Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

November 29, 2010 at 10:35am


Petty Questions: A weekly advice column about pet peeves and trivial matters

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Typically, Owen Bates' "Petty Questions" column runs on Saturdays. Sadly, most of the Volcano's staff was still in a food coma last Saturday, delaying this post. We apologize for that. We're nothing if not gluttons for gravy.

Hello, loyal readers! Thank you so much for tuning in again. I really couldn't do this column without you guys! You really let me down this week.

Nobody's been sending in questions---and I can't run an advice column without questions. Please send me stuff! The address is: askpettyquestions@gmail.com.

In lieu of a regular column, here are a few questions I made up. Maybe they can jump-start your mind on potential letters, get some juices pumping. Quick heads up: at this rate I will probably answer all these fake questions in a couple of weeks. You have nobody to blame but myself. That's a joke -- you really have no one to blame but yourself!

I cannot thank you enough for reading this column, please keep reading. I don't want to lose you.

Alright -- questions, lightening round!

How come specialist doctors have extremely long waiting lists? You call your GP, you get in the next day. But then they refer you to a gastroenterologist. Fine, expert opinion, great. Call the guy's office, though, and they don't have any availability for two months? I know for a fact that they take the same fifteen minutes as a regular doctor exam, and that guy sees twice as many people as the stomach doctor. Do they think they're entitled to special lunches at a grand hotel? Do they watch Hulu between every exam? What gives?

---So Tired Of Many Abysmally-Clocked Hours

See, that might not be the best question. It rambles, it isn't asking for advice. This could be solved with a Google search or basic logic. But you know what I like about it? It's a question on a page that I can use to fill up a 700-word weekly quota.

Arcade Fire---what a band! They're amazing. Did you hear that James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem was going to produce their last two albums, but it kept falling out at the last minute? Wouldn't it be awesome if James Murphy produced an Arcade Fire album? "Rococo rococo rococo rococo rococo rococo rococo rococo ROCOCO!"


I appreciate the enthusiasm, I really do. I love both Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem. Great minds think alike. But you just repeated a word over and over again---it's OK for me to do that because of style and auteur or whatever, but please don't do that. Also, please don't capitalize one word for emphasis. On your side are Youtube commenters and Flannery O'Connor, so a veritable crew. But on my side is everyone else, including Hemingway. O'Connor is great, but her editor never should have left those all-caps in. It looks tacky. Also, when you write a letter please ask a question on petty advice. Thanks.

Where should I get good clothes at a good price? I like, I don't know, "dressing up" and wearing suits---so sue me! But I am a small man, 5'5 ¾", 120 lbs. I'm not ashamed to admit I wear kids' sizes, I'm not ashamed to admit that I pay half as much for basically a smaller version of the men's shirt. I love the hunt of the deal. But Brooks Brothers size 16 is right in the neck but an inch too long in the sleeve, baggy, and it's non-iron. Can't breathe in it. J. Crew is very inconsistent and there aren't enough buttons on the front. The fabric opens to reveal my chest brush, a forest of hair you would expect to find on a larger strong man. Land's End is too short everywhere. What can I do? Where can I go? No one considers me a real man, even though I am a funny, eligible bachelor at a prestigious university. Sometimes when you're short and alone and facing chronic indigestion, you feel like God is punishing you for not believing. But what if my parents never took me to church when I was a kid? Why does that count against me? Was I supposed to figure out the miracle of everything---snap---just like that? It gets dark early now, in the winter. Cold is the sensation we feel when warmth is taken away from you, when life seeps away.

---So Suit Me

For future reference, could you narrow it down to just one question? Much appreciated!

I can't stand my roommates. They keep leaving their contact lens paraphernalia all around the sink, and it keeps falling in, and then I have to feel guilty because, what if they get eye disease or something? How could I live with that? What do I do? All these small, trivial pet peeves are really starting to get to me!

---Eye For An Eye

Now this question I can get into.

Next week: questions and answers. Same time, same place. Stop by!

Please direct questions to: askpettyquestions@gmail.com.

Filed under: Bad Habits,
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