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Dear Jon Letters: Sixth Sort

Golf, Manned Missions to Mars, Comic Books, Rejection, Web-Safe 'Palate'

by Dear Jon
November 30, 2000

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Dear Jon Letters: Sixth Sort_Dear Jon-Golf; Manned Missions to Mars; Comic Books; Rejection; Web-Safe 'Palate' Dear Jon: I was in the rough on a par four, 250 yard fairway, with about 90 yards to the green, and I wanted to get on the green in two for a chance at a birdie. My caddie suggested a seven iron, but I thought the thicket I was in called for a wedge. My caddie said no one tries to chip with a wedge from 90 yards away. So now I HAD to try, and of course the ball dropped twenty yards down the fairway and I had to use my nine iron to get on the green in three.

My question is, how do you get off making up this letter about golfing to give advice about it, when you have no idea what you're talking about?
Signed, Golf Stories in Phoenix.

Dear Golf: The best advice is given decisively and with authority. My advice, occasioned by this fiction, is "Always listen to your caddie." I
don't need to know anything about golf to dispense that advice. Thank you for your letter.

Dear Jon: What is the best, most cost-efficient and safest way, to get human beings to Mars?
Sincerely, Science Buff

Dear Buff: The best way is to follow the recommendations of rocket scientists and astro-physicists, who have already designed modest, fuel efficient spacecraft. However, these never satisfy federal lawmakers, who see in the glamor of Mars the opportunity to fatten their districts with pork
spending, cost-overruns and public scandal. So, the only way to land a human being on Mars with the optimum of technology, safety, and efficiency, is to privatize the space program and turn NASA into a regulatory agency. The problem with that, is that no private industry will go to Mars until a profit
in the trip can be demonstrated. I do think we will land human beings on Mars eventually, even in my lifetime, and I do think it takes the taxpayer to
get us there because one burden of government is to do unprofitable things that assist progress. These unprofitable things include: delivering mail to Butte, Nebraska; food stamps; grants to NPR; and landing men on the Moon and eventually Mars. But because it is government, it will not be done in the best way it could be.

Dear Jon: My son went to college and has left behind four boxes of comic books. My wife wants to throw them out. I see in them possible collectibles for future value. What should we do?
Signed, Parents in Palatine

Dear Parents: If you throw out the comic books, and in twenty years these same editions are turning up on collector lists, your kid will never forgive you. On the other hand, your son needs to take responsibility for his stuff.

I suggest that you begin to charge a nominal monthly fee for storage against the future value of the comic books. This makes your son choose between taking the hit now, or abandoning the long-shot chance that they might be worth something someday.

Dear Jon: Which is worse: Asking a girl out and being turned down, or, swallowing a Gillette disposable razor?
Sincerely, Shot Down in Naperville

Dear Shot: Worse than being turned down, is the "I would like us to be friends" speech that she gives even before you ask her out for a romantic evening.

Whoever said, "It never hurts to ask" is an idiot. Of course it hurts to ask and be rejected, and then have the rapport turned weird, with the woman never looking at you without some embarrassment, and all her friends snickering behind your back. J.Alfred Prufrock knew better than that. He would rather let the moment pass, than be told "It is not what I meant at all."* So instead of swallowing the Gillette razor of rejection, go ahead and measure out your life in coffee spoons. Life is too short to take risks.

Unless you happen to be one of those 117 people on the planet who are well-adjusted and healthy; then you already know that you survive rejection, that the snickers don't matter when you click with someone else and, because you had dared before and lived, you chose to dare again and this time, this tenth time, finally, a relationship formed. If you are well-adjusted, you are aware that there is a very real possibility that you would die if you swallowed a Gillette razor, but rejection is something that you GET OVER.

But remember, whoever said, "It never hurts to ask" is an idiot.

Dear Jon: the webmaster says its okay to use the web-safe palette for web design in most cases. What's your opinion?
Signed, Just Curious

Dear Just: First of all, some advice, concerning your spelling. A "palette" is the board on which a painter keeps his colors. Why on earth would paint need to be safe from webs? But the "webmaster" went with the nonsensical spelling and wrote techno-jibberish in reply. Wisely, you have chosen to be "safe" from the "webmaster's" advice!

The word that is meant, is "palate," which is the roof of the mouth. I know all about web-safe palates, but I learned the hard way. Once when I was walking in the forest, I had my mouth open to breathe because of the exertion, I walked right through a thread of spider's web at mouth level. Has that ever happened to you? It is approximately the freakiest thing that can happen to a person in nature. As far as I know, I didn't actually swallow a spider, but it gives you the willies, doesn't it? The creepiest thing about it, is that obviously the spider had designed its web across the trail, in order to catch HUMANS.

So, to keep YOUR palate safe against webs designed to catch humans, wear a scarf over your mouth when you go hiking on forest trails. And avoid big, big webs, that look more like rope fishing nets. I've never seen those in nature, but I have one in the movies--and the spider that went with it.

Also, be cautious of any advice given by anyone called a "webmaster." What is a "webmaster?" One that "designs webs," right? That would be .... A
Spider! Would you trust a spider to tell you what is safe?

Thought for the day: Before you tell someone their fly is open, check your own.

Confidential to Motorist in Kenosha: You're STILL an idiot.

*T.S.Elliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," published and dated sometime someplace. Look it up!

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