Ask Montezuma: October 2003

Advice for the Adviceworn

Montezuma once raised armadillos
for their pelts and has his own show on PBS.

Dear Montezuma,
Recently I have come into a bit of an existential crisis. Pants, I have found, provide a better protection from the cold, while skirts, I have discovered, are a more comfortable garment. Which is the best to wear? I must know as my Twenty Year High School Reunion is coming up next month.
Lance Shoemaker
Bangor, Maine

Have you considered the solution to this very dilemma which was used by the inventor of abreugraphy, and Brazilian, Manuel de Abreu? His idea was amazing.

Dear Montezuma,
I need your advice badly. Recently, the hottest boy in school asked me to prom, but I’m not sure if I can trust him. Perhaps he and is popular friends are attempting to play a trick on me, perhaps even involving pig’s blood. As I happen to have telekinetic powers and an insanely religious mother, this situation will no doubt end in the high school gym being burned down and my mother nailed to the kitchen wall with kitchen knives. My question is, with all these circumstances in my life, could the producers of Carrie sue me?
Athens, GA.

I was consumed by an inner intellectual fire while pondering your question. Thankfully, my cellular telephony provider offered a solution to a problem they created, namely the increase of one’s bill for exceeding an arbitrary time limit on a process which at this point in history essentially costs nothing (and for which they’ve created their own word). I feel lucky that the world’s trans-national corporate entities are able to both envision problems, create the circumstances leading to those problems, nudge the emotional reaction of consumers in response to those problems and offer an effective process by which these problems may become non-existent. With my new videophone I was able to record my own new idea: the clockpan. You see, it’s a pan with a clock built into it so you can know exactly when to turn over those over easy eggs. So, of course, you know the producers of Carrie; Brian De Palma, Paul Monash and Louis A. Stroller cannot sue you as they are dead; mute, dismembered and unable to communicate and North Korean, respectively.

Oh Montezuma,
Being a saxophonician my entire life, I’ve come upon a situation never experienced before. I have an inability to use pushpins. Things are okay when it comes to thumbtacks or other such pinning technology, but the pushpins get me each time. Most of the time they just fall to the ground, though once I dropped one in a bowl of cereal I was consuming before I had my morning coffee. Any thoughts?
Ravi Coltrane
Los Angeles, Monrovia

Mr. Coltrane,
Obviously I have thoughts! Am I not a man? I exist, and to exist I must think! The entire basis of your first three albums was that famous quote of Descartes, which I will offer here in Italian. “Penso che quindi sia.” In our past correspondence, you’ve clearly established a familiarity with my work unsurpassed by most of the reading public and your Montezuma Concordance (the first concordance with accompanying sound track) bests even my own knowledge of this column. Any thoughts? Clearly I have many. As another great thinker might have said in Italian, “Essere o non essere, quella è la domanda.”

Ask Montezuma,
I’ve been trying to find a funny magazine to read, but everything out there seems either too fraught with toilet humour or it seems to be high-brow in-jokes aimed at the Ivory Tower of Academe. Could you suggest to me a publication which might suit my interest.
Brawne LeJames
Birmingham, AL

Dear Brawne,
That’s a tough one. I stopped reading humourous magazines a while ago, but have kept abreast of the field anyway. Many magazines try too hard to come off as weird, funny and interesting. I had a friend who wrote for one such magazine, but unfortunately he is touring the Belgian Colonies at the present time. It has been suggested to me by certain persons that Go Icecream! might be a great source of humour. Lately the National Geographic has had some very amusing inserts and maps in its issues (one included the Aral Sea, can you imagine?) and most especially the 63d page has been quite funny. You might also try the New York Times and the Washington Times. They’ve been uproarious in the past.

I am impotent. None of the current remedies work. While I am unmarried and currently single, it is frustrating because I cannot even partake of that most precious love one may have with one’s self. Where can I find good doctoral theses?
Mary Blackmüller
Buque’s Neck, IW

So good to hear from you again! I do hope that the scarf suggestion I gave you all those columns ago helped with the heifer. Now, other advice giving columnists might suggest the hallowed halls of the Ivy League schools, but I think we’ve adequately proven that those other columnists are rather full of rubbish. My suggestion is to get to the doctoral libraries of regional universities. These are often fertile ground for the mind. Incidentally, it is a tradition amongst these institutions to slip a Hamilton or two into the covers of such publications for those who might read them. You can feed your mind and your wallet at the same time. Another place you might look are at online distance schools. While you will not find any monetary surprise here, you can gain quick digital access to some of the world’s most mediocre Doctors of Philosophy. Happy hunting.

Dearest Montezuma,
Unfortunately, a great opportunity has passed me by. The other day I had the opportunity to take part in a television production wherein Michael Palin (formerly of “Twice a Fortnight”) was touring my hometown. The two days he was in town, I was busy with certain affairs and meetings which I could not get away from and was forced to not schedule a meeting. Do you have a suggestion as to how I can make it up to him?
Fidel Castro
Havana, Cuba

Mr. Palin is a hot-tempered fiend when, as the country people might say, his gumption is up. However, it has been said that he always appreciates a short note of apology with accompanying low-grade social flattery. This is the best way to bring about an appropriate ending.

Montezuma will be appearing at the Alaflair Blvd. Best-Mart in San Vino, Kalisotta on January 4th. He will be signing DVD and Betamax copies of “The Best of Montezuma Travels Illinois,” his critically acclaimed PBS series.

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