Before Ann Landers died in 2002 at the age of 138, she whispered to me on her deathbed that she wanted me to carry on her legacy of answering people’s questions in a vague, unhelpful manner. And thus “Ask Eric Stuff” was born! It is an occasional feature in “Snide Remarks” in which people ask Eric (me) stuff, and Eric (me) answers them. It’s pretty self-explanatory, really, so I don’t know why you keep pestering me for an explanation.
Do you have a question you think would be appropriate for “Ask Eric Stuff”? Really? Really? OK, if you’re sure. You can submit it here, and if Eric uses it in a future edition of “Ask Eric Stuff,” you will win a free T-shirt! (Offer void in the real world.)
Dear Eric: My friend’s dad once had an odd sleepwalking episode in which he ran around the house in the middle of the night making train noises. Have you ever done something stupid while sleepwalking? — Will You Remember This in the Morning
Dear Day of Morning: Yes. High school.
Dear Eric: What’s the best part of Amercian Idol? — Idolized
Dear Idle Hands: The fact that watching it is not mandatory.
Dear Eric: I thought our little girl was done playing in toilets, but today I found that not to be the case. How do I break her of this nasty habit? — Grossed Out
Dear Britney Spears: Let her father have custody of her.
Dear Eric: Is it bad that I’m female and I hate chocolate? — Ew
Dear Ewe: It’s not “bad,” no. It just means you’ll have less excuse for getting fat.
Dear Eric: What would you do if you lost your right hand? — Lefty
Dear Left: I’d look between the couch cushions. That’s usually where stuff goes.
Dear Eric: What would you do if you were called up and sent to Iraq? — Belligerent in Baghdad
Dear Belle: I would feel a lot of pressure, knowing that if the military called me, that meant they had literally used up every single other potential soldier under the age of 70.
Dear Eric: Is there any question you wouldn’t answer? — Dancing on the Head of a Pin
Dear Pinhead: I would never answer the question about whether God is so powerful that he could make a rock so heavy that he himself could not lift it. Answering that question would create dichotomies and paradoxes and destroy people’s faith, and I hate doing that first thing in the morning.
Dear Eric: Who has influenced your writing abilities and style the most over the years? — Edgar Allen Poe
Dear Poet: The guy who writes those freeway signs that say “Salt Lake City 12” or “Speed Limit 65” or “Exit 13” or whatever. Man, that guy’s a genius.
Dear Eric: If you had to change your name, what would you change it to? — Max Power
Dear Maximum: I would change it to Bill Gates. Maybe I’d accidentally get some of his mail, and maybe there would be some checks in it.
Dear Eric: I want us to get a new refrigerator. My husband would rather we get a new TV. We can’t afford both right now. — Struggling Wife
Dear You-So-Struggly: This seems like a no-brainer to me. A new refrigerator might have its uses, but can you watch football on it? I didn’t think so.
Dear Eric: Why has my husband been ignoring me over the last month? I can’t seem to detect anything that I could have done to warrant his response. — Ignored and Isolated
Dear Iggy: Well, if you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you! (Oh, how the tables have turned, ladies…)
Dear Eric: No matter what I do, I just can’t seem to stop biting my nails. Got any tips to help me out? — Nail Addict
Dear Flowers in the Addict: One old “folk remedy” is to dip your nails in battery acid. That way, when you go to bite them, you won’t be able to because the acid will have burned them and your fingertips off.
Dear Eric: I just got called up for jury duty, but I need all the time I can get to do homework. How can I get out of it? — Sleepless in San Jose
Dear Jose Can You See: The best way to get out of jury duty is to tell the judge you don’t like black people. This is particularly effective if you are black.
Dear Eric: Which do you like better, cats or dogs? — Catsie Wolfe
Dear Wolfowitz: It really depends on how they’re prepared.
Dear Eric: I’m tired of my students asking me the same questions over and over again. What should I do to stop this madness? — Tired Teacher
Dear Teacher Presentation: Well, have you tried answering the questions? Geez, do I have to explain everything to you people?
Dear Eric: I’m studying to become a composer of classical music, and none of my friends take this very difficult major seriously. How can I convince them that classical music is important and that I’m not enrolled in 15 credit hours of fluffy courses? — Artsy in Arizona
Dear Fartsy: Wait, you’re taking 15 hours of music classes? When do you have time for your real classes, the ones where they actually teach stuff?
Dear Eric: I feel like punching my boss in the face, but if I do that, I’ll get fired. Any ideas? — End of My Rope
Dear Ropy: Yes. Start sending out resumes.
Dear Eric: Why do people vandalize Wikipedia? — Frustrated Editor
Dear Frusty: According to the Wikipedia entry on “Wikipedia vandalism,” people do it because they feel a kinship with the original Roman Vandals, who attacked the city of Toronto in 1492 with grenades and Frisbees.
As usual, I have nothing to add about the "Ask Eric Stuff" columns.