Tuesday, March 31st

Dear Poor Lucky Me,

I have the sneaking suspicion that a coworker is out to get me.  My therapist thinks I’m just paranoid.  But like my coworker will say rude things about me to people he knows will report back to me.  I don’t care if people need to vent about me, but to deliberately say it to some one who will repeat it to me?  It’s rude!  And I am never copied on his meeting memos.  And I think someone is urinating on the floor of my cubicle.

So?  Am I just paranoid?

Yours Truly,


Dear Suspicious,

I’d like to say “Oh you’re imagining things” but the truth is I think more people are out to get us than we realize.  So if you suspect someone is after you, they probably are.  Wait, is the correct grammar: “if you suspect someone is after you, they probably is”?  Huh, that’s tricky.  Anyway, that’s just one person’s non-scientific theory and maybe a good therapist could change my mind.  It would have to be a really good therapist though, because I’m very committed to my neurosis.  In these tough economic times, you really have to guard your resources.  This isn’t the time to give up on paranoia or insecurity or explosive rage syndrome.

Some people might suggest that you go to H.R. with your complaints.  I think that a little patience and ingenuity are always more effective than any H.R. department I’ve ever had experience with.  Here are some low-key retaliation suggestions:

1. If this person isn’t copying you on important memos, respond by copying him on everything you send out or respond to.  Especially things that are not relevant to anything he does.  When he confronts you, calmly and smilingly explain that you are just keeping him “in the loop” because you know how much you personally hate being “left out of the loop”.  Suggest coming up with a quick list of things you’d each like to be included on.

2. After a co-worker has reported something rude or offensive he has said, stop him in the hall.  Say “Nancy just told me the most hilarious joke you said about me” and tell him exactly what you were told.  It’s ok to throw the person who squealed under the bus, because I think people who tell you rude things that other people say about you are also assholes.  Aren’t they?  They’re still insulting you, even if they didn’t originate the insult.

3. If some one is urinating on your cubicle floor, it should be very obvious.  The evidence will include wetness and a urine-like odor.  If this evidence is not present and you still suspect foul play, perhaps you should talk to your shrink about medication.


Poor Lucky Me

Monday, March 30th

Dear Poor Lucky Me,

I’ve been trying to get back in touch with my high school friends using Facebook.com.  They all have accepted my “friend request” but then won’t reply to my messages, superpokes, quizzes, etc.  It’s starting to drive me a little insane, and I’m reacting in an unhealthy way.  Could it be that these people never really liked me in the first place?  Or does Facebook offer an unrealistic ideal of reunited friendships?


Feeling Friendless

Dear Friendless,

Facebook is uniquely awesome and stupid at the same time.  If you are over age 25, you should only be using it to spy on exes and network with people who are older and easily excited by internet quizzes.  You can feel free to comment on old friends’ pictures or status updates, but must limit sarcasm and snarkiness.

You must not try to reunite or rekindle any relationships.  That makes people feel imposed upon.  No one wants to be obligated to keep in touch for the privilege of looking at your “random pics from New Years”.   If some one you want to be in touch with reaches out to you, then you can reciprocate.  But you should keep in mind there’s probably a good reason you fell out of touch in the first place.

Facebook has been know to be used as a tool to exclude people from events, remind people that they sucked in high school, cruise for random sex partners, and annoy people by sending them endless Lil Green Patches and petitions.  In these regards, Facebook is great.  I’m always on the lookout for more passive aggressive ways to bother or seduce people.

I’d like to raise the possibility (and I mean this in the nicest possible way) that perhaps you were insane before Facebook?  Keep your expectations low and you’ll go far.  I think I’m going to have that tatooed on my forearm.


Poor Lucky Me

Friday, March 28th

Dear Poor Lucky Me,

I am fuming right now.  I just got a letter from my credit card company.  It said that I’ve been a great customer and a pleasure to do business with, but due to these tough economic times they’ll be raising my interest rate to 18%.

I immediately called the company and asked them to close the card, because I never carry a balance and refuse to be b*llsh*tted.  They told me not to worry, they’d lock in my rate at 10% and sorry for the inconvenience.

Well, that almost made me more angry, because it was a confirmation that the letter was b*llsh*t.  I now know for sure that they are using the terrible economic situation to screw people.

Should I still cancel the card? How can one person beat this disgusting new pattern of abuse?


John Q Public

Dear John,

I think you should call the credit card company and tell them you’d like to cancel your card and that you’ve told all your friends, family and co-workers about the crap they tried to pull on you.  It’s an outrage that so many companies are taking advantage of this economy.  Even the newspapers are trying to keep their heads afloat by publishing panic-news.  It’s as despicable as war-profiteering!

I wonder if you should even write a letter and gather signatures about how you won’t tolerate such sleazy behavior.  You could send a copy to your congressman and try to get a real movement going.  I tried this tactic to get the work week down to Monday through Thursday.  It makes sense because so many of us are glued to our Blackberrys and iPhones and laptops and put in way more than 40 hours a week.

Personally, I use my iPhone to play solitaire and word twist while on the toilet or in line at the supermarket.  I don’t even really know how to get my work email on there, but I still feel like five days of work is overkill.  Unfortunately I was not able to garner enough legitimate support for my idea, but I did get a form letter from several politicians and George Clooney’s publicist.  You know what they say: “First a stalker, then a best friend!”

Down with war profiteering!  Up with longer weekends!


Poor Lucky Me

Thursday, March 26th

Dear Poor Lucky Me,
Sometimes I read on-line news and like to leave comments. Then I’ll check back to see what people thought about my comments. Occasionally, others don’t take the enlightened things i say well, and I get in these comments fights. If I’m not careful, it can take up my whole day! I know I probably should engage these weirdos, but honestly I am afraid that I’m actually the weirdo. Is it weird that I worry about this kind of thing?
My Best Work Is On Gawker

Dear My Best Work,
Wow. I have always wondered who those people are. In fact, one of my favorite things to do is read comments-fights and wonder if the hormones in our cow meat have finally gotten us to a peak societal rage.

Hey do you ever goad people into fighting on craigslist.com? I think those are probably the best fights, because they’re so impressively pointless. They’re not even about ethics or politics, just fed up squabbling. It’s as awesome as it is totally depressing.

I bet that if it wasn’t so easy to get food this kind of stuff wouldn’t happen. I mean, stranger’s comments wouldn’t drive you to the edge if you weren’t so warm and safe and well fed. It’s like we have to create things to struggle for, because we don’t have to worry about the basics anymore. Personally, I start to go insane when I’m hungry. Just the other day I knocked down a little kid and ate her sandwich while I hunched in the street because it was 12:45 pm and I hadn’t had lunch. I could probably parlay that instinct into some sweet hunting skills.

Poor Lucky Me

Wednesday, March 25th

An Open Letter to Asher Roth

Dear Asher,

So I caught a couple rounds of one of your recent hits “I Love College“.  When I stopped laughing, I looked you up on Wikipedia, then I started vomiting.  I don’t want to be harsh, but you have taken being an annoying douchey tool to a level that not even Vanilla Ice could achieve.

It would be one thing if you were just another music industry shill who appreciated the  miracle that occurred when someone saw you and thought you were talented.  Unfortunately, I read several articles where you referred to yourself as “an artist” and more shockingly as a “hip hop artist”.  You, sir, are less of an artist than those cats people taught to paint.

I don’t know who gave you your big break, but rest assured once I have some real power in this country I will find these people, round them up, and send them to leper-colony-like island where they can all walk around with martinis giving each other double guns and saying “I love you babe” without recourse.  The island will also be packed with the women who hear your crappy crappy song and feel moved to take their shirts off.  If lyrics about beer pong and one dollar slices of pizza make you hot, you should definitely not be permitted to procreate.

I’m sure you’re a really nice guy (I’m not sure at all- my editor made me put that it.  I think you’re probably a totally dick) but you have to know that you are personally responsible for the decline of culture in America.  Dude, you are making things worse.  Please cut this shit out, or at least donate a large chunk of your blood money to help give actual talented people their break.


Poor Lucky Me

A Note to Readers: I apologize for including a link to the song and thereby giving this asshole more hits on Youtube, but we have to know what form the enemy takes.

Tuesday, March 24th

Dear Poor Lucky Me,

I’ve noticed that most cashiers I encounter don’t smile, and often don’t even make eye contact with me.  It’s really disturbing, especially in the Midwest, where people are pretty loosey-goosey with their smiles. 

At first I thought it was me.  Like maybe I was being annoying or insulting without realizing it.  But then I started taking a non-scientific poll among my workmates and friends, and they’ve noticed it too.

What is the problem?  Does being a cashier make you aangry and depressed, or do angry depressed people become cashiers?  I was a cashier for a while after college, and I thought it was fine, but you know that was almost ten years ago.  Also I had a manager who would cut your smoke breaks short if you weren’t polite to the customer.  What happened to managers like that?


Concerned Consumer


Dear Concerned Consumer,

I actually just sent an email to the Marshall’s customer service address complaining about their cashiers.  At the store downtown, no one will look at my face.  The stare at my neck and talk to each other about when their next break is and how excited they’ll be to get off of work.  I’m not asking that people be ecstatic to ring up my three pack of Goldtoes, but can’t you bitch about it in the break room like normal people? 

I think job applications should include the question: “Do you despise the public?”  If you answer yes, maybe they could put you in the stock room instead of encouraging you to sneer at people from behind the counter.  I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but these kinds of encounters, which seem to have become the norm, are really making me rethink being a participating member of society. 

I watched this show recently called “I Eat 33,000 Calories a Day” and I found it pretty appealing.  I know the show was supposed to be a warning that you can be addicted to food, but I felt like it was actually offering quite an interesting solution to several of my problems:

1. You can’t work once you reach a certain girth

2. People stop asking you to sign up for the softball team.

3. Your family and remaining friends have to do you grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning for you.

4. You can gradually go from regular cloths to muumuus to just a sheet that covers the lower half of your body.

I think that food addict beats drug addict any day of the week because less people understand the problem, so you can probably be enabled for much longer.  I’d make a point of eating fruits and vegetables too, to keep people off the trail for a while.


Poor Lucky Me

Monday, March 23rd

Dear Poor Lucky Me,

I just turned 40 this year, and I’ve really started to feel like I’ve grown up.  It’s like I’m coming into my own skin, you know what I mean?  I thought it would freak me out a lot more than it has, which is a great relief.

The problem is I want people who are younger than me or who don’t know me to address me as Mr ________.  Why does everyone call me by my first name?  Can’t they say Mr_______ and let me say “Oh Please call me (my first name)”.  I never would have thought that this would bother me, but maybe it’s because I always assumed that a bit of formality would be a given.  I still call my parents’ friends Mr and Mrs. because it’s polite and no skin off my back.

Am I just a tight ass?  I don’t think I am in any other area of my life!


Mr ___________


Dear Mr_________,

I don’t think that you wanting to be addressed respectfully means you are a tight ass.  These things can be mutually exclusive.  It’s like how I’m a fastidious hand washer but am casual about laundering my clothes.  And apartment.  And the rest of my body.  And my car, which is filled with Taco Bell wrappers and old newspapers.  Because I sleep in there sometimes.  

It’s a shame that almost all etiquette and formality is gone from regular society.  I can’t tell you how often I see discarded chicken bones on the sidewalk in my neighborhood.  Think about it: people are eating pieces of chicken as they walk, then throwing the bones on the street.  At first I thought these must be budding psychopaths or the criminally insane, but then I realized they’re just people who think that’s acceptable behavior.  Actually, that’s a more frightening prospect then the idea of a few criminally insane chicken wing lovers touring Navy Pier.  If it’s normal to eat food and throw the remains on the ground, it’s probably going to be tough to get people to call you Mr anything, unless it’s an insult.  Like Mr Cock Face, for example.

I wish I had a definitive way for you for right this wrong.  Unfortunately, I think the best you can do is introduce yourself using your last name, and correct people who call you by your first name when you meet.  Unfortunately, this method will make you look like a tight ass, but who cares?   When did it become a requirement that we’re all cool and laid back?  Let’s leave being laid back to hippies and homeless people, and take a little pride in being a bit high maintenance.  Maybe manners will come back in style and my dog’s side walk chicken bone diet will be reduced slightly.  She’s getting very fat.


Poor Lucky Me

Friday, March 20th

Dear Poor Lucky Me,

Every year I think, “This is the year that I’m going to pay attention to March Madness.”  I try and do the bracket thing at my work, but I get too anxious to turn it in.  Then I still try and follow the games, or at least not roll my eyes when other people talk about it.

Nothing works.  March madness bores me out of my skull, which mkes me feel bad about myself.  What can I do?



Dear Janice,

The truth is there are some elements of society that you just have to grit your teeth, smile, and force yourself to get into.  Or at least you have to stand at the peripheryand not complain.  People hate complainers when they’re trying to have fun, and March Madness is about the most fun thing you can come by during a Chicago winter. 

Here are some things to keep in mind while you’re trying not to sob out of boredom: March Madness is really only about three weeks long.  If you just turn in your brackets, and you’re playing for money, you might be able to muster a bit of interest in the outcomes of the games.  Don’t be anxious about your picks: the winners of those pools are usually young girls who have never followed sports in their life and just pick based on the animal names or colors.  You’ve got to fake it until you make it- like the drunks say.  It really works.  Finally, and most importantly, if you can get through March Madness without bitching constantly, people will remember you as “fun” and “a good sport” and that will pay off for the rest of the year.   Take it from some one who is often considered  a “kill joy” and “high maintenance”.


Poor Lucky Me

Thursday, March 19th

Dear Poor Lucky Me,

I was reading your answer to Clownish and I clicked on the link. As I’m listening Entre Vous, I think that the musical intro is pretty cool and then…What’s-his-face starts singing!  Did the guys in Rush figure that their musical talents are sooooo good that they didn’t need to bother getting a lead singer that didn’t sound like a middle-aged Frodo Baggins.

What’s up with that?


Rush Sucks

Dear You Have Crap Taste In Music,

I’m sorry you can’t appreciate one of Canada’s greatest exports, but please refrain from insulting Geddy Lee.  I know that most people aren’t sophisticated enough to enjoy Rush, and that breaks my heart.  And yes: their musical stylings ARE so good that it wouldn’t matter who sang lead.  Except they happen to have a kick ass singer.

There are some moments in life when one has to just agree to disagree.  Especially when it comes to art.  Especially when one person clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Especially when one person is obviously trying to hurt the other person’s feelings by putting down their heroes.


Poor Lucky Me

Wednesday, March 18th

Dear Poor Lucky Me,

One of my main objections about work is that I felt like I got tricked into a cult-like arranged group marriage with a bunch of dumbasses.  I have to spent 10 hours a day with these people, which is more waking hours than I spend with my wife!

I think we should be able to at least choose who sits near us, if they won’t let us choose entirely who we work with.  I can’t stand some of these people.  Seriously.  Isn’t this America?

Yours Truly,

My Best Days Were When I Sat Next To The Copy Machine

Dear Copy Machine,

This is America, you don’t have to stand for any annoyances or abuses in the workplace.  In these tough economic times, it seems so pointless to struggle in a job you find the least bit irritating or hard or unfulfilling or fulfilling but requiring you wake up early.  If you quit now, you’ll be a part of something: the unemployed!  Your friends and family might not “get it” but that’s because they are short sighted.  Don’t you want grand tales of woe that you can talk about for decades to come?  Or do you want some stupid job that you have to work at all day and pays you money and health insurance and gives you a computer to shop on-line with?  Psh.

If you don’t feel ready to load up the pots and pans on your burro and join the soup lines, maybe you could try asking your office manager to have your desk reassigned.  You’ll expose yourself as a crybaby, but it will prevent you from having to take more extreme measures – like not showering, refusing to speak English, insisting on working in bare feet, and always borrowing money from your cube mate.  My office manager wouldn’t move me but my office mates did surround my desk with Chinese screens  so they don’t have to look at the aggressive facial piercings I got to spite them all.


Poor Lucky Me

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