The Advice

Yesterday I posted a status on Facebook that said, “Advice, 5¢.” A few people “liked” this status, but I was very disappointed to find that no one actually solicited my advice – even for the bargain basement price of 5 red cents.

In the comic strip Peanuts, Lucy’s psychiatry booth was a running joke… so perhaps they thought I was joking? I do do that. I joke a fair bit. It’s the only way that I know how to make this cruel, cruel world a bit more jovial.

I wasn’t kidding about giving advice. I think I am (possibly) wise beyond my years. I am like an 85 year-old woman… in many ways (thriftiness, love of hard candy and housecoats/slippers).

I should make it clear: I have no formal training. Actually, I do have some formal training (in screenwriting, improvisation, sketch comedy, photography, art history, and I also took a one day course in first aid), but not in a subject related to giving advice or counsel.

However, I think I have a lot to offer as an “Advice Giver” (or whatever you want to call it). I enjoy being consulted. I enjoy giving my opinion. I enjoy giving encouragement. I also enjoy writing people reality checks.

For instance, I knew a young lady (let’s call her Terry Periwinkle). Terry wanted to be a singer. Call me sharp, enlightened, discerning, perceptive, thoughtful… (just don’t call me late for dinner)… I had heard Terry sing and I knew immediately that singing was not her forte.

I tried to encourage Terry into accounting or veterinary medicine, but she refused. One day Terry said she’d like to buy me a root beer. (Who is going to turn down a root beer? Am I right or am I right?) When Terry put her dollar in the vending machine, the machine provided a tin of root beer, and then a lone nickel bounced into the change tray. She pressed the nickel into my palm and said, “keep it”. I knew Terry was too prideful (and vain, and pompous) to “ask” my advice… and that this was just an elaborate ploy to solicit my opinion.

So, I was forced to be honest with Terry…

I told Terry her voice sounded like a cross between a baby crying and nails on a chalkboard, combined with an electric drill with just a hint of smoke alarm. I told her she was unlikely to benefit from vocal lessons.

I also told Terry she didn’t have the looks or personality to be a singer. Everyone (except Terry) knows that you have to be good-looking, or at least average looking with a hot bod. I also reminded Terry that she doesn’t know how to read music or play a musical instrument. I told her it wasn’t too late to consider optometry.

I also told Ms. Periwinkle she also didn’t have “it”. When she asked what “it” was, I told her it was an indefinable quality similar to charisma or glamor. She has neither, and I told her so.

Well, I think you know where this is going.

Terry went ahead and tried out for American Idol, and was a contestant last season. She was eliminated week seven.

She could have alleviated a lot of heartbreak and suffering had she listened to my sage advice.

You may be wondering why I am now offering this service to the world. That’s a good question and it deserves an honest answer. I need the money.

For five cents, I will give you my “two cents” (I still come up three cents ahead).

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