I work in an office with five other people. One of my co-workers is a compulsive coffee drinker. The rest of us drink a moderate amount.
The office rule is that whoever drinks the last cup must make more. Yet often the coffee-hound drinks most of the pot, leaving half a cup or so for the next person, who must inevitably make a new pot despite not drinking much of the previous one. Shouldn’t the person who drinks the most coffee shoulder most of the burden making more? How can we enforce this in the office?
— Forcibly Decaffeinated
Your office cannot function at peak efficiency if you are constantly being bothered by this petty coffee squabbling. Have you tried asking the coffee-fiend nicely to make more pots more often, in the selfless interest of interoffice tranquility? Some individuals must always sacrifice for the good of the hive. My guess from the tone of your letter, however, is that you have not even bothered to address your concern with this person directly. You write me passive-aggressively, perhaps hoping that the coffee-drinker will see his letter here and wordlessly correct his behavior, sparing both of you the awkwardness of a confrontation. This is unlikely to work, but if the aim is not to rectify the problem but rather to satisfy your urge to have “done something about” the problem, congratulations. You are quite the hero.
If this coffee thing is bothering you so much, simply follow the person to his car, wait until he closes the door (with the windows rolled up), place a 4-mil solar bomb against the driver’s window and flash-heat the interior of the car to five million degrees. It will appear as if he died from sunstroke and you will be in the clear. Do not write me when you then have to deal with this man’s extra workload, however. Every decisive action changes the game board.
My husband is a kind and supportive soul, with one exception. Whenever I try to fix something around the house, he gets in my way, insisting that I’m doing it wrong and that he be the one to make any repairs. But he never has the time, and it’s not like he’s Bob Vila, either: I’m just as handy as he is. And if he finds that I’ve done something while he’s gone, he’ll nitpick it to death and often keep tinkering with it himself until it’s “perfect.” How can I get out of this marriage?
— Needs Repair
When home life becomes so tranquil that minor quarrels are elevated into insurmountable hurdles, truly you live a charmed life. When I was growing up, I had to battle five thousand swarming siblings to suck tiny drops of spilled blood from scalding rocks. It was my only source of nourishment throughout my entire elementary-school career. If someone stopped attempting to claw my eyes out long enough to offer to fix my sink, even if he never did it I would still consider this person heart-bonded to me for life. It is an expression of compassion that you are reading as contempt, and for that you should be made to run the Graxfian Path. If you reach Spine Rock before dying of metabolic disease you will be able to choose a new mate from the egg-broods there.
If you choose not to do this, you should instead learn how to fix the sink such that when your husband attempts to continue tinkering, he is scalded with boiling wastewater. If you can manage to assert dominance in this way then you will have my hearty congratulations. I am nothing if not egalitarian and venomous.
I have two children, girls, aged 9 and 7. The 7-year-old shows all signs of becoming a great Gawxor warrior: she files her teeth on stones; she runs barefoot across the top of our wrought-iron fence; she’s even taken to chitin-crusting her hair without being told (she keeps an ant farm in her room). The 9-year-old, however, never showed any interest at all — right now she’s keen on becoming a veterinarian, although as you know, kids go through phases. Should I hold out hope? It is possible she may yet take up with the Ganzzax scribe tribe? Or should we accelerate the Gawxor indoctrination to make up for lost time?
— Wants Two Gawxori
You white people trying to be Gaxian make me sick. You can’t just read Wikipedia and watch a few movies and think you know what it’s like to be Gaxian. Did you watch the burning moon of Gax’an collide with Gax-Prime? Did you dance with glee from webbed foot to webbed foot, anticipating the triennial Measuring of the Neck? Did you savor the taste of your first egg, knowing that each bite was eliminating heirs from your house? If you haven’t, I recommend the very good book Ganaxorr: A Handbook of Gaxian Ritual by Professor Reed Barnes at NYU. The Lonely Planet Guide to Gax has some good stuff too. I am extensively quoted in both books, occasionally contradictingly.
Let your older daughter become a veterinarian. When your youngest goes through the Change it may be handy to have a relative with access to equine-strength drugs (depending on the status of the laws by then). This is what we call gaxnat, “living in concert.” If any members of your family — or anyone reading — requires personal individualized consultation for any Ganaxorr, I am available on an hourly basis and will also consider working in exchange for waste varnish from any deck-refinishing projects you may be undertaking. That stuff is very tightly controlled where I come from.
[Gax is an alien from the planet Gax. Have a question for Gax? Leave a comment on this post.]