My Made-Up Mailbag is where I pretend to answer mail from readers when actually the whole column is made-up. Yes it’s silly, but I get a lot of made-up mail, so it is necessary sometimes to make room for more.
I about laughed my fool head off a number of years ago reading your column about your bird phobia and how you were attacked on Tolenas Road by three turkeys you called the “butterballs of death.” Are you afraid of anything else?
Chuckling in Cordelia
Dear Cordelia Chuckler,
That column was misunderstood. It was supposed to be serious, but was taken as comedy, much like George W. Bush’s presidency. To answer your question, yes, I am also afraid of . . . DO NOT LAUGH! . . . opening biscuit containers. As a kid, my mom would ask me to do it by banging it on the corner of the counter and the explosive POP! made me shriek. They changed it to pressing a spoon on the seam, but that’s worse.
My girlfriend and I agree that our relationship has run its course, but neither of us wants to be the one to end it. Do you have a suggestion?
Dear Vallejo Valentines,
Yes. Do a final episode. In the 1970s, TV shows way past their prime would change into pale reflections of the shows they once were. Thus “Sanford and Son” became “Sanford Arms” and “All in the Family” became “Archie Bunker’s Place.” Then “M*A*S*H” pioneered the final-episode concept. Now that is the norm. I suggest you and your girlfriend plan a day together, make it great and then call it quits. Just make sure it is “Lost” final-episode quality and not “Seinfeld” final-episode quality, though.
Dear T. Wade,
DR News Editor Brad Stanhope sometimes has his dog Brandy Stanhope do a guest column called Dog Droppings in his stead. How come you’ve never let your cat, Pearl Nut Kitty Wade, do yours?
Dear Cat Luvah,
Well, I already have, indirectly. Unbeknownst to Brad, Brandy Stanhope is actually a sock puppet that my cat uses.
Dear Big Guy,
Do you know about the “secret menu” at In-N-Out burger?
Dear Burger Man,
Oh yeah, I’ve ordered “animal fries” and “protein style” burgers for years. What many people don’t know is that they also have a Top Secret Hush-Hush menu. My fave on that one is the “Harlem Globetrotter,” where five employees get into a circle and while the song “Sweet Georgia Brown” plays, they take turns spinning your burger and doing tricks until one flings it at you through the drive-thru window with a cool no-look pass.
Dear Toe Knee Weighed,
How do I tell an employee they are not doing so hot?
Dear Timid Boss,
Use a “Compliment Sandwich.” Start with a compliment, give them the criticism and end with a compliment. For example:
Compliment: “Troy, your breath is nowhere near as bad as it used to be!”
Criticism: “Still, it does remind me of when I worked at a wastewater treatment plant.”
Compliment: “You inspired me to create an invention that surreptitiously shoots breath mints into people’s mouths with stankin’ breath! Thank you!”
Dear Tea Dub Bull Ewe,
How do you get ideas for columns?
I get the best ideas right before going to sleep, so I used to keep a notepad and pen on my nightstand. But I get a lot of ideas, so I hired a bedside stenographer. That’s why embarrassing pillow talk sometimes shows up in my columns.
Dear Kelvin’s brother,
I taught my cat to sing! I do the lead vocal in Rick James’ “Super Freak” and when I point to Mr. Jingles and say “Temptations, sing!” he sings that part! He says “Meow!” Amazing, huh?
Cat Luvah II
Dear C.L. II,
The good news is that yes, that’s amazing. The bad news is that you are actually Mr. Jingles’ sock puppet.
I followed your advice about ending my relationship with my girlfriend with a “final episode.” Only now she’s pregnant. What do I do?
Dear Vallejo Valentines,
Name the baby “Spin-off.”
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org.