Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Why I am Qualified to Pontificate about Your Life

texas state fair ferris wheel, originally uploaded by gurdonark.

As we all wander through our weblog comments, each of us, in his or her own inimitable, unique way, asks ourselves (often silently) for a detailed precis' of the qualifications of our commenters to hold forth on our personal lives. It is not a matter of doubt or dismay, because we all know that comments, like gold, come in many karats and are entirely malleable to whatever we wish to make of them.
It's instead the human need to know facts and details that drives us, in the same way that wikipedia editors are driven to ask that articles which are merely stubs be converted into elegant wikipedia-ese.

I therefore share with you all now my extensive qualifications:

on the matter of your children

I am the best kind of resource about children. I have never had any, nor had any professional training in the raising of them. Accordingly, I am uniquely qualified to hold forth in intricate detail as to how you should raise them, whether you should home-school or public-school, what vaccinations you should seek and from which you should abstain, and also how guilty you should feel for your choices as to day care or home care. I am as innocent as a lamb,and so are your children. I am therefore a font of wisdom about their upkeep.

In particular, the fresh perspective I bring through my incredibly admirable innocence and naivete' makes any judgmental-sounding snap conclusions I make turn out to be actual pearls of wisdom. After all, I have entertained children for hours at a time. I have also disapproved of their spaghetti-flinging ways in restaurants, and I have read Reader's Digest. This means you should take everything I say as gospel, and I should hold forth on any situation you casually mention in your journal, including situations in which you intentionally did not set forth all the context of the two and one half facts you discussed about a child in a post about which flavor of pizza you favor. If you did not choose to have children, I can play devil's advocate for you to argue why you should. If you really wanted children but did not have them, I can help you detail all the choices you could have made differently than you did.

on the matter of your romantic life

I have the unique insight to realize that every time you raise a casual negative word about a significant other that it means that you are raising Really Big Questions About the Relationship. This insight lets me pinpoint, rather like the pins on a preserved butterfly, each negative aspect of your relationship for you. By contrast, when you are raising Really Big Questions about a Relationship, I have the sense of inner genius to realize that what you want is not a sounding board, but a detailed "to do" list of all the ways you should live your life as if you were me. I am particularly adept at knowing if you should stay together or break up, and whether the gift of soap on a rope "means something". I know that every askance glance is a sign of infidelity, and every wedding should require no planning and less stress. I acquired this amazing intuitive sense of all things Right through years of social failures of my own, in which I adamantly failed to learn any lessons, and resolutely chose the wrong course for at least a decade running. This single-minded abilty to run in the wrong direction should make me especially qualified to race in your particular Marathon of Love. Accordingly, you should once again rest assured that a kind of saintly ignorance gives me every reason to be your personal Love Dear Abby. I can help you by telling you what you're doing wrong when you can't get a date, and I also can help you by assuring you that anyone with whom you have a tiff must be in the wrong, especially when, facially, one might imagine that you were at fault for telling them off for no reason. After all, you were having a bad day.
I win extra style points, by the way, for shyness and charmlesness, which qualifies me to tell you to be bold.

on the matter of your career

I have been a lawyer all my professional life. This makes me qualified to tell you how to be a teacher, musician, university professor, librarian, writer, salesperson, telemarketer, or scientist. This is because my own professional training gives me that magpie-like ability to learn three facts and then make it sound as if I know everything. You should rely on this resource, as so often in career decisions it's less important to make or implement the right decision than it is to know that some advocate from the prairie regions is pontificating at you about your decisions. I will be there for you, telling you things I don't know, and knowing things about which you don't care. It's the least I can do.

on the matter of your health

My father was a country doctor, and in the small town in which I grew up, everyone used to ask me if I was going to be a doctor when I grew up. Sometimes people would even ask me for spot diagnosis "what with your dad being a doctor and all". My undergrduate degree is physics,which taught me an important health fact--"when a fluorescent bulb shatters, then you leave".
Accordingly, whether you suffer from cancer, gender-specific maladies, fibromyalgia, depression, or in-grown eyelashes, I am able to help point your way to superior health through the invincible force of "I read on the internet that....", which is more liberating than any actual knowledge, as I am spared the necessity of caution that actual intelligence on the subject would require. I know that everyone has exactly the same health issues, and that you should feel as I do in every key respect. Come to me with your weakness, your huddled body masses, and I will give you advice.

on the matter of your family

I have the psychic gift to know that you have placed every fact in your journal that I would need to address each decades-old nuance of your family relationships, and in particular life-long inter-relationships with siblings and parents. I gained this psychic power by reading grocery store mini-books about self-hypnosis and certain science fiction novels checked out from a public library when I was 13. I know that I can read four lines you type about a visit home, and instantly set you straight about why you and your sister had a tiff when she stole your mate twelve years ago, even if I am completely unaware of what I am talking about. Psychic gifts work that way.

on the subject of the arts

I took over five years of piano lessons, and learned (barely) to read music despite the personal handicaps of near complete lack of aptitude, and of an unexplainable lassitude when it comes to that arcane thing called practice. I also played the deep G handbell at church, and sang off-key in many choirs. My dulcimer skills enable me to play over three folk clasics, while I pull out my autoharp at least once every Christmas. I have published poetry in journals you've never read, and have more rejection slips than you do. My novel was written more quickly and with less quality than yours. I also took a remedial business writing course at UCLA Extension. I have visited museums, and I have also been to concerts by people of whom you have never heard. This broad cultural background entitles me to pontificate about your creative endeavors with the arrogance of an Edmund Wilson and the grandliloquence of a Gertrude Stein. Because my own career is sufficiently renumerative that I can dabble in fingerpaints and softsynths, I am fully qualified to tell you how to
throw yourself full time into your particular creative endeavor with a passion and a will. In particular, I am qualified to move beyond listening empathetiically, and ready to road map for you a Key to All Mythologies upon which you can rely in your creative endeaovrs.

on the matter of your feelings
I have the unique insight to realize that every post you make is a cry for help, and in particular a request for me to set you straight on how you should feel. I learned that people are like dry cleaning--they just want other people to press and overpower them with noxious disaffirmation, so that their emotional wrinkles will be steam-rollered.
I credit junior high football practice and a dream seminar I attended, led by a therapist, with showing me that the main purpose of listening and reading is to help others through re-framing their issue into something easy upon which to pontificate, and then applying cookie-cutter logic, much as with gingerbread-man-creation.

I stand ready on scores of topics of general interest to hold forth to help you, but pause for air so that I keep my immodesty within tolerable grounds. Call on me, though, if you need snap judgments or long essays based on short acquaintance with the facts. I am here for you, no matter what you need me to judge or dissect. It would take volumes to write all the things I can talk about without knowing anything.

This announcement has been a public service of gurdonark, who devotes himself, when not reading science fiction, to solving your problems, including those you have not, as yet discovered. Personal advice may be sought by follow up comment or by e mail to


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