Saturday, May 31, 2008

After reading your column for a few weeks now, I am detecting a bit of a pattern. The "selected" entries all seem a little far-fetched and silly. Pretty out there. I have a theory that, in fact, YOU, Mr. Unlicensed Therapist Man, are making up your own problems so that you can then wax poetic on your contrived material. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE reading this stuff and I really do not care whether it is fact or fiction, I just want to put it out there and see if maybe you take the bait and I get a response.

-Doubting Thomasina

Dear Doubting,

Consider the bait taken. While I can not speak as to the factual or fictional nature of the letters I receive, I can assure you that I do not write them. Unlike many of my contemporaries (Prudence, Dan Savage, those two women who kind of pretend to be Ann Landers) I find the idea of writing letters to my own column not only distasteful but way too much work. I do however edit the letters I get for clarity. To give an idea as to what this entails, I will reprint the letter above in it's original form with notations concerning my edits.

After reading your column for a few weeks now, I am detecting a bit of a pattern. The "selected" entries all seem a little far-fetched and silly, not unlike a rhino in a wedding dress whose dance card has been retrieved from the bottom of the punch bowl at the end of the night to reveal the sad fact that it was as empty and barren as the romantic prospects that lie ahead for our dear horny friend. As a rule I always chop out the lengthy metaphorical ramblings. This one almost made it through because she used the phrase "dance card" but "a rhino in a wedding dress" was not unlike something written by a second grader.

I have a theory that, in fact, YOU, Mr. Unlicensed Therapist Man, are making up your own problems so that you can then wax poetic on your contrived material. Don't get me wrong, I love... I decided to put "love" in caps just to add a little umph.

...reading your brilliant musings on our collective mortal coil, which add a measure of validity, vitality, and soulfulness to the wasteland that is today's internet landscape. Thought this was laying it on a bit thick and might lead people to think that I author my own letters, so I simplified it to "reading this stuff"

and I really do not care whether it is fact or fiction, I just want to put it out there and see if maybe you take the bait and I get a response. If you'd rather not reply on this public blog, cruise on over to my private site (link disabled due to mediocre boudoir photos) and see if there's not something there that might get a response out of you! I don't know what it is about handsome intelligent guys like you that make me want to turn my web cam on and put on a little show just for you. And if you're down to meet up and... The rest of the letter described in disturbing detail just what she wanted to do with me if she ever got lucky enough to find me tied up with electrical tape inside an abandoned refridgerator. Since my wife reads this occasionally, I thought it would be best to just leave that part off.

I hope this is proof enough for you. And seriously, put a little more effort into your "sexy" photos and you're sure to find the man of your dreams. For starters, don't use the camera flash, and don't hold the camera while you snap the picture, set it on your bureau and use the auto timer function. Take more soon, send them too me, and I will provide more feedback, ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!
Always here to help,
Jason Adair the Unlicensed Therapist

Wisdom for the Weekend #3

Get Smarter.

There's nothing in the world that will make you more appealing to prospective employers, members of the opposite sex, and advice columnists at large that gettin' y'alls learn on. I know what you're thinking, you don't have time to go back to school, you're already working two jobs to support your family, or you're spending every free moment helping disadvantaged youths in your community, or you just cant stop until you give all the hookers on Grand Theft Auto IV a proper beat down. All valid points. But Steve Jobs is looking to help you, and who can say no to Mac Steveie?
Itunes has a new section on their site called itunes University and it's chock full of free lecture podcasts from all the heavy hitters in the American higher education system. I just listened to a great lecture from MIT entitled Remixing Shakespeare and learned all about the long and storied history of augmenting Shakespeare's works, as well as the short and storied contemporary history of people bending the Bard's texts to their will. Now if I were an MIT student, that lecture would have cost me a wad of cash. Since I got it free online I can divert that cash into plying a woman with alcohol whilst spouting some seriously brainy shit and BANG, guess who's getting busy tonight? Jason Adair the Unlicensed Therapist, that's who! And you can to my friends. So go download a lecture this afternoon and give it a listen while you're doing the dishes.
Have a great weekend,
Jason Adair the Unlicensed Therapist

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ted Danson and Alec Baldwin

Dear Jason Adair The Unlicensed Therapist,

I think we should enforce statements made in public. Alec Baldwin and Barbara Streisand said they would leave the country if George Bush was elected again. Yet here they are. 400 years ago, Bush declared "Mission Accomplished," yet there we are. Twenty years ago, Ted Danson said the earth would die in six years if we didn't clean up the oceans. Yet here we are. Either we should have legal ramifications for public statements made by dumb-ass celebrities and politicians or they should all shut their damn mouths.
-Stop Hellish Harangues

Dear stop,
First off, let me say it's rare that I get letters from a real live octogenarian, and that I really appreciate you took the time to figure out how the internet works so that you could send me your crazy ass ramblings. I gotta ask you though, is the world really so great that the only thing you can think of to complain about to an unlicensed therapist is MF-ing Ted Danson? Really? As if they guy doesn't have it bad enough with the hair plugs, TV specials on the Oxygen network, and stuff like this in his recent past:So what do you say we give old Ted a rest and take a closer look at your own harangues. After closely examining your letter I can only conclude that for someone who's part of "the Greatest Generation" you are a huge puss. Not only that, you're also an enemy of freedom my friend. Your comments make it seem like you want to strike down freedom of speech and freedom of the press with your palsied, little, liver spot covered, mitts. And believe me, I'd love to tell every damn fool who goes around spouting nonsense that he didn't have the right. But he does. That's just one of the million things about this country that makes it such a kick ass place to live. So kick ass in fact that even the people who claim to hate everything about it would never really dream of leaving, because regardless of all the stupid laws, and annoying celebrities, and starving children, and the fact that you can't get a decent Monte Cristo sandwich anymore, The United States of America is the inventor and owner/operator of the straight up wildest SPRING BREAK parties ever!!!!!!
-Jason Adair the Unlicensed Therapist.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wisdom for the Weekend #2

Throw a great party.

"There's nothing more better for mine own mental health that the throwing of a great party."
-Sigmund Freud

Freud loved nothing more than a get together with his friends. Unfortunately, a lot of people see hosting a party as a huge chore, with all the cleaning, and making invites, and having to be friendly. And if you want to have a dinner party, that takes some serious preparation that the average human is not capable, or willing, to to do. Well, what if I told you there was a way to have a great dinner party without: cleaning your house, cooking a meal, cleaning your house afterward, or dealing with that awkward thing that happens when your friends cant take the hint that it's time to go home. Would you believe me?

Allow me to introduce you to the No Host, Fancy Dress, Ikea, Dinner Party.

All you have to do is tell your friends to dress up, meet you at Ikea for dinner, sneak in some games, and the party will take care of its self!

Your friends will find the idea so intriguing that they won't even mind paying for their own dinner!

After dinner, find a cozy room or two and let the games begin!

So get out there and throw a memorable party for your friends.

For further illustration on just how amazing a No Host Fancy Dress IKEA Dinner Party can be, please consult party attendee and "national treasure" Rob Cockerham

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The truth doesn't alwyas have to hurt

Dear Jason Adair the Unlicensed Therapist,

Where do you stand on total honesty? It seems to me some things are better left unsaid, if only to keep the peace.

-Keepin' it on the Down Low

Dear keeping,

Honesty has an amazing ability to work equally for good or evil. If one is honest with his opinions, he or she is more able to influence others and create the change they seek. But like most things in life, going at it from the wrong angle is going to make a worse mess than you started with. Take for example the truth that an acquaintance has bad breath. You can present this fact in about a million different ways. Saying "I just wanted to give you a heads up, you've got a little mouth stink going on, want some gum?" stands a better chance of clearing the air without hurting anyone's feelings, whereas "Christ! Did a cat shit in your mouth as you slept!?!" is going to hurt someone's feelings. Especially if they think eating cat shit is a bad thing. If you can't figure out a nice way to be honest it might be best to keep it to yourself or get someone who doesn't care about things like feelings to take care of it.

Another great property of honesty is its ability to transfer one person's feelings of guilt onto another's shoulders. I've used romantic relationship variables as this is where people most often transfer guilt.
truth flow

I know that chart seems rather bleak, but since the inciting event was such a colosally bad decision, there's really no where to go but down. Thus avoiding step one is the only way to come out ahead. And let's be honest, your physics teacher really isn't that into you anyway.

As for total honesty, I don't think you could even find that in a laboratory setting.

Honestly trying to help,
Jason Adair the Unlicensed Therapist

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Please please me, and don't say ouch too loud, it spoils the moment

Dear Jason Adair the Unlicensed Thearapist,

I have a friend whose partner is not as sexually adventurous as he is. In fact, there are some acts to which she simply says NO and even guilt-trips him for wanting to do such things.
Doesn't a lover have a certain responsibility to please his/her partner, or at least be willing to try?
-Don't Say Don't

Dear Don't

I know this might seem totally unfair, but even after you're married NO still means NO. At the same time, guilt-tripping a person about their wants, especially ones that they perceive as needs, is an ugly and careless thing to do that usually comes from the wanter not being able to take NO for an answer. What's needed here is a little diplomacy. Your "friend" must change his tactics before he ends up in an inescapable quagmire of loathing, cruelty, and sexual dissatisfaction.

One way to do this is by improving diplomatic relations concerning sexual relations. He should approach his partner as a potential business partner he's trying to sell on a risky pyramid scheme. Lay out his needs and make a case as to why he should be allowed to proceed, and most importantly, what's in it for their partner. He should build a good case by doing his homework on the ins and outs of whatever freak nasty thing he wants to perpetrate on the person he cares deeply about. Do this to show them you've taken their fears and risks into account, which is a great way to build trust and confidence. Also, he needs to figure out how much he's willing to give in return to get what he wants.

I know all this sounds terribly unsexy, but I'm guessing the acts he wants to perpetrate on his partner are viewed in a similar way. Before going into these negotiations, he needs to figure out just how far he's willing to go to make this thing happen. Where is the line that can not be crossed? If the girl wants to soil a diaper and have him clean up the mess, is he still game? If she wants to watch him make out with another dude, would he still be down? If she wants him to take six months of square dancing lessons, is it worth it? Not knowing, and sticking to, your limits is how many good people end up paying $150 for an A-Team lunch box on ebay, whose arrival is accompanied by a sense of shame for spending that much money on a toy.

So tell your "friend" to get his business acumen on! But be warned, it's possible that whatever depraved thing your friend gets to do to his lady friend could simultaneously be everything he ever dreamed of and a living nightmare for her, one she will be unwilling to live through again. This begs the Smokey Robinson question: Is a little taste of honey worse than none at all? But if he's willing to risk potentially being doubly tormented for the rest of his life, then godspeed and good luck.

Your confidant,
Jason Adair the Unlicensed Therapist

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Spanking the Advice Columnist

-Dear Jason Adair the Unlicensed Therapist,

I've always thought that people should have a "live and let live" mentality, but that seems to leave out nose-in-the-air advice givers and guilt ridden do-gooders who can't seem to let living a good life quietly helping people suffice.
On the other hand, in a world where it takes a village, and we're all one, and we must all join hands around the fire and make a big show out of how great we are because we reach out (and etc.), there might be a place for learning from other's problems (or, really, from the exploitation of other's problems).
Can you reconcile these poles of contradiction?

-Possibly Irreconcilable Differences

Dear Differences,

Thank you for bringing up one of the most confounding conundrums of human behavior; is there such a thing as a truly selfless act? The idea of helping people is really popular these days. (a quick google search for "helping people" yields 11,500,000 hits while "hurting people" only gets you 263,000. "Humping people" comes in last with a flaccid 12,700) The problem of trying to figure out whether the helper is helping because it's the right thing to do, or helping because they get satisfaction out of it is a knotty problem that even the cast of Friends needed a half hour to untangle. Fortunately for me, helping people is not what advice columns are really about.

The very idea that an advice column's primary concern is helping the person who posed the question is absurd, as helping one person does not really generate a lot of ad revenue. The real purpose is to make readers happy. This is done by giving the reader a glimpse into some one's life who is slightly more messed up than theirs, allowing the reader to feel better about their own slightly messed up lives. Another way they make people happy is by giving out really obvious advice. This allows the reader to pat themselves on the back for agreeing that the girl who's baby daddy has knocked up baby mama's mama and stolen baby mama's baby's college fund should be given the heave-ho. Lastly, these columns are used to sell advertising so that Dear Prudence's gentle readers can purchase teeth whiteners to compensate for low self-esteem and simultaneously fuel that economy.

Anyway, everybody who writes in with a problem is aware of three things: they know what the morally correct thing to do is, they know what the ethically correct thing to do is, and they know that regardless of what advice they get they're going to do whatever it is they decided to do before they even asked the question that they already knew the answer to. And if the advice they get back mirrors what already knew, they can give themselves the same pat on the back as the other readers.

Still Helping,
Jason Adair the Unlicensed Therapist

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Haunted by Art

Dear Jason Adair Unlicensed Therapist,

I have, and have had all my life, artistic aspirations. Without being specific, I’ll admit to not pursuing them fully. Now they follow me in the dark. What would you say to someone who is haunted by a sense of failure vis-à-vis his dreams?

-Haunted by dreams

Dear Haunted,

At first glance the solution seems easy. If you are indeed being haunted by your waking and sleeping selves, (licensed therapists call them your conscious and unconscious, but that's because they're big pretentious know-it-alls) it seems like your whiny do nothing self should just get out of your artistic self's way. Paint that painting! Pen that prose! Work out the kinks in your new break dancing routine! But not so fast. What if the "art" you want to create is to raise your two children to speak only Klingon? Or maybe you plan to eat a box of crayons and draw pictures with your poo, or kill kid's dogs while they watch, film their reaction, and post it on youtube? Does the world really need any more of that kind of art? I don't think it does. So in an effort to err on the side of caution, I'm going to advise you to leave your artistic pursuits in the closet. For the sake of the world at large, act like a grown up and suffer through your nightmares in solitude rather than potentially damaging the world. I know that sounds harsh, but ultimately it's what's best for the survival of the human race. If you feel like I've judged this situation in error, feel free to send me a sample of your art and I will be happy to reevaluate this post accordingly.

-Jason Adair the Unlicensed Therapist

Friday, May 2, 2008

Wisdom for the Weekend #1

I've decided to take the weekends off, but I don't want to leave my patients without something to get them through two whole days without me.

This weekend, I'd like to give everyone the tools to do a rational assessment of a relationship in their life. This is so we can get past all that emotional baggage that keeps us from having an accurate sense of just what a person means to us and will therefore enable us to either realize if we are under or over-valuating said relationship and allow us to act accordingly. So, get out a piece of paper and a pen and we'll do a little cost benefit analysis with the relationship of your choice.

The relationship I chose is the one I have with our family dog, Sadie Dog. To be honest, I have a love/hate/don't like/bothered by relationship with Sadie. A lot of times I am angry at the fact that I have to deal with the dog, which I feel doesn't make any real contribution to the family. So, I set up a Pros and Cons list of my relationship with Sadie to get a statistically accurate portrait of our relationship.

The instructions for setting up this chart are these. You must have an equal number of positive and negative items on the list. Any number you choose is fine. When your list is finished, rate the importance of each item from 1 to 5 for the positives and -1 to -5 for the negatives. Add up the numbers.

Below is my Cost Benefit Analysis of my relationship with Sadie Dog:
sadie pro con

The outcome of this was honestly a total surprise to me. A assumed that the cons column would lose by at least fifteen points and would give me the impetus to git rid of the dog while the family was at the store. I guess Sadie is a lot more cost effective than I thought. I guess it's the kind of thing where once you come to the conclusion that something is bad, you can get locked into that frame of mind, regardless of what the evidence really is.

You have a good weekend, I'm'a go give my doggie a treat.
Jason Adair The Unlicensed Therapist