In 30 years of writing this column, I've always felt I was providing an essential service — comic relief to counteract an endless procession of depressing world events: war, pestilence, famine, natural disaster and each year's new line of Paris fashions.
Recently, though, it seems others are trying to take my job. I speak, of course, of our political leaders and institutions. I'd quote some of their best lines, to show you what I mean, but why should I give competitors a chance to show off? That's what the evening news is for.
Sometimes you have to diversify to remain employable. That's why I've been considering alternatives to humor writing, just in case. Unfortunately, none seem particularly well suited to my abilities.
Being a ballerina is out. My last performance was 55 years ago, and I got a bloody nose when I danced face first into another girl because I was waving to my parents in the audience instead of paying attention. Also, I tripped and fell down a lot.
I've always wanted to be a princess, but last time I checked, all the princess jobs were taken. There isn't as much of a calling for cowgirls nowadays, either. Which is just as well, I suppose, since I don't know how to ride a horse.
I was really beginning to despair when Doug pointed out the one skill in which I excel — telling him what to do. He suggested I become an advice columnist.
During my research, I discovered two very important facts about being an advice columnist:
There's literally no end to the problems people have.
People will take advice from pretty much anybody.
"Hey," I thought, "I'm anybody!"
So, in case Congress steals my job writing humor, here's my audition for the position of advice columnist:
Dear Cathy: I share a cubicle with a woman who goofs off all day. She takes two-hour lunches, shops online, talks on the phone, texts her friends and hangs out at the water cooler chatting with coworkers. Should I say something to my boss? Signed, Aggravated in Arkansas.
Dear Aggravated: Nobody likes a tattletale, so keep quiet and put a dab of Super Glue on the earpiece of her desk phone and the screen of her smart phone. The boss is bound to notice her walking around with phones stuck all over her body; and before you know it, you'll have that cubicle all to yourself. (Be sure to ditch the tube of glue and try to look innocent.)
Dear Cathy: I want to get a big, fat, honking tattoo, but my parents won't let me. They said just because I live in their house and eat their food and they pay for everything and I'm only 15, I have to do what they say. How can I make them let me get a tattoo? Signed, Desperate in Dubuque.
Dear Desperate: Turn 18, move out, get a job and you can have all the tattoos you want. Until then, wear temporary tattoos. (Helpful hint: Super Glue makes them last longer.)
Dear Cathy: Herb and I have been married for 87 wonderful years. He has only one bad habit: leaving his dirty socks on the floor. It wasn't so bad the first 76 years; but since I turned 100, it's getting harder to bend down and pick them up. I've tried everything short of nagging. What should I do? Signed, Sick of It in Secaucus.
Dear Sick of It: Start nagging. If that doesn't work, get a tube of Super Glue.
Email Cathy Drinkwater Better at firstname.lastname@example.org.