I Warned You Not to Touch That

Bad Advice

Bad Advice – Steaming in Tampa

by on Jun.03, 2010, under Bad Advice

My wife and I recently invited a group of friends to a casual summertime party.  One of our “guests” took it upon himself to contact an air conditioning expert prior to attending.  He had the audacity to ask him what would be the appropriate temperature to set our thermostat to in order to ensure it wasn’t too hot for him.  He then sent the email thread recommending we turn the temperature to 60 degrees at 10am so that things were nice and cool for him when the party started at 5pm.  We were appalled and disinvited him.  What would you have done?

Steaming in Tampa


Part of being good hosts involves accommodating your guests.  He was doing you a favor by making his preferences known, in advance, so you could make the necessary adjustments to your lifestyle.  If only more guests were as thoughtful. 

In the future, if you expect any of your friends to attend your gatherings, you should take pains to discover their needs.  If your home’s carpeting is dated, you should ask your friends what kind they prefer and have it installed prior to the party.  Many people find certain color schemes offensive.  Check with your friends first to learn what colors their own homes are painted.  If your home doesn’t have the right look, be sure to paint it the way others will find tasteful. 

Are you driving the right cars?  There’s nothing more embarrassing for guests than to show up and have to look at older vehicles when newer, shinier rides are trendier.  Don’t make the mistake of simply washing and waxing your present vehicles.  A practiced eye will see right through your feeble attempt to make your cars look presentable.

Music is important to create the right ambiance.  Even if you have an expensive sound system, you should consider having live music.  Since your guests sound as though they may enjoy classical music, perhaps a string quartet would be suitable.  Be sure to leave the musicians a large tip at the end of the night.

No one likes feeling crowded.  Is your home large enough?  If not, consider adding on or moving to a bigger home.  If you decide on either of these options, just be sure the air conditioner has ample capacity to keep your guests cool and comfortable.

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Bad Advice – Technically Troubled

by on May.20, 2010, under Bad Advice

I have a small computer repair business.  A 90-year-old woman called me to get rid of a virus on her computer.  After fixing the problem, she continues to call me complaining that she can’t access her email and other programs.  To complicate matters, her 95-year-old husband died six months ago and took all their passwords to his grave.  As many times as I’ve shown her how to do things on her PC, she keeps forgetting and calls wanting me to fix things that are working.  She doesn’t remember my name yet she knows exactly how much she’s paid me.  What should I do?

Technically Troubled


Since she’s so forgetful, explain to her that you’ve never touched her computer and that you are, in fact, her long lost son.  When she mentions the obscene amount she’s already paid you, tell her it was a birthday check which you reluctantly cashed.  As your relationship with her becomes closer, mention you’ll need her social security number should, God forbid, she ever die.  In time, you’ll find it easy to garner credit cards in her name and collect the benefit checks she gets from the government. 

As her newly minted kin, tell her she needs to get out of the house more and bring her to a theme park.  Those delightful attractions can do wonders to lift her spirits.  Don’t bother with the wimpy teacup ride with all the toddlers.  She needs excitement in her life.  Look for rides with names like “Death Wish,”  “Scream Machine,” or “Nitrous Hurl Gurl.”  Before you go blasting off, be sure to enter her in the chili-eating contest and take her on a stroll through the warped mirror maze.

She may be a bit jittery after day of fun in the sun, so kick back at the Wild West Saloon, and let the shots of Jagermeister fly.  It’ll be even more fun if you challenge her to a drinking contest.  She’s bound to gain some new friends at the bar and might even win back some of the money she’s paid you.  Don’t forget, she’s the designated driver.  If she can’t remember where she lost her dentures, tell her she’s been at home all day and they’re probably in the glass by her bed.  When you leave, take her computer with you.  She’ll never miss it.

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Bad Advice – Frustrated Hosts

by on May.07, 2010, under Bad Advice

My husband and I recently hosted a party.  We sent the invitations long in advance, and they said that the party was for adults only.  One couple brought their two young children.  This was an evening affair, complete with drinking and adult conversation.  Having these two children present was more than a distraction.  It dictated the behavior of all the other guests.  It’s not as though we were planning an orgy or wished to do anything illegal.  It’s just that children being around changed the dynamic, and adults had to watch their language and actions.  What could we have done differently?

Frustrated hosts


Your next party invitation should state that, during the orgy, guests will ingest copious amounts of illegal substances.  If they still bring their kids, you’ll need a backup plan.  I don’t know about you, but clowns terrify me.  Clown masks for all your guests should get the ball rolling in the right direction.  If you can afford some real ones, so much the better.  You should also have a doctor on hand to explain that it’s time for their immunizations.  Make sure she tells them, “It’ll only hurt for a minute.”

Most kids are afraid of spiders and snakes.  There must be a pet store that sells these little critters.  Pick up a dozen or two and “accidentially” let the spiders loose in the family room.  To really ramp things up, turn off all the lights and get everyone to sing “Itsy bitsy spider.”  Don’t release the snakes in the same room, as they may dine on the spiders.

In fairness, it hardly seems right to torture the poor kids for the parents’ lack of etiquette.  Tell the parents that little Sarah and Bobby have discovered the Jello shots.  Reassure them that it’s no problem, since there are still a few left for the other guests.  Mention that you have the new version of Jaws in HD with surround sound and see if they’d let the little ones watch it.

Regardless of how traumatized the kids or parents become, it’s important for you to maintain your role as a gracious host while accommodating the needs of your guests.  In addition to the clowns and doctor, consider bringing in a child therapist, in case the kids don’t appreciate the merriment.  Just make sure the children are gone before the orgy starts.

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Bad Advice – Fed Up With Spam

by on Apr.23, 2010, under Bad Advice

I just checked and I have over 13,000 pieces of spam in my email’s junk mailbox.  The person who set up my PC put something on it that’s supposed to keep spam from finding me.  I check my mail several times a day and there are always between 50 and 100 new messages.  I’m careful about giving out my email address but it doesn’t seem to matter.  Is there a recommended way for me to solve this problem for good?

 Fed up with spam

Junk email or spam has been vexing humanity since the dawn of infomercials.  Fortunately, there are several easy solutions to your problem.  I use something called a filter.  When shopping for a filter, be sure you get the right kind.  Avoid the type used in air conditioning ductwork or above the manifold on your car.  They can be quite cumbersome and are a real bear to fit into your laptop.  I use the #2 cone-style coffee filters with no bleach added.  They’re inexpensive and will fit easily into your CD drive.  You’ll find they’re very capable when it comes to keeping things from getting into your computer.

 If that doesn’t solve the problem, I’d do an in-depth analysis of the mail you’re being sent.  Perhaps a pattern will emerge.  In my case, I frequently hear from Cheryl Bisque, the Bank of Nigeria and someone named Cholesterol.  I don’t know how the Bank of Nigeria ended up in my junk box but, once I discovered them there, I moved them to my inbox immediately.  These wonderful folks are dying to release millions of dollars to me, through their chartered agent.  I wish the banks in our country were half as generous.  I’m not sure who Cheryl is and I haven’t checked to see what she wants but, with a name like that, it can’t be good.  Once you’ve found where much of your mail is coming from, hand write a personalized note asking them politely to stop sending you unwanted solicitations.  Be sure to use the exact words, “unwanted solicitations.”  There are few things more moving than a handwritten personalized plea.

If neither of these approaches works, buy a new PC.  It’s a more expensive option but you’ll be starting fresh and none of the people currently sending you spam will know about your new machine. Don’t consider the environment or bother recycling your old computer.  If the manatees won’t eat it, you can always dispose of it at the bottom of a pristine lake. 

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Bad Advice – Too much of a good thing

by on Apr.14, 2010, under Bad Advice

My husband and I have become friendly with a young couple we know from church.  They are in their early 20’s and we are old enough to be their parents.  We had them for dinner at 6pm the other night.  At 10pm, they were still going strong.  Finally, at 11pm they left.  We’re usually in bed before that hour.  They’re a lovely couple and we enjoy their company but we would have been happier if they’d left 90 minutes earlier.  Is there a tactful way to let dinner guests know it’s time to leave?

Too much of a good thing


There must be some subtle hints you could drop to help them get the message they’ve overextended their welcome.  Unfortunately, a bomb threat would necessitate your leaving as well.  Food poisoning could work but your guests might wonder why they weren’t sick.  Going into labor?  That’s a possibility.  This happens frequently on I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant.  Many women feel kicking inside of them and think nothing of it.  Have you considered cranking up the sound system with some Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas music? 

Perhaps you could launch into some inane story about the guy you really wanted to marry.  If you don’t have one, this is your chance to exercise some creativity.  When your husband says, “You never told me about Siegfried,” just laugh it off and say, “Of course I did, sweetie.  Don’t you remember?  He was a real tiger.  I’m sure things would’ve been different if Roy hadn’t come along.”  Be sure to bait him with tantalizing tidbits about the time your true love wore a leopard skin loincloth to the beach.

Of course, a little alcohol will go a long way to escalate matters.  Explain to your church friends that you never used to drink until you met your husband.  Tell them it’s a wonderful way to start the day.  I’m sure they’d also be interested to learn the reason you never had children.  It’s no secret that everything is working properly on your end.  Right?

There are few things better than a good fight to help your guests want to call it a night.  Best of all, once the word gets around at church, you’ll be too embarrassed to attend and never see them again.

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Bad Advice – Trying to be proper

by on Apr.01, 2010, under Bad Advice

My everyday flatware is a set of stainless steel that I purchased over twenty years ago.  At this point, it is difficult to keep clean and I’ve grown tired of the pattern.  I also have a set of sterling silver flatware with a simple design that I love.

As I see it, I have two choices: use my set of sterling silver flatware or purchase a new set of stainless steel.  It seems like a waste of money to buy a new set of stainless flatware, even if I found a set I like.

I grew up using sterling silver every day that my parents received as a wedding gift.  Is it acceptable to use sterling silver flatware every day?

 Trying to be proper


Two choices?  That’s all you can come up with?  Let me see if I can broaden your view.  The most obvious option is to eat with your hands.  Long before the invention of sterling or stainless flatware, humans found their hands to be adept at ripping the fleshy outcroppings off hapless dodo birds.  Cleanup is fast and easy.  Just wipe them on the heirloom damask tablecloth your aunt Ginger wove on her antique loom.  No tablecloth?  Use your shirt. 

Fasting has some amazing cleansing benefits.  Ghandi did it, and he lived for quite a while.  Think of the money you’d save on food as well as time spent shopping.  If starvation doesn’t agree with you, consider dining out.  Most fast food places have prepackaged plastic utensils that they hide behind the counters.  All you need to do is order a large water and ask for the stuff.  If you’re lucky enough to work in fast food, it’s also the kind of thing they wouldn’t notice if you pocketed while working the register.  They’re worried about losing currency, not serving utensils. 

I’m sorry to learn your parents forced you to eat exclusively with sterling silverware.  This is a problem I’ve only recently become aware of.  Your life of grandeur moves me.  There must be many who have felt the sharp bite of over-pressed 300 thread count linens.  I’m sure countless women suffer from hyperextension due to weighty diamonds stretching their left arms.  Personally, I almost froze solid on a bus with an overactive air conditioner.  I’d recommend extensive therapy to help you overcome the trauma of your privileged childhood.  Without it, you’re likely to choke on your silver spoon.

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