Everything you need to know

**Dear Hoskins Brothers, **

I’ve recently been slighted in a widely read and popular periodical on campus (which will go unnamed). I was shocked to discover that a shameless impersonator characterized me as a spineless sycophant! How do I deal with such surreptitiously public libel!

Somewhat angry Stan

Dear SAS,

Textual combat is a deadly game, and, when the ink starts flowing, you’ve got to break out your best ballpoint pen and strike back. The first thing you have to do is clear your good name. Let people know your identity has been hijacked. Facebook, Twitter, and mass e-mails to your friends are all ways to let the world know the real you. Do you have a blog? If not, then get one — blogs are awesome.

Now that the people are onto the shenanigans, it’s time to lay on the written abuse. Did he call you a bad name (say, an arthritic woman)? Then make a funny word outta his (example: Patty = Fatty). Did he make fun of the way you look (say, a dumb buzz cut)? Then mock the dumb way he talks (nice lisp). Are his insults blunt? Then make yours sharp. Did he write a paragraph of insults? Then break out a whole novel. That’s the Carnegie way.

Word smart is word tough,

Brian Hoskins

Dear Hoskins Brothers,

Last week I publicly hurt someone close to me. I can’t say what I did because it’s too horrible, but needless to say I was irresponsible and in the wrong. How do I make it up to him? I can’t undo a public embarrassment!

All too sorry **

Dear ATS,

It sounds like you’re a real jerk. A lot of scum write to this advice column, but you’re definitely the lowest of the low. How could you stab your own friend or close relative (brother?) in the back? My own personal shock aside, what you need to do is clear. You must publicly acknowledge the wrongdoing, apologize to the injured parties, and, ideally, bake them a cake.

Healing broken friendships can be difficult, but baked confections are the easiest way to patch up a schism. Batter is thicker than water, so the sooner you make a real gesture of regret, the sooner you can get on with your life. If you can muster up the backbone to say you’re sorry, then the least you can do is open up a box of confetti cake. Oh, and don’t overcook it. You have enough to be sorry about.

**Patrick definitely didn’t write this response, **

Patrick Hoskins