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December 08, 2005 Edition

Dear Max:

I have a great idea for a new kind of tent for use while camping. Sort of a small, wedge shaped tent, without floors or windows. My only problem is that I can’t come up with a suitable name for the damn thing. Any ideas?

Tent Lott

Dear Tent Lott,

I know you’re expecting me to suggest you call it a “Pup Tent,” as that would be the easy answer. But here at Ask Max, we esCHEW the obvious…and about anything else we can get our teeth on. So, I’m going to suggest you call it what I call nearly everything: Roof!

Dear Max:

Dear Max, I have been in the music field all my life, I am now reaching toward 40..I haven’ t achieved my fame nor fortune doing it and still try very hard at it..I guess what I need to know is when do I give up trying and settle for a life that I really do not want to fit into to..(being normal) is there a cut off age for dreams? I mean the Rolling Stones are still doing it in their sixties..Am I crazy for still wishing on a star?

Future Rock Star, still got a future?

Dear F.R.S.S.G.A.F.,

Actually, the Rolling Stones achieved fame in their late teens, so don’t use them as your Mother’s Little Helper. Things are different today. But you’re asking a question that strikes at the very heart of human existence – a topic about which I know almost nothing. Is there an expiration date on dreams? To find out, check the inside of the top flap on your dream. It should be printed right there. Dreams of fame as a musician tend to have a very short shelf life, expiring sometime before most people develop the maturity to deal with a meteoric rise.

But let’s pretend you’ve already achieved musical immortality — you’ve already known the adulation of screaming legions, the coke-addled limo rides, the eye-popping hotel bills that your road manager handled without so much as a word (until word of the anemic sales figures for your second album reached the tour between St. Louis and Topeka), the eager physicalities with a hundred 20-somethings (or a 120 somethings?). Where would you be now? Flat busted, living in a rented room somewhere in Encino. I’d never advocate killing a dream, but sometimes it makes sense to let them pass away quietly. Why choke on “what could have been”? Keep enjoying your passion for music, but most important, feast on what you are. In “The Painter,” Neil Young says, “If you follow every dream, you might get lost.” Call me if that happens and I’ll Mapquest you. Obviously, you’ve touched a nerve with this question. I, too, had a dream of hip hop superstardom. But my career was cut short when I learned my “street” name had already been snatched up: ‘Lil Bow Wow. And here’s the kicker: he *bites*.

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