Advice for awkward people


A young guy writes to you because he is hopelessly vacillating on whether to play his Batman video game or get laid when his long-distance girlfriend comes to visit? Really? In your experience, how often do readers send you questions that are as obviously made up as this one, and why do you choose to waste time on them? (Then again, this IS Carnegie Mellon we’re talking about, so there’s a slight chance that it’s a real question).

Calling BS on this one

P.S. unless all of the questions are made up, in which case I just missed the disclaimer when you first started writing the column.

Dear BS,

Clearly you haven’t played Batman: Arkham City. Let me explain it like this: Remember when you were eight and made your own Batman costume and ran around the house yelling “I am the night”? This game is even better than that. You get to punch out a shark!

And I’ll have you know that neither of my two beloved readers send me “questions that are so obviously made up.” I have received many real questions over the years. You seem to think that my time is actually valuable. This is pretty much all I do. It’s a sad, lonely existence.

Okay, so they’re pretty much all made up,
Patrick Hoskins

Dear Patrick,

What do you mean all your questions are made up!? You mean someone didn’t write in last month about possibly murdering someone? I’m shocked and outraged! You have broken the sacred bonds between awkward person/mediocre advice columnist. How can I get over this heartbreak?

Eschewing Totally Trusting Undergrad Boys’ Rambling, Untrustworthy, Tiresome Exhortations


I know. I too was shocked when I realized I made up the question about waking up in an abandoned fraternity. I should’ve said, “Hey, this question looks pretty suspicious. Why would the first thing you do after waking up in a frat be to write to an advice column?” I should have known I was making up almost every single question.

But so what? Just because the question is made up doesn’t make the advice less valid. If I make up the question, it’s because it’s an issue I’ve encountered either personally or through the people around me. Even though my advice may not be addressed to a specific person, it can still help someone struggling with something similar.

Or we can just accept it’s BS and laugh at the jokes,
Patrick Hoskins