Ask Montezuma: Living Situation

Montezuma II

The Answer Man from Tenochtitlan

Montezuma II once enjoyed pre-eminence in the southern portion of North America. In the 21st Century he offers advice to the forlorn, is a noted expert in arthropod joints, and once bit a puma with few side effects.

throwawaysanta asks Montezuma: Roommate is asking me for money I already paid her, because she “lost” the checks. We’re both college age and we live in an apartment and split the utility bills. I pay the electric and she gives me a check for half, she pays the gas and I give her a check for half.

We aren’t really friends nor do we talk. Living together was our only housing option at the time.

Recently, she told me that she ‘lost’ several checks that I gave her for my portion of the gas bill beginning from four months ago to seven months ago. Two months ago I closed my checking account and continued to pay my share of the gas bill in cash, since.

I have no record of whether or not she cashed these checks since the account is now closed. I don’t think I owe her a damn thing since she’s the irresponsible one.

What is the right thing to do and what do I tell her without starting a fight?

Trashiest Santa, have you considered trading your half of the gas for her half of the electricity? Gas, as is well known, is matter, which can easily be converted to energy like electricity. If you sold her your half of the gas, she could easily convert it into electricity using a steam turbine.

Apocalypse1309 asks Montezuma: Should I give my father money for rent? My father, pushing 60, just asked my brother and I for money to pay for 3 months worth of back due rent. Total: $1,350.

A little backstory: he used to work for a large multinational but got canned about 8 years ago. He got severance and he decided to start his own business with it, which failed in about a year. He spent all of his severance on it. He now has another business which is obviously not yielding enough cash. He’s also currently looking for a job.

He’s re-married, to someone about 5 years my senior… She doesn’t really work, but does some free-lance stuff, so “she’s been paying the bills”, according to my Dad. She recently took $30,000 from an older family member of hers to buy a car. She also frequently travels by invitation from this family member. (e.g. this family member pays for it…)

I know that I will not loan my father any money, but just give it to him if my wife and I decide to do so. However, I don’t see an end to this unless he makes some drastic changes. It seems he believes he will get different results by doing the same thing over and over, and frankly I don’t see that he’s killing himself to improve his situation.

However, if I don’t help him out, he will probably not pay rent and get kicked out. He also won’t have money for a new place…

What’s also interesting to note is that my father, when he was doing well, gave his father (my grandfather) money every month to help him out. I don’t want to do the same: I have my own family and life to take care of.

So, Montezuma, what to do? Your thoughts, please?

Dearest Pocy, have you considered borrowing the money your father lent to your grandfather to give to your father so he can support his trophy wife? Jumping back a generation or two can often be helpful. I once lent my father Axayacatl the hearts of seventeen Pochutec captives.

triscuitgummies asks Montezuma: Am I an asshole?


Ask Montezuma: A King of Kings


Montezuma is a reformed amateur goatherd and current proponent of soy-based space exploration. His spare time is spent donating heating oil to over three Americans.

Dear Montezuma,
My previous landlord told a prospective landlord that I was a great tenant, but left over $30,000 worth of damage to the apartment. However, he never inspected the place, he gave us back our deposit, and he never took us to court for $30,000 in damages; a sane person would. Right? Now it’s hard to find a place. Can you confirm or deny the rumors that the Aztecs had a use for parallel and perpendicular roads?
Geez Tainush
Sebastopol, CA

My darling Tainush, you silly man, don’t you know that there is no use for such things? At least not if you’re any civilization who can tie its own shoes. If you’re just a 12-hutter, don’t bother.

Dearest Montezuma,
I have a rotary saw, a lemon-scented Armor All™, and a law against nude games of Candyland. What good is a sense of taste anyway?
Maron Quinerie
Paris, France

My good friend Boris: Your letter of the 19th gave me great pause (so many letters do). First, your inclusion of a votive milk shake machine in the third part is ridiculous. That you then went on to state TWELVE times that hamster-powered factories are a regional solution suitable in the Southwest, almost, almost made me put down my pen and lunge vainly in your direction with crass, screeching bloodlust. I only knew of authors 17-53 in your 13,000 entry appendix of notes relevant to the fourth paragraph on page 372. No cart was included with the missive for ease of transport. In all the effort generated a poor grade in my book.

Dear Monty,
My father continues to send me semi-weekly shipments of vests. While I do enjoy owning so many woolen, cotton, leather, vinyl, fur, hemp, and cured catgut vests, it seems they are always two sizes too small. Is there a good way to communicate to my father the size disparity in a way which will let my father know the breadth of the situation?
Bards Blosdail
Fanumactory, WI

Bards, I did some preliminary research on you. I noticed in your online profiles that you’re quite fond of and very proud of your begonia-growing hobby. I despise begonias. Firstly because they’re a rather dull flower, more appropriate for a middle-aged and lonely matron unable to find a companion to validate her existence. Secondly, begonias contribute to global poverty. You see, it has been statistically proven that the more begonias are grown, the fewer irises are grown. Irises, as everyone knows, are the source of the world’s caper supply. So, concomitantly, the more begonias there are, the more scarce become capers. You might think that’s okay, but we know that the entire putanesca pasta-sauce industry is based upon the production of capers. Lower the amount of available capers, and you lower the per-capita consumption of spaghetti putanesca worldwide. With that comes an increase in the anchovie population. We all know where that leads…

Hey Montezuma,
I have an interesting question for you. 35 years ago I was a Jane Fonda impersonator. It was only a part-time gig, but I had the body for it and it was good money. Working a party one night I met a man named Barry Wurtzemborg. I believe he was Swedish. We hit it off and he gave me his card hoping for a night on the town at a later date. Do you think I should have called him?
Rikki Lee
Alhambra, CT

Rikki, it does not pay to play footsie with communists. But apart from that I doubt your story is truthful. Swedes do not carry cards. They communicate their intentions through deceit and intrigue. At the very least you may have been deceived, indicating that perhaps Barry Wurtzemborg was Danish. The Danes enjoy pretending to be Swedish at parties.

Dear Montezuma,
I need a theme song. Looking for something about genetics, heuristics, and a love of volleyball. Was thinking something in a flamenco/black metal vein. Any suggestions?
George Scarborough
Moehash Gennessennehaha, WD

Are you the same George Scarborough who once asked me to sign 70 copies of my book A Life More Ordinary: Questions On Cleaning? I can’t believe it only took me six hours to personalize all of those books. Sorry about ripping the back cover off of a few. Sometimes I get angry when I look at myself. I’m sure you understand how painful self-examination can be.

I grew a beard because my ex-girlfriend wanted to see what I looked like with one. Well, it grew on me (ha ha!). But now that we’re through, I’m a bit anxious to shave it down and let it grow back in again. I don’t want her to think I got rid of it because of her. Actually, I like it a lot! Do you think men wearing ankle bracelets is gay?
Tim Poppins
West Roanoka, Dry Michigan

Mr. Poppins, performing fellatio on another male in a back alley is gay. Not wearing an anklet, as they are sometimes termed. The terminology arises from the anklet’s invention in Ankele, Turkey, not from the fact that it is worn about the ankle. Some anthropologists believe it was worn as a sign that the bearer owned cotton. One imagines wearing cotton clothing would be a better signal.

Dear Montezuma,
I’m often compelled to punch people when I’m in an elevator. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s their boldly-exposed craniums, or maybe it’s the confined space. At any rate I have a lot of pent-up rage which manifests in quite violent thoughts. I’ve rarely physically assaulted anyone, but would like to increase my numbers as I think I could kick some ass. Any advice?
Jeremy Rosen
Astoria, NY

Dear Jeremy, have you considered engaging in what the kids call “rough sex.” It can be a good outlet for violent thoughts and the libidinous urge.

montys hints
It is imperative that you keep your keys as disorganized as possible. I suggest keeping your front door key three keys away from the next key you use (say the key to your apartment). All of your car keys should come before your mail key except for one, which will go on the other side of the mail key. Make sure you keep the key to the second lock on your apartment door in a back pocket. This will increase the likelihood that you forget it, get locked out of your apartment, and meet the cute girl from upstairs. This is, of course, if you desire to lead an interesting life. If you’re a creature of habit and efficiency you probably should not have read this.

Ask Montezuma: Haduary 2007

It’s the Anwer Man from Tenochtitlan


Montezuma once spackled an entire wall
using only toothpaste. His favorite atomic
element is Neon but he also loves learning
about voles and foxes.

Dear Montezuma,
My girlfriend suffers from narcolepsy. Isn’t that neat? I thought so. That’s one of the reasons I started dating her. But, between bouts of drowsiness, she tells me that she feels objectified because of this. I can understand that. I told her what I was looking for was basically a warm mannequin that smelled good and she fit the bill. The fifth octave E-flat key on my piano is kind of sticky. Should I use WD-40 on that?
Nick L. Odeon
Kingston, Jamaica

Mr. Odeon, many interesting people throughout history have experienced the narcoleptic affliction descending upon them. Meriwether Lewis, I’ve heard tell, slept through the entirety of the Lewis and Clark expedition except for certain segments in Idaho where the local oxygen content of the air managed to create a foggy path out of his lethargy.

Dear Montezuma,
My best friend and I publish a magazine and I was wondering if you had some advice for me. You see, we differ about how the styling on letters should be. He thinks that the opening, body, and closing should have no spaces between them. I think that looks terrible, but he’s the guy who lays everything out. Even if I do put spaces between those things, he gets rid of them, even after I copy edit everything. How can I get him to do it the way that looks good?
Charles Sumner
Columbia, SC

CS, the Modern Language Association style guide clearly states that letters should be double-spaced throughout. However, the Chicago Manual of Style says that the opening, closing and body of a letter should have no spaces between them, as your co-editor currently does it. There is a third option, though. The Punxsutawney Association of Grammarians Guide to Style states that one should avoid letter-writing altogether and instead save up what one wishes to say until there is enough content to go forward with the publication of a monograph. I did this in my book Answering Phil: Responses to Phil Chaudhry of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

For once in my life I’d prefer to go through the day without being anxious about just about everything. I get upset about my coffee and whether it has too much sugar, if I sounded like an ass in my last email, whether I’m doing a good job, and on and on. Do you have any advice for a used watch salesman down on his luck?
Cherry Picard
North Umbridge, AC

My dearest Cherry, perhaps the best idea for you would be to get out of the watch business entirely. Perhaps become a grocery cashier. You see, no one really uses watches anymore. They’re an accessory and one that only highly-snooty persons use. However, grocery employees are always in demand because people must eat. There’s also a high turnover rate across the board, so there’s plenty of room to move up. You may need to relocate to somewhere where the stores are larger in order to suit someone of your talents, but that shouldn’t be difficult in nearby states such as Georgia or Mississippi which do not have the grocery store shortage currently present in Acadia.

How much is a dead body worth on the American Stock Exchange?
Milton Baily
Mount Keegan, NB

That would depend upon the location of the body within the exchange. For instance, if it was on the floor, probably very little because it would be covered in those papers stock brokers throw around at work. Now, if it were in the vestibule, you could be talking about anything from $4-5 a pound.

Dear Montezuma,
This guy I used to work with here at the blood bank dropped me a line the other day. He wanted my help returning three pints of blood he stole from our office manager. I don’t know what to do. Should I help him or tell my office manager?
George Kawasaki
San Francisco, CA

George, I would wager that your office manager is well-aware that he is missing three pints of blood. The dizziness due to low blood pressure has probably been his first clue. To be honest, I am incredibly interested in how your former co-worker managed to siphon off 20% of your manager’s blood without his knowledge. With skills such as those, it would be most appropriate for your old work comrade to perhaps have taken a job at the Central Intelligence Agency or some other covert government institution. He may even be of interest to various enmobulated criminal enterprises. If your former officemate is, in fact, a vampire, I wouldn’t be surprised that the office manager has not noticed his blood loss as vampires do not exist.

Dear Montezuma,
I am a lesbian and I would like to meet a new woman who can share my life with me. My second-biggest stumbling block is the fact that I am a man. Can you help?
Chax McSorely
St. Johns, Nova Scotia

Chaxy, gender and sexuality are such fluid terms. They shouldn’t be governed merely by the functional organs with which one was born. Seeing as this is true, have you considered sleeping with other lesbian men? Lesbian culture can be so finicky sometimes that it may be best to stick to your small corner of it.

My downstairs neighbors enjoy the music of Stravinsky, but I hate Stravinsky. On the other hand I enjoy the music of Shostakovich and they hate Shostakovich. This makes being neighbourly a bit difficult when they’re blasting The Rake’s Progress or I have Symphony No. 7 (Opus 60) turned up all the way on my Dolby 5.1. Is there any way to resolve this?
James Carmel
Peoria, IL

One of the most common and best ways to resolve symphonic disputes between neighbors is the bassoon duel at dawn. Depending upon your level of proficiency, this may take some months to prepare for, but will solve the problem once and for all.

montys hints

Many actions in the house (or home) require the use of one repetitive motion or another. Sometimes these actions will require more than one at once! For instance, you have recently spackled several holes in your wall and now need to sand the affected area. Doing so will end up tiring your arm out in moments. As another example, if you need to scrub soap scum from your bathing tub, it will require a similar repetitive motion. What’s a busy home owner, renter, or leaser to do? Alternate which arm you use! That’s right, simply switching from the body part you’re using to an entirely different one can save you stress and/or injury.