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Shell Shocked: Advice column to islander readers

By Staff | Apr 30, 2019

Art Stevens

Once a year I devote a column to the millions of letters that pour into the Islander asking me for advice (well, maybe three or four). I’m flattered that readers reach out to me in their moments of anguish, concern and navet. They seem to take the position that I’m worldly wise and can help them solve their problems.

This is a responsibility I take very seriously. I’ve chosen some representative reader inquiries for this column and hope that my words of advice will provide solace, peace and resolution.

Reader: Art, I paid $2 million for my house in Sanibel and today it’s only worth $1,990,000. I’m beside myself with rage and helplessness. I’m thinking of selling but I would lose $10,000. That $10,000 would pay for a dinner at Timbers with 1,000 of my closest friends. What should I do?

Advice: Have you thought about earmarking $10,000 from your personal Swiss account which holds all of your laundered money and buy pork futures? In four months, that $10,000 would be worth a lot of bacon. With the profits you make you can foreclose on your house, sell it to your mother-in-law, buy it back for $500,000 and declare a bank holiday. This transaction would be so complex that not even an IRS agent who studied at the Beirut School of Finance could find fault with it. In fact, chances are that he would invite you to join the IRS staff.

Reader: My wife ran away with one of the Sanibel golf pros. She left a letter on the dresser that said she had to make this move because as much as she loved me she loved her golf game better. She asked me to take care of the kids, give them a college education and take out the garbage when necessary. My wife and I have been married twenty years and her timing couldn’t have been worse. She left me just as I was planning to take up with my tennis pro. Is there a solution to this mess?

Advice: There certainly is. You’ve got to find her golf pro and introduce him to your tennis pro. If the two of them hit it off then you could study hard to get a golf pro’s license and reconcile with your wife by giving her the best of both worlds. You could combine the passions of marriage and golf and live happily ever after.

Reader: My daughter wears tattoos as well as body rings. In every other way she’s a normal, well adjusted young lady – except for the fact that she doesn’t want to work, go to school or accept responsibility. She’s only interested in her Barbie Doll, her posters of Harry Potter and her vampire movie DVDs. She never asked for parental approval to get the tattoos and body rings which leads me to believe that somehow I’ve failed miserably as a parent.

Advice: Don’t be so hard on yourself. We live in crazy times and children are often difficult to raise and control. What I suggest you do is ground your daughter for a year, lock her in her room and invite her to share with you the cause of her rebellion. Find out what issues she has with her parents and tell her how much you adore her tattoos – especially the one of A-Rod hitting his 500th home run. Try to reason with her and point out that body rings may cause severe acne which is the scourge of young girls everywhere. Besides, your daughter is only four years old and has lots of time to outgrow her childhood silliness.

Reader: I’ve just moved to Sanibel and would like to hear your recommendations on how I can get my social life started.

Advice: The first thing I’d recommend is that you stage a fake fainting spell in the soup aisle of Bailey’s. Pretend that you’re having a severe anxiety attack and begin to shout such obscenities as “Sara Palin doesn’t understand me,” or “get that alligator out of my shopping cart.” You’ll begin to attract immediate attention and will bring out the social consciousness of other shoppers. They will immediately tend to you to see if you need help. As they approach begin to take down names and phone numbers. Two weeks later you will be ready to have your first dinner party and invite all the good Samaritans who leaned over you at Bailey’s to help remove the spittle from your face. There’s no need to thank me for this useful advice. That’s how my own social life in Sanibel got started.

I’ll take more readers’ questions at a later date. Please send them to me at the Islander in plain brown envelopes. And don’t forget to put postage stamps on the envelopes. I’m tired of having to pay for you.