Extremely Bad Advice: Bitcoin Fever Dear Cyber-Steve, Please explain bitcoin to me. What can I buy with bitcoin? Is it just a new way to score drugs online without having to go to my offline dealer? (Because he lives really far away in a really shady part of town, but the Internet is, like, everywhere, man.) Do the ladies like bitcoin? Help a bit-brother out.
Dear Steve, I have a lovely townhouse on a quiet street. It’s a friendly area where the neighbours always have a smile and a wave, and parents can let their kids play outside from dawn to dusk. My question is this: How can I get those slackass neighbourhood kids out of my alley? They are constantly loitering behind my house and no amount of scolding, cajoling or throwing dead-tree copies of the Post seems to deter them.
One of my co-workers has this strange and inappropriate love of Radiohead. This would be fine if he kept it to himself. But he can’t. And he won’t. He plays their music non-stop in his office and sends endless Radiohead updates via email. ‘Radiohead’s new video!’ ‘Radiohead’s new single!’ ‘Radiohead meets the Queen!’ I’ve told him how much I hate Radiohead but that only encourages him. What can I do to make my workspace a Radiohead-free zone?
Dear Steve, I always make sure that my kids eat healthy and that they always eat what is served to them. Not so for my niece, who is a very ‘selective’ eater. This means that at family dinners, while my kids are gagging down their kidneys and Brussels sprouts, Miss Picky-Picky gets to enjoy an entire cheese pizza. This drives me crazy. My wife says I should mind my own business but, being a petty and vindictive little man, I just can’t. Please, Steve, how do I address this horrible inequity?
“You can do all sorts of things though, like making love on a different part of the bed, speaking only in vacation-level Spanish, or giving each other’s body parts cute nicknames like “Li’l Gary” or “Flooferbubs” or “Horrible Cave of Nightmares.””
Dear Steve, Recently I lost my grandfather and it now seems like everyone in my office wants to talk about either his death, anyone’s death, the dying, or a person they know in a hospital. I know that they are showing me they empathize with me but I just want to talk about anything else, and now I’m beginning to feel like they are using my sorrow as a cathartic tool to help with their problems. How can I get myself out from under death’s conversational shadow and back into the light of office gossip?
STEP ONE Ugh! I hate the “I know how you feel” people! The best way to deal with them is to reverse the situation, quickly. …
“I find that the period directly following a major holiday is the best time to ask yourself, “Do I want more family? Or do I want to gently claw at my own face while soaking in a tub of vinegar?” While it’s nice to have some more organ donors in your life, it’s also nice to have less drama in your life.
Why are you so worried about your anger? I might be in the minority, but when Emperor Palpatine told Luke Skywalker, “Your hate has made you powerful,” and then shot #$@%ing lightning bolts from his fingers, nine-year-old me was all, like, “Sign me up, man. Sign. Me. Up.”
My work colleague, whom I pretend to like in much the same way I pretend to like all my colleagues, has announced she is leaving to join a paramour in another city. Said work colleague has amassed an interesting collection of work supplies, more properly belonging to our employer than herself. They rightly belong on my desk where they can continue to serve our employer’s cause. How long must one wait before tactfully raiding her desk to procure said office supplies?
A few months ago, I baked four dozen cookies and brought them to work. When I set these treats out, I quickly became the most popular person at the office. My co-workers, jealous of my fame, soon started distributing their own treats. However, since I sit in a central location, the baking always ends up in front of my desk, prompting passersby to think I brought it. People nod and thank me as they grab a treat, and I sometimes miss the opportunity to correct them since I’m often on the phone or in the typing zone. Should I make a greater effort to let my co-workers know I am not the baked goods fairy?
Steve Murray: Extremely Bad Advice: The Work / Life / Death Balance Hello Steve, I’m a 34-year-old professional who needs advice on how to find that work-life balance everyone seems to be tweeting about. Over the years I’ve put in hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime to ‘get where I am,’ which isn’t really that far above where I started. At the end of the day I’m exhausted and don’t have the time, energy or money for things I want to do. I’m working 50 hours a week, I’ve had one 3% raise since 2008, and don’t expect things to get better soon. Should I find work in a new field or do I hang tight and hold on?
STEP ONE The most telling thing in your email is what you left out. Not once did you say if you actually, y’know, enjoy your job. Look, I get it. You’re old. So very, very old, and you don’t think you’ll find anyone better so you’re staying with your partner who is a draining, unattractive force in your life and shows no signs of getting better. Well, I guess there’s always your next life to do the things you want to do, right? Wrong! Quit! Screw it! Get out of there! It doesn’t sound like you have a family to support or anything, so just leave! What could possibly happen if you “hang tight and hold on?” The Payroll Fairy will visit you one night and magically, drastically, increase your salary? The Earth’s spin will slow down, giving you more hours in the day to do #$@* you don’t care about? Go! Go! Go!
Extremely Bad Advice: Playing With Liar I have a coffee friend (we meet for coffee) who is in my opinion the PhD of total BS artists. This senior gent has the most annoying habit of pretty much never telling the truth, sometimes making his stories personal and offensive. An example: He is introduced to an old and dear friend of mine, someone he has never even passed on the street.
An hour later he will tell of the time that they enjoyed sexual congress together 16 years ago. The fact that until very recently she lived in Australia is not important. Steve, any advice beyond ‘walk away’?
STEP ONE Generally speaking, if someone chronically lies about their past accomplishments and adventures it’s because they’ve had none. What your friend is doing is clearly a cry for help. A cry for . adventure! So, show him some adventure! He won’t lie about the time he parachuted out of a helicopter if you just put a parachute on him and push him out of a helicopter! And he’ll be so busy telling people the story about how you and he robbed that bank that he won’t even bother making up any stories about a criminal past! Give him the life that he lies about and he’ll have no reason to lie, except maybe to cover his tracks and evade the police (don’t rob a bank).
Extremely Bad Advice: Love Conquers All That Is Relatively Close Dear Steve, I started dating a pretty awesome girl not too long ago. Problem is, she lives in a totally different city, about five hours away. How can I keep the magic alive in-between visits, short of standing in front of my webcam playing In Your Eyes on a boom box? Work your magic. Your awful, sexy magic.
STEP ONE Awwww! You guys are in love for now! Look, I’m not a big fan of long-distance relationships. I once broke up with a girl because she required two transit transfers for a visit. You’re at the early stage, which both works for you and against you. On the one hand, you haven’t put in enough time yet to really fight for the relationship when things go badly. On the other hand, you want to do it with each other, like, all the time and you’re both magical creatures travelling along erotic sunbeams. I highly recommend using the formula I’ve sketched out to determine how far away is TOO far away for your love to survive. It’s science.
STEP ONE If you’re crazy then I’m the Joker. Clipping your nails in the office, on the bus, in the park, in Parliament, anywhere that isn’t your washroom, really, is flat out disgusting. Frankly, removing anything attached to your body in public is wrong. I don’t shave in a movie theatre or peel sunburnt skin while grocery shopping and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that. Now, could one of your co-worker’s clippings fly into your WORLD’S MOST APPROPRIATE EMPLOYEE mug? According to my math there’s a .0002% chance of that. But, also according to my math, there’s a 100% chance that .0002% is still too high of a probability when it comes to filthy bits of germ-covered, dead, flattened cells being chopped off of co-workers in your vicinity. You are very, very right in this instance.