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Finding Oak Street

by Dear Jon
August 13, 2002

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Sort 163_Dear Jon-Finding Oak Street ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

Why do women always want you to stop and ask directions instead of figuring it out by looking at a map? Is this a damsel-in-distress thing? It just doesn't make sense. You only stop when you need gas or need to use the bathroom. Preferably they occur at the same time. Why don't women get that?

Trying to Make Good Time

Dear Trying,

To be fair, usually the discussion about asking for directions occurs close to the destination rather than to the departure. It occurs after taking the exit into the strange city where your old friends from college are living, and you take the “second left, proceed to the Arby’s, turn right, and go two lights past the mall, and then then turn right onto Oak Street. The street curves around the High School and comes to a four way stop. Go straight. Our house is fourth on the left.”

The female travelling companion becomes distressed when, 30 minutes after taking the exit, you have circled a one mile perimeter and not passed an “Arby’s” once. You have, however, three times passed the “Hardee’s” that is built into a gas station. As you come to the Hardee’s that fourth time, which is probably the Arby’s in the note anyway, she meekly suggests asking directions for Oak Street.

You, however, persist in trying to find the Arby’s, because you have never known your friend from college to have ever made a mistake once or led you wrong. Unless you count the time you were going to a friend’s wedding and he promised to get you there in his wreck and then the radiator burst and you ended up spending the night 200 miles from home and 200 miles from the wedding in a motel room you had to put on your Dad’s credit card. Or the time you agreed to pick up his fiancee and he sent you to the wrong airport. Or the time he invited you to the football game that he swore he had tickets to and so you bundled up and went down with him to the stadium, only to discover that the tickets were not in hand because he expected to be able to obtain them from scalpers, but since the visiting team was the defending Super Bowl champions the tickets were going for two-hundred fifty a head which is more money than you ever saw in an entire semester and even if you were willing to pay that much to sit three hours in the cold there is no way that scalpers accepted credit cards anyway.

Meanwhile, your female companion has had to go to the bathroom for two hours. When she had asked two hours ago how much longer until you arrived, you had guessed that it was fifty miles to the city, plus time to get to your friend’s house, so you had told her “an hour.” She had not said anything because she felt she could wait an hour. She was not counting on you circling a Hardee’s/gas station for an entire extra hour as you looked for an Arby’s.

The reason the man is reluctant to ask directions, is that he does not want to appear at the friend’s house and have to admit that he was too stupid to be able to follow the directions on the note. The best solution is to stop and allow the woman to use whatever facilities that she requires. Then, of course, she is free to ask whom she will for directions. Then it is not your fault. The bonus is that if she comes back and tells you the note was wrong, there is no Arby’s, then you have scored a point on your college buddy who never could find his way out of a paper bag.


Dear Jon,

Are accordions evil?

Fear of polkas

Dear Fear,

Accordians are like fire-arms. They are harmless until they are used, and the harm they cause depends on their use. Remember: Accordians don’t annoy people. People annoy people.


Dear Jon,

I am a poor artist, but I'm not starving. Do I need to starve before my work becomes great? I have considered going on a hunger strike. Would that help?

A Somewhat hungry artist

Dear Hungry,

No, you do not need to starve in order to become great. In fact, starvation depletes certain chemicals that stimulate high-order thinking in the brain. What makes art great is the ability to perceive and communicate the true nature of a thing. This requires good thinking. It is also true that sated appetites blunt the ability to perceive truth. The one who is overfed, drunk, or glutted by pleasure, has little motivation to challenge dominant assumptions with a fresh vision of the world.

What makes the Partial Observer so great, is that you can contribute your art to this site and still starve. The webmaster does not pay a cent for anything posted here.

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