Dear Jersey Boy…
With this posting we are going to begin a new feature here at FP , a periodic advice column called “Dear Jersey Boy.” In this column, our columnist, a product of that renowned capital of American sensitivity, New Jersey, will offer guidance to world leaders and other important international actors who write in seeking advice. ...
With this posting we are going to begin a new feature here at
, a periodic advice column called “Dear Jersey Boy.” In this column, our columnist, a product of that renowned capital of American sensitivity, New Jersey, will offer guidance to world leaders and other important international actors who write in seeking advice. And if they don’t write in, we’ll offer the advice anyway, using our global intelligence networks and intuitive powers to reconstruct the letters they would be sending if only they had the time or our email address.
Dear Jersey Boy,
I am the President of a large country. I really can’t be more specific than that, because if my enemies knew I was writing to you, it would be all over. To be perfectly frank however, it may be all over soon anyway. Even my friends have become a problem. In fact, everybody thinks they can do my job better than I can. Candidly, I don’t even know why anyone else would even want this job. I can’t open the refrigerator door in the middle of the night without thinking it’s going to explode or that my Marmite has been poisoned. (Which is hard to tell because Marmite tastes like poison to begin with.) In fact, for me it would be a huge success if I were to make it to the end of the year without misplacing a nuclear weapon, having a coup or accidentally be seen in public reading “Satanic Verses.” What would you do if you were me?
You Can Call Me Stan
As Bill Bryson has written, “There are certain things that you have to be British, or at least older than me, or possibly both, to appreciate: skiffle music, salt-cellars with a single hole, [and] Marmite (an edible yeast extract with the visual properties of an industrial lubricant.)” I agree completely.
I’m not saying Marmite is the root of your problem. But it is disgusting and frankly, it sounds like you can use all the help you can get. In fact, it’s so bad that when I read your letter, at first I thought that you were George W. Bush. But then I got to the part about reading the Rushdie book and that idea went out the window. As, of course, did George, though peacefully. Which undoubtedly turns your thoughts as it did mine to the Prague defenestrations.
Of course, the first set of defenestrations, in 1419, turned out badly for everyone including the officials who were thrown out the windows at the Prague town hall and the highly sensitive King Wenceslaus who reportedly died of shock shortly after hearing about the incident. The second set, those which took place just 290 years ago this week, turned out better for the intended victims, two Imperial governors, because outside the windows from which they were thrown was a moat full of horse manure. The manure broke their falls and they survived.
There is a lesson in all this, Stan. You can count yourself really lucky in politics if the shit you end up in is better than the shit you started out in. Also: I think it’s time to start looking for a soft place to land because once you’re out the window, there’s really not that much time for improvisation.
Dear Jersey Boy,
My father treated me badly. First of all, he was very successful and I was forced to live in his shadow. This was difficult because he was very short and there wasn’t much shadow to work with. Next, every time he tried to help, he just made things worse. He used to be known to his friends and enslaved subjects as “Great Leader.” So of course, I had to have a nickname. And so he came up with “Dear Leader.” We are brutal totalitarian dictators, for chrissakes! You think you can stir up fear in the hearts of exploited peasants when you are known as “dear” anything? The whole country wanted to pinch my cheeks. I wanted to puke.
So I went off to college to get away. The damn university was named after my father. Then, on top of that, the old guy takes forever to die and hand off the country to me. And let me tell you, when I got it, it was not exactly a finely tuned Swiss watch. The national dish was front lawn in a bucket of ditch water. So my people are weak, short and angry and I’ve got a chip on my shoulder for what you’ll admit was a perfectly good reason.
What I’m trying to say is that I am not an insensitive guy, at least as far as Stalinist dictators go. I know where I’m coming from. I have issues. And those issues have led me to seek attention in what I’ll admit are not entirely healthy way. Like blowing up nuclear weapons every so often and launching missiles at people (although our technicians, who seem to have been trained at the Strayer University Center for Astrophysics, can’t seem to ever get them to hit what we’re aiming at.)
Which brings me to my problem: I may have issues but I’m having a nuclear temper tantrum and no one is paying any attention! First my father, now the whole frigging planet. I’m hosting my own private Hiroshima and no one will even call it a crisis. I even have a history of passing on nuclear technology to some of the most dangerous dudes on the planet and no reaction, nada. What up, Jersey Boy? Where did I go wrong? Is it because I am too short?
Sunshine Policy My Ass
Dear My Ass,
First, yes, it almost certainly is because you are too short. In the words of the immortal Randy Newman…well, you know the song. Secondly, for a guy who is allegedly so sensitive, you lost me with the complaint about being called “Dear Leader.” Did you really think you were going to win any friends with that when writing to a guy called “Dear Jersey Boy?” So as far as I am concerned, you are getting the cold shoulder you deserve. But, since I, like all advice columnists have taken the Hippocratic Oath and have an obligation to help, let me say this-if you really want attention, you have to convince the world that you represent a real threat and not just some somebody’s son craving attention (once again George W. Bush comes to mind, as does Redmond O’Neal). You are obviously going to have to stop blowing up your own things and start blowing up other people’s things before anyone takes you seriously. Or, you can try to remember that the best way to catch a fly is with honey. Why not try being nice once in a while? Stop kidnapping your neighbors every time you want a film credit. Look at Qaddafi. He’s also as nutty as a fruitcake and one or two gestures later, everybody loves him. Why? People want to like you, Mr. My Ass. They don’t want to fight. They have enough problems. Problems that make your issues look, you’ll excuse the expression, small. (See below.)
Dear Jersey Boy,
I am a world famous fashion model who has somehow found herself married to a megalomaniacal midget head of state with a declining popularity rating. I used to date rock stars! Qu’est-ce qui s’est passé?
Dear Chou Chou,
Even though this is an advice column in which we try to air out big issues publicly, we advice columnists do have a very well developed code of ethics. Some things are better left to private exchanges. So please email me at this address and we will set up a house call. After that, in the words of the original Jersey Boys, “C’est Soirees-La.”
Oli Scarff/Getty Images
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