Ask Eric Stuff

I see by the old clock on the wall that — hey, who stole the clock?! Man alive!

I see by my watch, then, that it’s time for “Ask Eric Stuff,” an occasional feature where people ask Eric stuff. All of these questions were submitted at [special Daily Herald Web address given] and are answered exclusively by Eric himself, and not by some staff member or secretary, like that lazy old invalid Ann Landers does.

Dear Eric: I don’t really understand the controversy surrounding the electrical power crisis in California. Could you explain that issue a little bit? — Baffled in Boise
Dear Baffled: The problem is simple: There is a finite number of electrons in the world. Or, possibly, there ARE a finite number of electrons in the world. That number is large — somewhere in the thousands — but nonetheless, it is finite. Man, it is so finite you wouldn’t even believe how finite it is. California has long been known as an electron hog, using literally dozens of electrons every day to power its many light bulbs and crack houses. Finally, the state used up everything. Utah has only survived the electron shortage because it had a year’s supply of them stored up in the basement.

Dear Eric: Why can’t people tickle themselves? — Puzzled in Provo
Dear Puzzled: You can’t? You should see a doctor.

Dear Eric: Where do they get the critic quotes that they use in commercials for bad movies? You know, the ones that say “Critics agree, [terrible movie] is ‘the best movie of the year…'” I can see tiny print after the quote which I assume is the source, but my TV is too small to see what it is. — Squintin’ from LaVerkin
Dear Squintin’: One of the problems inherent in a free society is that it allows people to have opinions that are stupid. No matter how awful a movie is, someone will like it. For example, Disney’s live action “102 Dalmatians” was so bad the dogs who appeared in it requested their faces be blurred out to avoid incrimination. Yet, when I posted my negative review of it on the Internet, I received this comment: “I very like 102 Dalmatians!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I’m sure that quote was used in the film’s promotional materials, and the tiny letters you saw after it read: “Monkeys whacking randomly at a computer keyboard.”

Dear Eric: A couple of years ago, BYU’s Daily Universe did an investigation of the Honor Code Office. I don’t know why, but I expected a “60 Minutes”-type exposé on how the office actually handles infractions. In reality, the Universe simply conducted a survey of students’ perceptions of official Honor Code policies. What’s up with that? How does a student survey translate into an Honor Code Office investigation? — Curious Cougar
Dear Curious: It’s possible that a humor column on the subject of unfair Honor Code Office tactics was censored out of the paper by an insane administrator, and doing a half-hearted “investigation” was the concession she made. Then it’s possible that a story describing actual Honor Code Office horror stories was assigned to a student reporter, but he didn’t write it because 1) he was a broadcast student and didn’t care about the newspaper, and 2) he had a large role in BYU’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and felt that entitled him to slack off on other things. It’s also possible you expected too much from The Daily Universe in the first place.

Dear Eric: When is the right time to have children? –Geoff and Madison
Dear Geoff and Madison: Not right now! Wait until I leave, for crying out loud!

Today’s point to ponder: I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no head.

The questions for this first installment were gathered from a form I put on my own Web site. Hereafter, the Daily Herald Web guys, always eager to do something weird, were glad to post a similar form on the Herald's site. It's gone now, but an archived version is here, if you're curious what it looked like. A horrifying photo of my face morphed onto Ann Landers's head appeared on the Daily Herald Web site with this first column. It was gruesome, and it never appeared again.

This feature was the direct result of my suddenly being asked to write "Snide Remarks" twice a week. The "Ask Eric Stuff" columns are not "easy" to write, per se, but it is easier to come up with jokes when the set-ups have been provided for you. I thought "Ask Eric Stuff" would be a time-saving device, and I was mostly right.

You'll notice my answers in this first edition are quite a bit longer than the one-liners I would eventually do. I was still working out the basics of how I would do "Ask Eric Stuff."