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Growing Up Already.

by Dear Jon
August 20, 2002

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Sort 165_Dear Jon-Growing Up Already. ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

I watch TV, but lately I'm finding it harder and harder to find anything good on. Often I have to spend hours flipping through the same boring channels until finally something decent comes on. Sometimes I find myself wasting a whole evening trying to find quality programming. What can I do about this?

Channel Surfer

Dear Chan,

Few things in life are more frustrating than your dilemma. Especially with cable or Direct T.V., the choices to watch nothing have expanded tremendously. Channel surfers everywhere need to be careful about tendonitis in their thumbs.

I have discovered that I can watch two programs by flipping back and forth, and get the gist of both. This is effective with lawyer, hospital, and police shows, because you are not missing any humor, and the issues are usually padded along so that you only need 10 minutes or so of the program to know what it is about. I can also flip back and forth between games. In most televised sports, nothing happens for most of the time. By flipping back and forth, I catch a higher ratio of exciting plays per hour.

But when NOTHING is on the dilemma is huge: How can someone possibly spend an evening of leisure without worthwhile television? Aside from conversation with others in the house, boardgames, literature, theatre, exercise, your compact disc music collection, practicing a musical instrument, meditation, cooking from scratch, personal journaling, taking a night class, volunteering with a scout troop or 4-H club or youth group or tutoring program, writing poetry, building miniatures, painting, cross-stitching, crossword puzzles, and calling your mother, I can’t think of anything.


Dear Jon,

I have recently heard men past thirty shouldn't play in fantasy sports leagues. Are there any other activities you feel men shouldn't engage in once they pass 30? How about women?


Dear Something,

When a man turns thirty it is probably time for him to stop painting his stomach the color of his college football team. He should also refrain from throwing moistened peanut shells at fans of other teams. He no longer needs to prove that “he can eat the whole thing,” whether it’s a pizza or anything else. When a man turns thirty he needs to realize that college co-eds think he is old and the idea of dating him is gross, so he should stop trying to hit on anyone younger than 25.

A man who is thirty has discovered that there is a lot more to life than improving his score on any of the DOOM modules. This is where Fantasy Sports probably figures in. A man who is thirty should not be taking the time required to keep up with that stuff.

A man who is thirty can go to bed at 11 PM on week-ends because he realizes he is not “missing” anything. A man who is thirty can get up before eight on week-ends because he realizes that time off is too precious to squander by sleeping all day. A man who is thirty can use the “T.V.Guide” to determine if anything on television is worth watching. Many men who are thirty conclude there is not and prefer to start reading the books they had Cliff-noted through college.

A thirty year-old man should not visit parents expecting to relive his childhood. He should offer his assistance around the house, doing the kind of chores that he had once whined about.

A thirty year-old man should drop the idea that he will fall in love on first sight. Chances are, the thirty year-old already knows the woman who will be his next significant relationship; they just haven’t ignited the chemistry yet because both of them have been chasing fantasies since they were fifteen.

A woman who is 30 should drop the idea that men are for changing. She should wear comfortable shoes, even on evenings out. She should remove the tongue-stud. She should realize that 9 out of 10 men are funny looking, and the older she gets, the funnier looking will be the men her own age. If men are funny-looking and won’t be nagged into changing, that leads to some rapidly maturing conclusions about how a 30 year-old woman will view her own goals for life and family.

A 30 year-old woman should take a new look at the single men in her life she has known for five or ten years already. Funny looking? Sure. But really so bad? Nope. And they are nice, even sweet sometimes, once you all grow up and realize it. Speaking of sweet.....


Hi Jon --

I got an article via e-mail shrieking about the evils of Aspartame (aka Equal and Sweet-N-Low). The article claims that aspartame poisons those who drink large quantities of it in a manner that mimics lupus and/or multiple sclerosis. The article was SO vehement that I think it may be a hoax. Do you know anything about this particular scare? How do I research such rumors?


Dear Sugar,

The best way to research such internet rumors is to have someone else do the research for you, which the Editor at the Partial Observer kindly did even before I asked. He had probably assumed that I would not take the time to look it up myself. Our editor is very intelligent.

Your instincts are correct. According to http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org, the aspartame myth is a hoax. In case you ever have time to look things up for yourself, you might want to check out that or other sites you can find with such key words as “hoax” or “urban legend.”

I don’t have time to look things up, so I go with my instincts. I tend to delete without reading any message with the subject that begins fw: fw: fw: I never forward any message that tells me to forward it. I never open attachments from addresses I don’t recognize. I never forward messages or respond to messages about six year-olds who need money for open-heart surgery a thousand miles from where I live.

“Inspirational” messages about the endurance of the human spirit or the innocence of children usually inspire me to trash them without opening.

I do not believe in Elvis sightings or any message that claims to know the location of Kennedy’s brain.

Any message that claims to be “Absolutely True! This is NOT a hoax!” is usually completely false and a hoax. Messages that attempt to stir up anger or hatred against progressives, conservatives, Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, liberals, the ACLU, the NRA, Congress, environmentalists or Atheists are hoaxes. Messages that attempt to sabotage multinational corporations are hoaxes.

Government conspiracies are a hoax. The government is cumbersome and reactionary. The Watergate break-in and the Iran-Contra swindle demonstrate the general ineptitude of the government to execute any conspiracy.

To sum up, think of the Internet as the Misinformation Superhighway.

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Dear Jon Letters: Tips for Dating and Mating
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