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August 28, 2006 Edition

Hi Max,

My mom really likes buying t-shirts… which is nice, they look good on her, but she has a LOT of them, and we could really use a nice new tv for the apartment, or save for a pet daycare fund…. is there anything I can do????

P.S. I am not a dog, I am a fish.


Dear Eddie,

You’re a fish? And you want daycare? I though you guys were self-sufficient. That’s why people have you!

This question is really an analogy for relationships of all kinds. To wit, most arguments revolve around money. You want a TV and a trip to the fishy spa. She wants to adorn herself in an endless stream of mid-priced fashion. I’m curious why you’re so intent on getting a new TV. After all, isn’t your view of the outside world distorted? Maybe the more valuable addition to the apartment would be another fish? (Preferably not a predator of yours.) Now that’s some fun. The two of you aimlessly circling, endlessly seeking a way out…encountering the same rock formation and plastic diver thousands of times a day, and straining your little fish memory with the question, “Where have I seen that guy before?”

My advice: have her try a compromise: Daycare for you on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And she goes topless Tuesday, Thursday and weekends. Let me know weather that floats.

Hey Max:

My cousin’s shih-tsu, Chanel, turns 15 on Tuesday. What should I get her for a present? I can’t get her a car until next year!

PS Your mom’s book is awesome!

No Gift Registery

Dear N.G.R.:

I have the perfect source for the answer to your question. My own dear sister, Chelsea, who turned 15 this year. Wait a second, and I’ll ask her what she wants most in this world…

(long pause)

Well, I’m not sure it’s practical for you to buy her “me being run over by a garbage truck” so let’s consider alternatives.

Dear Max:

My dad wears denim shorts. Is that ever OK and why must I endure this humiliation?


Dear Sparky:

You might as well ask, “Is it okay for birds to fly, fish to swim or Michael Jackson to play ‘find the hot dog’ with an 11-year-old boy.”

Dads have been wearing vexing and inappropriate attire since the first invertebrate ran into his dad in a salt pool and said, “Thank god we’re not sighted beings yet, because that thin film of slime you’re wearing is so 50 million years ago.”

But denim has a long and celebrated history of being out of place. In fact, denim is precisely what most establishments mean to exclude when they say “Proper attire required.” Your dad is making a common mistake of assuming that what looks great hugging the derriere of a 19-year-old girl works equally well draped reluctantly around the buttocks of a grown man. In fact, most things that look great hugging the derriere of a 19-year-old girl wouldn’t be caught dead draped around the buttocks of a grown man.

The bottom line: his denim shorts need to join his trucker caps and Restoration Hardware Parisian lounge chair on the ash heap of fashion’s ignominious past. Unless he paid a lot for them. That seems to redeem an awful lot of sins when it comes to the garment biz.

Since you loved my mom’s book so much, I’d suggest picking her up a copy of Stupid and Contagious, available now through amazon.com (click here), bn.com, and fine booksellers everywhere.

But then she’d have to be the first dog who could read. And we know that’s not possible. Dogs don’t read. Because we’re too sensitive. We decided long ago that it’s better to feign illiteracy than to try to keep up with the daily hash of Branjelina, Vaughnistan, and Suri sightings. All reading ever does for humans is bring them news of parking tickets, high saturated fat content in their favorite foods, and drug interaction warnings on their favorite narcotics.

So, stick with a gift certificate to your favorite pet store. Have her pick out whatever she likes and escape the humiliation of having her react with joy and surprise when she opens your gift and then returns it a week later in disgust.

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