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May 11, 2006 Edition

Dear Max,

I was running and there was a clicking noise inside my head like my brain was moving in liquid, like a squishy sound, so I stopped running because I thought something might be wrong obviously and now I’m here and I don’t know what the hell is wrong, do you?

Bryce Olivore

Dear Bryce,

Where is “here”? And when is “now”? I’m not trying to get existential: I just hope you’re not standing motionless in the middle of a jogging path somewhere in the country, waiting for my response. Loyal readers of Ask Max – and especially those souls brave or bewildered enough to actually ask a question – will observe that I generally take a week or a few to respond. So many questions, so little space in which to squeeze the answers! I’m thinking of converting to 6-point type, because I know how lost the world is without my dogma. In this case, I can’t burrow into your brain (because I’m not that new Bon Jovi/Sugarland ballad), but I’m going to guess that your condition is old-fashioned swimmer’s ear, or water somewhere in the canal. Irritating! Tilt your head sideways and let gravity do the trick, or if that fails, try a blow dryer (careful – “warm” setting only; I’m not paid up on my malpractice insurance, and I’d hate to encourage brain-melt — there’s enough risk of that with the constant threat of a “Who’s the Boss?” marathon on Nick at Nite). Either that or you have an inoperable brain tumor, in which case, cheer yourself up by reading my mommy’s new book, Stupid and Contagious. (She said, “No plug, no dinner,” so I’m covered.)


One of my dearest friends has horrible dog breath that makes my nostrils burn when I catch a whiff of it. I fear that – how do I say this- that he may be eating his own doody. What should I do- stage an intervention, soak his bone in listerine? HELP!

Smelling Schnauzer

Dear Schmelling:

We all know someone whose breath speaks for itself. But don’t let anyone tell you he was only doing his doody when he contracted that tenacious case of halitosis. That’s the same excuse the Germans used in World War II, and it stunk then, too. Bad breath is like Jessica Simpson’s new hair color – everyone’s problem. So he needs to look deep inside… and if he finds his own feces, he’s got worse problems than his breath.

Interventions are valiant gestures, but they tend to work about as well as the new plotlines on “Lost.” Might I suggest turning your friend on to Milk Bones (though I don’t advocate Listerine for dogs, if only because it tastes like silver polish, and I think it’s loaded with alcohol), and a shorter leash – so he can’t stray to where he might be tempted by street treats. It may shock you to know that much bad breath comes from ketones, chemical compounds in the stomach that are basically a side effect of not eating enough. And we all know the cure for *that.*

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