Ask Eric Stuff 7

Heavens to Betsy! It’s time once again for “Ask Eric Stuff,” the ridiculously unpopular feature where people ask Eric stuff and he offers advice, counsel and vague threats.

All of these questions were submitted here [outdated link], where you can submit your own questions, provided you have Internet access and can type. Note that while Eric would love to reply to each and every question sent to him, at the same time, he really wouldn’t love that, either.

Dear Eric: Can you help me understand why all the supermarkets in the valley are suddenly installing gasoline pumps? — Unsigned
Dear Unsigned: Because there is an overriding desire among retailers to be mediocre at dozens of things rather than really good at just a few. Hence, we have stores like the Wal-Mart Supercenter, where you can have your oil changed, buy groceries, visit the eye doctor, get a mammogram ,and adopt an underprivileged African child, all in one overcrowded, city-sized store where the employees may not be exactly at the top of their field. I mean, do you really think guys are graduating from optometry school saying, “I hope to open a practice at Wal-Mart, looking for astigmatisms in housewives who are pushing seven barefoot children in a shopping cart”?

Dear Eric: Do you believe that there’s one person, “The Person,” out there for everyone? — Wondering out West
Dear WOW: Yes. Your person is named Ming Chi. She was born in Beijing in 1656 and died of malaria 19 years later. Sorry.

Dear Eric: Are there actually people who live in Provo during the summer, after BYU lets out? Why in the world would anyone stay? — Wondering in Washington
Dear WIW: Summer is the only time any of the lights on State Street in Orem are actually green. People travel from far and wide to see it, like the aurora borealis.

Dear Eric: Can you explain why Wyoming advertises that it is “Like No Place on Earth”? — Urban Cowgirl
Dear Cow: Because the rest of Earth wanted to make it clear Wyoming was an anomaly.

Dear Eric: Is it OK to marry a sister missionary from your mission? — Locked Heart
Dear Locky: Not while you’re still missionaries, no. (P.S. Not afterward, either. Remember how much the sister missionaries whined when you were out in the field? You think that’s going to CHANGE?!)

Dear Eric: What is your best pickup line you use to get chicks? — U.R. Cool
Dear Coolio: “Your daddy must have been a maker of high-quality garden tools, because you are one fine ho.”

Dear Eric: Why do guys cheat on girls? — Mindy Mae Noisy Hawk
Dear Noisy: Who else are they going to cheat on? If it makes you feel any better, they treat their guy friends pretty badly, too. It’s just that none of their guy friends care.

Confidential to the heavy-set woman in line behind me at the bank the other day who was wearing a short shirt that revealed her pasty, puffy stomach, and who was also wearing pants that were clearly just pajama bottoms: What were you THINKING?

No, the "ho" line did not appear in print. That word has become such common slang that it seemed to me to have lost most of its offense. There was much discussion around the office, though, over whether that was true. We knew it would bother some of the readers, but some of the readers get bothered when I say something as simple as "crap." So when we discovered that some of our hardened, cynical staff members were being bothered by it, too, I volunteered to remove it. (Had I not volunteered, I would have been ordered, I think.)

In its place, I wrote this pickup line: "I seem to have lost my phone number. Can I have yours? No, really, I can't remember my phone number. Will you please help me? Where am I? Are you my mom? Where are my pants! Wait, come back!" Funny in a different way, I suppose.

I was kind of on a streak here of ripping on the way people dress and/or groom themselves in public, but seriously, that woman in the bank really scared me.