Everything you need to know

Dear Joe,

I know that I go to a tough school, but I can’t take any more whining. I’m surrounded by complainers, and feel as if they’re always raining on my parade. Any ideas on how to change their attitudes, or make me more complaint resistant?

—Whiny in West Wing

Dear Whiny,

You would think that living in a wonderful city, receiving a great education, and having the world at your fingertips make you happy. Unfortunately, Whiny, for those who are always trying to take from the world, nothing is ever good enough. A week-long vacation to a community college in Bulgaria would teach them a lesson in being thankful. As much as we would like to change the wave of negativity that floats around campus, there’s not much we can do. Like sun radiation, or Ugg boots, some experiences simply have to be dealt with. The difference is the protective measures we take against them. Avoid unreasonably negative people. For instance, those who complain about cookies, funk music, and high fives are suspect for investigation.

You should probably note that all people can be whiny at some times. It’s a natural product of being overworked and eating at Skibo Coffeehouse. An important responsibility of friendship is helping friends feel better. When a friend is starting into the downward spiral of misery, try to lift him out before it’s too late. And contrary to popular belief, LEN’s law does not occur. No matter how helpful you are in spreading your optimism, no one will steal your sunshine.

Turn that frown upside down,

Dear Joe,

Don’t laugh at me, but I have a stamp collection. Even for being a Carnegie Mellon student, I get harassed every day for searching through catalogs and the Internet to find that perfect stamp. Why is everyone so hostile toward stamps?

—Posted in Porter

Dear Posted,

If you were five years old, I would say that everyone is just jealous of your totally awesome stamp collection. The fact of the matter is: stamp collecting is dorky, even at Carnegie Mellon. Your activity falls into the “classical nerd” category. These are tasks considered “cool” to nerds 40 years ago, but now have given way to blogging, Internet gaming, and hygiene. Examples of classical nerd activities include wearing suspenders, bug or stamp collecting, cartography, and pen pals. Unfortunately, these activities are feverishly fun, which means they’re hard to get rid of when you realize that Eisenhower’s not in power.

Does this mean that you should give up your passion? Absolutely not, Posted. Fight the good fight and defend your quirky and somewhat antiquated hobbies. It’s people like you who tell the world how everything is sorted or what kind of glue goes best with balsa wood for that perfect model plane. Maybe the newer nerds aren’t impressed with your toys, but so be it. At least collecting stamps doesn’t result in repetitive stress injury.

Return to Sender,