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Ask Mindy: Only the Lonely

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Readers, it’s that time again: time for a another “Ask Mindy.” Welcome back to the world of Mindy Morals, the deep-slice guide from Chicago, Illinois. Every week, Mindy reads your questions, and looks deep into heart—past the ventricles, past the aorta, past even the vena cava—for some answers. This week, she answers questions about loneliness.


Dear Mindy,

My wife is divorcing me. And I don’t know where she gets off. Look, have I been combative at times, or difficult to deal with? Sure. But that’s not really my fault—she’s always needed tough love. Lately, she says I’ve changed, that I bully people too much on twitter, than I don’t give her enough spending money. And maybe she’s right, but I think I’ve been justified every time I’ve made some fool look like the fool he is.

What gets me, Mindy, is that I don’t know how I’m going to move on from this. I mean, pretty soon my wife (let’s call her, I don’t know, Melissa) is going to be out on the town on dates with all sorts of guys. And I’ll just be stuck alone with my doofus brother and idiot sister. And I don’t deserve any of it!

I mean, yeah, maybe I had an affair. And I’ll admit that’s bad. But she didn’t know that, I don’t think, so I’m not sure it’s really part of the conversation.



John Barron, Jr.


Dear John,

It is always hard when a good marriage ends. Fortunately, it seems like yours was not one such marriage. Bullying strangers, cheating, insulting your family—it sounds like your soon-to-be ex-wife got out at the right moment.

John, it sounds to me like you haven’t properly evaluated your actions. I hear a lot from you about what your impending divorce means for you. But I don’t see anything about how your actions make your wife feel, about why she might not want to be married to you any more. You say that you don’t think she knew about your affair—but even if she didn’t know about that specifically, it sounds like she knew that you didn’t value her, and didn’t care about her needs. And that’s all that matters.

I can’t give you advice on how to stop your divorce, John. At this point, it’s probably too far gone. But I can give you advice on how to improve yourself in your life from now on, and—if you eventually get to this point—in your next relationship. Think about how your actions affect others. It’s the only way you can prevent the same thing from happening again.


Dear Mindy,

I’m writing you from the planet Jarzak-12, a small dwarf orbiting the star Kharzon-a2r7. I have been stationed here for 12 cycles, and boy, let me tell you, each cycle is worse than the last. For the first three here, I didn’t have any drinking water, and I had to drink cans of Canada Dry Seltzer, which was the only beverage we could transport. Food wasn’t much better—all we could fit in the command module were boxes of Ricearoni, which was fine at first, but I quickly ran out of the plain variety, and now I have to eat the Cilantro Lime flavor every night. My wind-powered millet farm will be operational soon, but not soon enough!

The harsh moonlight isn’t making things much better. The sun here is already burning hot—I have to apply sunscreen every hour, even when I’m wearing my helmet and suit—but the moon is even brighter. I have to wear a special wetsuit underneath my spacesuit, and it’s very uncomfortable. The only time I can wear regular clothes is when I’m in the underground base—and even then, I’ve been discouraged from wearing lighter colors or white.

But the biggest problem, Mindy, is that I’m lonely. They promised that I would be the first of many explorers to populate this brave planet, but so far they’ve only sent me one other fellow. His name is Kevin, and he’s really boring. Once I asked him his favorite color, and he said it was a “tie between beige and none!” I’m going crazy here, and I don’t know what to do!



Spacing out


Dear Spacing,

I’m sorry to hear that you are so lonely. I remember watching the Jarzak-12 expedition rocket launch well, so many years ago. But I was but a girl then—time must travel differently, so far out in the cosmos.

Unfortunately, I don’t know whether we will ever send more astronauts to Jarzak-12. If I recall correctly, President Woolery cancelled the program because of its cost; and after a Zambonian expedition crash-landed before it had even left the stratosphere, public interest in the planet waned.

So I would counsel you to make the best of it. Even if Kevin is less than thrilling, he is another human being, and that’s something that you can’t take for granted. I’ve always said that, in times of hardship, two people can always find common ground. Maybe make a little joke, like “this moonlight is so harsh, it reminds me of my ex-wife!” and go from there.


Dear Mindy,

I’m trying to get my son interested in welding. For as long as I can remember, the Calyer family has been defined by its love of fusing metals together with heat. My grandfather created the girders and beams that built the New York skyline; my father worked at a Ford plant in Detroit for all his life; I am not quite the master builder that they were, but I make a good living soldering together jewelry.

But my fourteen-year-old son won’t hear of following such a path. “Metal’s for losers, dad” he says to me. “I want to hammer wood together.” Wood! Can you believe his insolence? A material that can’t even stand up to a termite! My grandfather would roll over in his steel-lined coffin if he heard that. (Fortunately, steel is a highly effective at sound-proofing, so we don’t have to worry about that).

I love my son, and I guess I will support him if this is his path. But how do I dissuade him?



Wood You Believe What An Idiot My Son Is Being?


Dear Wood,

That’s the thing—you don’t. It may well happen that your son changes his mind on his own, and comes to see the superior nature of metal. For your sake, I hope he does. Mr. Morals’ brother Cecil is a carpenter, and says that business hasn’t been good in years—ever since Home Improvement went off the air in 1999, public interest in power tools and woodworking has slumped.

But failing to support your son now, making him resent you for not encouraging his own path—well, that’ll drive him right into the arms of big lumber. So—even if you have to pretend at first—tell your son that he’ll be a great woodworker, that he saws like a natural. And, even if he doesn’t give it up, you’ll be able to proud of him anyway.


That’s it for this week, but Mindy is always taking questions. Need help solving your dilemma? Just email You just might read your answer in next week’s column.


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