic just can’t support all of them. Habitual gamblers, they say, will just go to one of the establishments that remains open, so little economic activity will be lost.

Maybe so, but over the years I’ve learned that misery does, in fact, love company. That’s why it grieves me that my favorite vice is not experiencing the kind of growth that can support 12 and even more fancy casinos in Atlantic City.

I mean, it’s bad enough to be stuck in a pattern of behavior that brings you feelings of deep regret, but when I realize it’s not even popular anymore, that leaves me feeling like an even bigger loser!

When I look around at all the different soul-crushing, life-wrecking things I could do, I see that drinking is still a big deal, though I’ve never had much interest in that. Even beer consumption is gaining traction as a bad behavior sub-group. Cocaine, Heroin and meth addiction all continue to bring growing levels of misery to many helpless people. What can I say? They’re not my thing. In the catalog of social ills, even accumulating student debt is getting more attention than problem gambling right now.

Dr. Babooner, up until now it has been an important part of my self-image that I engage in socially destructive behavior. But I feel like I’ve lost my edge. Should I abandon gambling for a more trendy vice?

Sincerely,
Lucky

I told “Lucky” to stop worrying about the popularity of one’s vices. Problem gambling is still plenty bad and it creates more than enough misery to lead any practitioner to feel that he or she is afflicted with something major that is worthy of alarm and attention. I doubt that it is in decline. The news that Atlantic City is closing casinos has more to do with another set of social ill – bad investment decisions and misguided marketing choices. Not to mention plain old hubris, which will always be with us.

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

Conflictedly,
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?

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?

Conflictedly,
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?

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?

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?