Friday, May 23, 2008

MUSCLED UP OR BOUND BY OBSESSION?

Dear Crabby:

What are your thoughts on professional bodybuilding? I only ask because I have a nephew who’s just turned 16 and is absolutely obsessed with the sport. His mother and I worry about the dark side of things – eg. steroids and so on. But my nephew wants a weight set for his birthday. Any advice you can offer would be appreciated.

Doris in Manatoba




Dear Doris with Dumbbells:

You’ve asked two very different separate questions; the first regarding what is laughingly consider ‘pro’ and ‘a sport’; the second – an inquiry about becoming physically fit. So, permit me to answer these polar opposite concerns in turn, with the disclaimer that I, of course, am not a physician.
First, pro-bodybuilding – whether it’s circa 1970s in the good ol’ Arnold Schwarzenegger days or today – has always been a relatively crude competition exclusively marketed and at the mercy of illegal drug abuse. Not that you can convince any pro-bodybuilder of it – especially when they’re peaking during their pre-competition phase.
No, some hulking 300lb. brute will have no shame in going before a television camera with biceps the size of most average men’s thighs and declare that he built such extraordinary girth through vitamin supplementation, healthy eating and sheer will power alone. To admit otherwise would force a competitor out of competition.
The hypocrisy within the ‘sport’ is that no one minds what you’re doing as long as you don’t talk about it. Ah me, such is the self-delusion that will believe any lie.

Yet, year after year we see a healthy sampling of these ‘unhealthy professionals’ succumb to a barrage of ailments, even death, while still in their late twenties and early thirties.

So, does every bodybuilder on steroids die early of a side effect?
No, just as not every chronic alcoholic will die of liver disease or a car wreck.
However, most juicing it up will experience some sort of unwanted physical negation.

For every physician who goes on record claiming steroid abuse provided the catalyst for these illnesses there are two or three others – usually funded by some pharmaceutical company exploiting young impressionable men as their guinea pigs – who will suggest that any illness, whatever it may be, was destined to happened to the individual in question with or without steroids filtered into the equation.

To be clear – steroids are an accelerant, nothing more.
They DO NOT actually build muscle!
You still have to pick up the weights and do that for yourself. What steroids do is alter the body’s natural chemistry in such a way so that its growth hormone (testosterone) levels are thrown entirely out of whack.

The surge of false energy that follows convinces the mind that the body is stronger than it actually is and, as a result, a man on steroids can lift more weight, harder and for longer periods of time, so that the body is thrown into overdrive 24/7.
With that much physical abuse, the body is forced into a growth spurt cycle that never ends. An average man can pack on twenty to forty pounds of lean mass in just under a month. Doubling doses and ‘cycling’ doses – from one drug to the next – can maximize the intake period of these drugs into a perpetual assault of oral and needle injected drug abuse that never allows the body to fully recover.

There are all sorts of different steroids.
Not all of them do the same thing.
Some help build mass – which, at some level involves water retention - while others support a ‘cutting phase’ where the body becomes excessively dehydrated, giving the illusion that the muscles are larger and tighter than they are since all of the liquid between them and the surface skin has been urinated or sweated from the body.

The problem with steroids is that they accelerate not only the external appearance of the body but also its internal workings. Heart rate and blood pressure rise and the aging processes go into overdrive, wearing out such vital organs as the heart, liver, lungs and kidneys.
Worse, steroids often force the body’s natural production of testosterone into remission – which means that once you get off these drugs you don’t simply atrophy (shrink) to the size you were before you started your cycle, but you reduce to a level of functioning that is less than what your former self was capable of.

I understand perfectly why your nephew is ‘obsessed’ with the sport in general and bodybuilders in particular.
Outwardly, most of today’s bodybuilders have adopted the freakish physical appearance of comic book super heroes like the Incredible Hulk. That’s a powerful and intoxicating image to aspire to; the envy of other men and the ideal for many women.
After all, when you’re a boy and you desperately want to be a man, why be average when super human is so much more appealing?

And anyway, artists of humanity have always had a curious predilection for extolling the virtues of an overtly muscular male form: Michelangelo’s statue of David (right) and his painting of the very chiseled hand of God touching a rock solid naked man’s (below) being but two prime examples.

You would do wise to point out to your nephew – or, more ideally have some male figure illustrate the point for you – that the irony of bodybuilding on steroids is that it makes you look as though you could uproot an entire tree and carry it over one shoulder like a match stick, but in actuality these drugs have weakened virtually all normal functions within the body – including physical strength. Bodybuilders on steroids are frequently prone to bouts of lethargy, physical exhaustion and mental blackouts and these symptoms only increase as the drug abuse wears on.
What I find quite serious and rather disturbing about young boys who want to become professional bodybuilders today is how warped their perspective on self body image actually is. This rarely gets discussed, but boys who desire that extreme bizarre shape of a pro bodybuilder for themselves are, at least in my opinion, suffering from a similar malaise that afflicts teen girls who never seem to get thin enough to suit their own diluted image of physical perfection a la the super model/anorexia syndrome.

For these boys, an average or even slightly above average male physique doesn’t appear normal.
It isn’t enough to have a washboard stomach.
The abdominals must be protruding from the midsection like a six pack of hearty English muffins tightly packed in a breakfast tin.
Biceps are not big enough unless every vein is thick and popping around a mass of flesh the size of a football.
The chest must be so bulbous that its nipples are pointing downward from the swollen muscle.
Thighs must be so broad that it is physically impossible to put one’s legs together with both calve muscles touching.

And even if this disproportionate physique is attained, the goal of being bigger than big is never quite reached to their full satisfaction of the bodybuilder. As time wears on, setbacks of either illness or injury lead to inevitable pauses in their regular workout regime with a reduction in their girth that these boys find appalling – even depressing.

There are too many reasons to list herein as to why super huge is a bad idea. Suffice it to state for the record that personal mobility, finding clothes that actually fit and frequent outbreaks of surface acne fall to the bottom of this list of negatives when one is facing drug induced leukemia or a malignant brain tumor.

Finally, steroids – though readily available in every venue from the high school gym to the local health club – are against the law.
Possession as well is selling can net some hefty jail time. And anyway – since we all know it is virtually impossible to have a twenty inch waste and sixty-two inch chest at the same time without artificial help is there really any point in being proud of any achievement that is not entirely yours to take credit for?

There - so much for the first part of your question. As per part two, my advice is quite simple and infinitely shorter to digest: buy your nephew his weight set.
WHAT?!?
Why not?
There’s nothing wrong with getting into peak physical condition the old-fashioned way; through hard work, eating properly and exercising regularly. Resistance training with weights will give your nephew a different body than the one he has now and one he can look in the mirror at without feeling guilty.

Bottom line:
you can’t fast track your way to a better body!
Slow and steady wins the race every time. If your nephew doubts this old adage, tell him that it took sixteen years – from birth to 16 – to properly develop him into his current physical condition.

Yours truly
The Crabby Critic
@The Crabby Critic 2008 (all rights reserved).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ONE FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS?!?

Dear Crabby:

Okay. I’m just wondering if you heard the latest absurd sound byte from Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama where he said we – the American people - can’t expect to drive our SUVs, eat all we want or cool our houses to 72 degrees?

Is he serious? I thought the guy was a joke for sitting in the front pew of Rev. Wright’s America-hating church for so many years, but this latest blurb has me livid.

I can’t say I’m much of a supporter for the other two incumbents either. There, I feel much better now.

Denise in Michigan



Dear Livid in Your Living Room:

I think it just proves that the once misperceived Teflon-coating of Barack Obama as the patron saint of ‘hope’ and pied piper of ‘change’ - ‘the magic negro’ (as, so coined by Rev. Al Sharpton) has finally begun to tarnish. I suppose it is better that the American people learn what the ‘great man’ is thinking now instead of later.

How serious Barack is about having everyone sweat-soaked, emaciated and riding tricycles about town remains to be seen.

With all his money and power, you just know whatever levies he’s thinking to impose on Americans will be most impacting on the middle and poor classes; the two biggest percentages of the population currently fueling the American economy.

Oh well, perhaps like John Edwards – it’ll be the other of the ‘two Americas’ that gets it in the neck. Either way, how Presidential is that, I ask you?

My greater concern with regards to Barack Obama is his overall inability to handle public criticism – except with all the sulking snide self-pity of a third grader who has just flunked his first math test. Do you realize that Obama went live on Good Morning America to forewarn the press that they should lay off commenting about his wife Michelle...

…“or else”?

Or else what?!?

How dare he even attempt to throttle – much less threaten – the free press?

At first it was just his ears that we couldn’t talk about. Then it was his middle name ‘Hussein.’ Then it was his grandma and later, his pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. And wasn’t it Obama who, when recently asked by polite Channel 7 Action News reporter, Peggy Agar to make a comment, replied with words to the effect of -

“Hold on, sweetie!!!”

Oh, now there’s a progressive attitude toward women in the work force!

I have news for Barack Obama; any spouse who is publicly campaigning for their hubby or wife to be the next commander and chief is FAIR GAME for open critique and/or criticism from the press – especially when that spouse comes up with such idiotic prose in her own campaign rallying as -

“for the first time in my adult life I’m proud of my country.”

A great American naturalist once wrote, “My country, right or wrong…” to express what true patriotism means.

Apparently, this quote never made it into the Obama house nor did it find its way into one of Rev. Wright’s hell fire and ‘serves you right’ sermons - of which many were undoubtedly taken to heart by Barack and Michelle.

The more we all learn about Obama and the little woman before the pending November elections the better off voters will be to make a more educated decision about the sort of leader they can expect next in the White House. In that sense, Obama’s campaign has been far more transparent than either of his opponents.

He’s just inexperienced enough to keep putting his feet in his mouth – sometimes two at a time.

And even when he runs out of toes, Michelle’s on tap to loan him a few of her own.

With regards to the other incumbents still in the race, John McCain is an unknown quantity – though clearly more left of center than the Republican Party would like. There’s no precedence to accurately set the tone for his political administration so, tragically, we have to take him at his word – always a frightening prospect.


Hillary?

Well, I suppose I could run the old Dr. Phil cliché of ‘…the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior’ to do a snap analysis of a future Clinton White House.

In the past, the Clintons ran one of the most disreputable, backstabbing and cold-hearted political dog and pony shows of the last 100 years.

Oh, ho – you might say…that was Billy’s bureaucracy. He’s the one who took his lumps from Monica in private and for her in the press; the one who pardoned known terrorists as his last act of benevolence while President; the sly politico that bombed the former Yugoslavia into oblivion coincidentally to defuse his own impeachment hearings off the front page of the New York Times; the man who absconded with some personal gifts and White House China as his parting gifts; the complicit fellow who passively allowed members of his close cabinet to sabotage White House computer records that made the initial assimilation of Bush II into the Oval Office as awkward as possible.

Yes, you could say all of that...
...and it would be true!

Maybe so. But to anyone who thinks Hil’ was just a happy-go-lucky virginal little princess, dulcet and intoxicating, doing needle-point in the next room with her prayer book close at hand while Bill ran 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue like a brothel, I have just two words for reconsideration

Vince Foster!

I think that gives us all a special glimpse into how a Clinton White House: Part II – The Revenge would be play itself out.

So, who's 'ready on day one'?
As far as this commentator is concerned - no one! How sad!

Yours truly,
The Crabby Critic

Monday, May 19, 2008

THE ART OF KEEPING EVERYTHING IN BALANCE

Dear Crabby:

I just realized that my seventeen year old daughter has a sizeable tattoo of a dove on her back, just above her tail bone. The only reason I saw it was that I just happened to be in the laundry room where she was hunched into the dryer to get some of her clothes. She had low rise jeans (at least I think that’s what they are) and a short top that separated as she bent into the dryer.

Anyway, I’m shocked that she didn’t tell her father or me about it. I didn’t say anything to my daughter about the tattoo, just pretended like it wasn’t there or that I didn’t see it. My concern now is if she won’t talk to me about a tattoo what else is she keeping secret?

Debbie, Sevier Arkansas



Dear Worried About Nothing':

What else, indeed?

Now, before you dive off the deep end of parental paranoia and start envisioning drug induced ménage a trois with your daughter as the fluff and tango girl, let’s bring this ‘discovery’ down to size.

It’s just a tattoo – and of a dove, of all things! If your daughter had come to you and said, “Hey, I’m getting a tattoo,” would you have said, “You go, girl” and “let me drop you at the parlor” or would you have been one of these irate straight-laced prigs who equates a tattoo with hitting bongs and riding gunshot on a Harley Davidson with some three hundred pound hog named ‘Biff’?


Much as I hate tattoos for myself – but can appreciate them on somebody else - I cannot argue with the fact that a goodly percentage of the population enjoys adding ‘body art’ to their frames.

Aside: My predilection for a tattoo-free zone on my carcass stems from an innate and general fear of needles, as well as from the realization that if I live long enough I’m going to be the goofy looking old saggy guy with a skull and crossbones wrinkled up on that giggly lump that used to be a bicep. Remember, what looks sexy at 20 rarely gives off the same vibe at 85!

Breathe easier, Deb’.

I don’t think a dove on your daughter’s backside means she’s going to start turning tricks for the legislature anytime soon in a free-lovin’ retro-hippie sort of way.

Although, in Bill Clinton’s state anything’s possible.

Now, if you’re curious as to whom other than you, will be able to see that tattoo in such an obscure location – then, perhaps that’s a conversation you and your daughter ought to have about boys, sex and such. Arguably, any tattoo near one’s butt crack hasn’t been put there for the pleasure of the person wearing it.

Yours truly,
The Crabby Critic





Dear Mr. Crabby:

My mom and dad are getting divorced I think. I mean they’ve been arguing for a couple of weeks about some woman my dad took to a restaurant last week that my mom says she didn’t know about but found out because my Aunt Sylvia was there and saw them. I don’t know much more because when things start getting spacey my mom tells me to go to my room. But they shout a lot at each other and my dad usually slams the door and goes out for a long time. I’m scared. What should I do?

Stacey in Alamosa, Colorado


Dear Tender Lonely Heart:

How I wish there were times when I could wipe out all adult stupidity some people subject their children to. From what you’ve told me, Stacey, I think it’s safe to assume that your father and the woman he took to the restaurant are more than just friends.

What can I say?

Just because some people are fully grown on the outside doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily mature enough to handle adult responsibilities.

There are a few things I’d like you to know.

First, you’re not to blame for anything that’s happening between your mom or dad. They both love you just as much as they did before all of this unhappiness.

So, you shouldn’t feel guilty – as though you think you might have done something wrong, or could have fixed things by changing something you did in the past. This situation – whatever it may be – has absolutely nothing to do with you.

Second, although it may seem as though one or both of your parents might be the ‘bad guy’ in what’s going on, I want you to keep an open mind. You’re young and, as strange as this may seem, one or both of your parents might start to rely on you for support. That’s okay.

However, you have every right and expectation not to be used as a go-between your mother and father. If one or the other or both starts telling you stuff – bad stuff, I mean – in the hopes that you’ll like one parent more than the other, you should just tell that parent that “I really don’t need to know this,” and then quietly walk away. I’m not suggesting that either your mom or dad is bad people. However, in getting back at one another, parents often forget that they hurt the one person who is a part of them both.

That’s you!

Third, I want you to find the very best friend or family member that you can trust. You know; someone who really thinks your good people and loves you just as much as you love yourself – which is a lot, right?

You have to be comfortable enough with this person to tell them everything that’s going on at home with the understanding that they won’t turn around and tell everyone else your story. Only tell this one person what you know and what you’re feeling. Then I want you to stay close to this person and rely on them when things get too crazy for you at home.

You’re going to be alright, Stacey.

I know it doesn’t seem so just now, but you’re going to have to take my word for it. Life will get better and so will you. Remember to smile, keep positive and always think the best of yourself. Confidence will see you through. And, if you ever need someone to talk too and no one else is around, at least you know you can write to me here and I’ll listen with an open mind and an understanding heart.

Thinking of you even as you read this with good thoughts and prayers.

Yours truly,
The Crabby Critic




Hey, Crabby:

I’m seeing an ex of one of my friends. We started seeing each other two years after she and my friend broke up. Before I started going out with her I ran it by my friend who told me that he didn’t care at the time.

Only now when I hang out with him he treats me differently – not bad, but somehow as though I’m not quite his friend anymore. I know I’m not imagining this. It’s real. Any advice on how to get things back to where they were before?

Lester in Toronto, Canada




Dear Les’ is More:

You’re going to have to make a choice – your buddy or his ex-girl. Pick one and move on.

See, this is why I don’t encourage men or women to date their friends of friends who were once intimate partners with one another. It never works out in the end. Emotional baggage always gets in the way.

You did everything right.

You didn’t steal this babe from your bro and you gave his separation from her a reasonable cooling off period before you decided to take his playmate for a test drive.

Even though your best bud said he didn’t care about you horning in on his ex, clearly, he did and does! In his eyes you’re now the guy who’s getting his tune up at the fill station that only used to service one car under the hood. My advice to you would be to see less of him and more of his ex – that is, if you’re serious about her.

If he’s a real man, he’ll eventually come around, realize that his own happiness was never tied to hers, and, eventually respect the fact that even though it didn’t work out for them it’s managed to do wonders for someone he knows. Just be prepared; he might also be the petty sulking jealous type who decides he never wants to talk to either of you ever again. It happens.

All’s fair in love and war – except when it’s revolution!

Yours truly,
The Crabby Critic





Dear Crabby:

I’d like to divorce my husband and make a play for his brother. Let’s get something straight. My husband’s brother doesn’t know I’m alive. He’s married with two kids. My husband doesn’t know I like his brother. I don’t think he realizes much. He thinks just because he’s happy everyone else is. Well, I’m not. I haven’t been for some time. I don’t know when my life became such a drag but there it is. I’m not happy. What should I do?

Stevie in Hillsborough New Hampshire



Dear Miss-Guided:

You’re under the self delusion that your life will become the Garden of Eden, full of eternal hearts and flowers if you ditch your hubby and shack up with his married brother. Oh, wake up and take another bite out of the apple, dear. Not only will you be responsible for ruining your own marriage but you’ll also be that notorious ‘other woman’ who home-wrecked a happy life for two innocent kiddies.

Would you really be happy playing the part of the backstabbing bitch?

I don’t know anyone who would.

First of all, you haven’t given me any real quantification for your unhappiness. Your husband, although not as attentive as you might like, isn’t really out to make you miserable. If he were, you would have said as much in your email. So, let’s get down to basics. You’ve convinced yourself you’re unhappy when all you probably are is bored.

You’ve equated your own happiness to someone ‘making’ it for you. While we’re on the subject, let’s ditch the term ‘happiness’ because it’s utterly misleading. Happiness implies that you’re smiling 24/7 and floating on some love struck ether.

Let’s try being content instead of happy. It’s a much more level headed approach to finding true peace in this world.

Often in relationships it happens that when the bloom of initial excitement gives way to real time daily challenges either the husband or the wife begin to contemplate the life choices they’ve made. That isn’t to say either has made the wrong choice. However, once the mind has made itself up to find the flaws instead of the bright spots these imperfections tend to start popping out everywhere and gradually, to obliterate all that was good and worthwhile in the relationship.

You need to get back to that place where everything was good and worthwhile.

If you’re husband’s still contented with you, chances are he has good reason to be. This means you haven’t started playing the ‘bitch’ just yet – at least, not in his eyes.

To misquote Martha Stewart – “This is a good thing!”

Since you didn’t mention that you’re husband’s a nine hundred pound slob who doesn’t bathe regularly, slaps you around and farts on cue while his brother is a paragon of virile masculinity leads me to believe that your fleeting infatuation with your husband’s brother isn’t about trading up for a newer and more attractive model. You just see your life with your husband’s brother as different.

No kidding!

It would have to be. No relationship on earth is a duplicate of any other. And for a while, you would find excitement in the newness of that relationship – even under the most heart-wrenching of circumstances. You’d revel in his brother’s idiosyncrasies and think he was just the most incredible human being you’d ever known.

You might even find it in yourself to relish the role of weekend step-mama. Eventually, however, you’d awaken to the realization that you were once again ‘unhappy’ ergo ‘bored’ with your life, only now you’d have to start looking outside the family gene pool for the next diversion.

Bottom line, Stevie – the discontentment you currently feel isn’t with your husband; it’s within you and that inner boredom will follow you wherever you roam and with whomever you decide to take the journey.

My advice: go outside and pluck some dandelions.

Roses are for the idyllic romance. But dandelions are a reminder that no relationship is an Eden without a few weeds.

Yours truly,
The Crabby Critic


Dear Crabby:

I don’t think I’ll ever get married. I’d like to but it doesn’t seem to be happening. I’ve gone through it in my head a million times. I’m 35, reasonably attractive and quite successful but I don’t seem to attract the sort of women I’d like to settle down with. All of my guy friends are married except for one who is engaged. I’m going to be his best man at the wedding this Fall. Anyway, I feel like there’s something wrong with me. Is there?

Bruce in Houma Louisiana

Dear Forgotten Man:

As one single gent to another I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you. Frankly, I don’t think you think there’s anything wrong with you either.

More than likely you’ve been getting the “So, when are you going to get married?” pressure cooker treatment from friends and family who just assume from their own limited experience that marriage is the natural next step for you.

Perhaps it is, but I doubt it. You say you want to marry but something’s been holding you back. I don’t believe that. I don’t think you do either. Anyone can find a mate. It’s simple and if you’re smart, fun to be with, reasonably attractive and financial sound you’ve probably had your pick of woman who desperately wants to be the one on your arm.

That none of these gals have made a successful impression on you thus far means you’ve been discerning in your options. I salute that. After all, there’s a distinct difference between settling down and just settling!

I used to get asked this same annoying question all the time. “Why aren’t you married?” When it first started to happen my replies were tart, as in “None of your business” or “When you get divorced, I’ll get married.”

Evidently, I misperceived the question as prying and thought I’d fix all that probing by clobbering the asker with a what for and what not. Now, I realize that some people – under the rubric of ‘misery loves company’ - will always be fascinated by those of us who refuse to take the plunge.

Don’t take it to heart, Bruce.

Some people were born to marry and others weren’t. I’d rather be a single contented man than someone who popped the question to a girl I sort of liked just because my years on this planet had gained momentum onto middle age.

Remember that life’s too short, but with the wrong person at your side it can be an eternity - and not one by Calvin Klein!

Yours truly,
The Crabby Critic






Dear Crabby:


Sex just isn’t any fun anymore. Let me explain. I married my high school sweetheart when the two of us were finishing college. The next year I had our first son. We have two boys and one girl. Our oldest is getting ready to go to college. Lately, I find I just don’t want to have sex with my husband. I’m still crazy about the guy and cherish our times spent together – we do practically everything as one – but intimacy just doesn’t seem to be on my ‘to do’ list these days. Am I weird or what?

Francis, Janesville Wisconsin




Dear Stalemate:

No. You’re not weird.

Things change. I used to make the Band-Aid comment – with regards to young couples making bad romantic choices – that, it was a genuine pity genitalia matured faster than intellect. I am now willing to concede – at least in some cases - that hormonal spark is absolutely necessary to launch most people into connubial orbit so that life as we know it can grow and move on.

Besides, in your case you didn’t make a bad choice. You made a life one! If your husband is running a parallel course with your decision there’s no reason why you two won’t be happy in the future. The fact that you didn’t mention him as the kind who’s pressuring for more than you’re willing to give leads me to think the two of you are exactly where you should be – in each others hearts – even if things have become sporadic in each other’s arms.

You’ve entered a new phase in your relationship and it doesn’t place so much emphasis on sexual intimacy. That’s inevitable in most partnerships. But you’ve realized a fundamental more important than shared bodily fluids; shared mindset, likened goals and personal interests outside the bedroom. That makes you and your husband ‘genuine soul mates.’ Congrats’, Fran’. You’re one in a million!

Yours truly,
The Crabby Critic


Dear Crabby:

I don’t think you’re crabby at all. In fact, I think you’ve gone soft in the head. I used to like it when you slammed people for their behavior but lately all I get is some candy ass feel good from your column. What gives? Where’s the old ‘hell fire’ kind’a guy I used to look up to?

Dave in Doaktown New Brunswick



Dear Boondocks Fluff-Muffin:

First of all, I think it should be pointed out that I have never ‘slammed people for their behavior’ – only for behavior that, in my not so humble opinion I felt was unbecoming of the human animal at its most enlightened;

ergo – ‘bad’ behavior!

While it’s probably true that I’ve mellowed somewhat since I first started this column I have to say that listening in on other people’s problems has provided me with a new perspective on people in general. So permit me to enlighten you on the prospects of your fellow man and/or woman…at least, as I’ve come to see them.

People are just people. To be certain, there are psychopathic individuals among us – people who derive great strength and pleasure from other people’s pain, misfortune, suffering and mistakes. I suspect you’ve guess by now that I’m not one of these.

And, although I’ve no hard data to back up this claim, I suspect that most people who are currently suffering – either by their own hand or at someone else’s – are not psychopathic, but just generally very unhappy individuals. To those who fall into this latter category and who write in to this column I reserve the right to listen with an open mind and unbiased heart. After all, I’ve no personal stake in what happens to my readership.

Sure, I still come across the arrogant twitter-head or numb nut who thinks nothing of simultaneously impregnating three women with his demon seed, then wonders why I want to bash him in his badoobies with a baseball bat or recommend chemical castration.

However, such morons are few and far between. Most of the people who write to me are just looking for sincere advice. I’m not entirely certain why they’ve chosen me. Perhaps I’ll never understand it. However, if the question is legitimate I don’t see why my response to it should be anything but!

You’ve decided that I should hate the world or at least the people who write to me. That my desire in operating this column is as a sort of psychopathic figure who shouldn’t seek to diffuse the problem but amplify it – even blow it out of proportion so that others such as yourself can read on and laugh at someone’s expense.

Sorry, can’t do it!

How sad is it that you would prefer a critic who would urinate all over someone else’s misfortunes rather than try to provide them with a blueprint that might help fix their problems? Perhaps you should start your own blog…something petty along the lines of ‘if you haven’t anything nice to say, come sit next to me.’

Or simply continue to read me herein and feel as though I’ve let you down. Either way, you’ll never convince me that selfish arrogance and miserly condemnation are the great pacifiers to human suffrage.

Yours truly
The Crabby Critic

@The Crabby Critic 2008 (all rights reserved).