April 19, 2011

Dear Disappointed Dad in Danbury,

You may not feel like being helpful, but you must help him. You have to enroll him into the best possible school to finish the year. If that requires him coming home and going to the local high school, or going to military school, or you calling in a favor to a friend with connections, do it. If he has to repeat his senior year and reapply to college, so be it.

As for discipline, make your speech and try to impress upon him the enormity of his mistake, but also keep in mind that he is presently enduring the worst possible punishment. He cannot finish the year with his friends, his college has rejected him, and he will have to start over again.

Beware the son who does not mope and show signs of remorse. If he comes home in a jolly mood after having packed up his room and said goodbye to his life, pull the plug on his jolliness. If he doesn”€™t feel remorseful, find a way to change that. Send him to military school or make him pay his way through his last year of high school by getting a grueling summer job: construction, Alaskan fishing, or oil-rigging. Preferably all three.


Dear Delphi,

I am a 60-year-old man. My wife died of cancer about a year ago. I am lonely but I have not been able to bring myself to go out with anyone, even though my children have been coaxing me to go out, make the rounds, and be more social. It is not that I feel guilty, because my wife was sick for a long time and we talked about everything, including whether I”€™d date other women. The problem is I am scared. I have not dated since I met my wife when I was 25. I”€™m clueless. What am I supposed to do?

“€”Fear of Dating in Santa Fe

Dear Fear of Dating in Santa Fe,

Don”€™t fret. Dating has not changed: Man likes woman, woman likes man, they go out to dinner, and maybe they still like each other after dessert, but maybe not. By my calculation you have not dated since 1976. Luckily for you, very little has changed in the dating world between then and now. We endured a brief feminazi movement when men were not supposed to open doors for women, but we survived and chivalry is back in style. The only substantive differences between now and then are that the come-on line has thankfully died and a new species called the metrosexual has been introduced into the dating pool like a well-groomed, super-vain breed of trout. If you want to date a 25-year-old woman, there is a lot you will have to learn or at least learn to tolerate, especially an unbridgeable language barrier and a complete lack of shared cultural references. I can”€™t see you and a 25-year-old girl talking about anything besides the fact that you don”€™t have anything to talk about. I suggest you get back into the groove with a woman of your own generation. Take it in steps: 1) Meet a woman you like. 2) Ask her to dinner. 3) If you like her, kiss her. (Repeat steps 1-3 as many times as you like or as many times as she permits.)



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