Q & A

I’m thinking about changing this blog into one of those life advice type blogs. You know, I’ll tackle life issues, give out recipes for how to deal with problems, how to turn it all around. People just naturally feel comfortable with me, somehow free to open up, about life, about problems. And I’m not just talking about close friends and family. It’s like complete strangers also. I’ll be buying some toothpaste at the drugstore and it’ll be my turn in line, and I’ll say to the cashier, “How’s it going?” not like a real question, just, you know, like as a formality, just as a way of saying hi. Most people, if they respond at all to most other people, they’ll just say like, “Fine,” or “Hey.” But I’ll say “How’s it going,” and the cashier will let out a big sigh. “Well …” and I’m just like, here we go. But I’m generally receptive to it all.

I think I’ll start off the first few posts like a Q&A format. I’ll post questions, you know, questions about problems, about life, and then I’ll answer them. Like this:

Q: Where are you going to get all of these questions from?

A: Excellent question. At first I’ll probably just have to make them up myself. Just to get the ball rolling. People might not be comfortable being the first person to volunteer a question. It’s tough, I know. Much easier to be third or fourth, or even easier to be like twenty-seventh. I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying, Rob, you’ve got it so together. You’ve got it all figured out.

Q: How are your questions going to be convincing enough to trick readers into thinking that you’re dealing with an actual problem?

A: Another great question. Look, I’m a writer. I’m just being creative. I’ll just make up some problems. If anything, it will make this whole thing even more convincing, because what are the chances that I’m going to throw myself a total curveball of a question? Can you imagine that? If by putting myself in the head of somebody with real problems, somebody who decided to ask me for some real life advice, that I came up with a question so loaded, that I wound up just totally stumped? Is it even possible to stump oneself? I’m pretty sure it’s not.

The plan is, after I get it started, people will be so impressed with my wisdom and my advice that they’ll naturally start sending in their own questions. This will be great because they’ll be doing a lot of my work for me, coming up with stuff for me to write about. Like a lot of the time I’ll sit down to write something and I can’t think of anything. Or sometimes I’ll think of something, something that at first might seem like it will have enough substance to make up an entire blog post. And I’ll just start writing it. Like this one, this blog post that you’re reading right now. I had this idea when I got up this morning to write about writing a life advice blog. But now here I am, three paragraphs in and I’m already questioning whether or not I’ve made a huge mistake. But it’s too late. I’m already like five hundred words deep. I don’t quit at five hundred. Three hundred, yeah, I’ll feel free to toss that in the trash. Not a real trashcan, though, and not really tossing. I’m using a computer, so I can just hit delete.

But now I’m re-rethinking it and I’m starting to think that maybe it is a good idea. It would be nice to just open my inbox and see all of these people desperately asking me for advice and then I’d be able to pick and choose a topic. And I’ll write and give generic enough help and then I’ll get all the credit of being a great writer, a great thinker, a great person. And I’ll grow a mustache and I’ll go bald on top and I’ll start a talk show years from now called Dr. Phil: The Next Generation.

But that would only work if the real Dr. Phil were still on the air. He would be totally caught off guard, completely unable to respond to my stealing the very nature of his on-air persona. He’d probably try to sue but I would just ignore all of the subpoenas. Then I would casually drop the Next Generation part out of my title and I’d start calling my show just Dr. Phil. And now the real Dr. Phil would get super pissed off. I’d go on my show and claim that I’ve been the real Dr. Phil all along, and that the original Dr. Phil is a total an imposter.

The only way to settle it, I’ll say, is for one of us to appear as a guest on the other’s show. And I’ll make a gesture, to be the bigger person, to be the bigger Dr. Phil, that I’ll be the guest on his show. But right as I get introduced to come out on stage, I’ll immediately head right towards Dr. Phil and I’ll push him out of his chair. I’ll rip the microphone off of his jacket lapel and I’ll attach it to my jacket’s lapel. And then I’ll say, “I’m the real Dr. Phil! And this is my show!” Dr. Phil probably won’t take it lying down, and we might get in a little scuffle, but I’ll win, because I’m much younger and stronger. I’ll put him in a sleeper hold until he cries uncle. But it won’t be enough. He’ll scream, “Never! Let go!” And I’ll scream, “Not until you admit that I’m the real Dr. Phil!” And he’ll resist for a little bit, but the blood will be accumulating in his head and he’ll fold under the pain and pressure. “Fine! You’re the real Dr. Phil!”

Everyone will applaud wildly. But, like I said, I’m the bigger person, so I’ll give him a shot to be a co-host on my show. We could call it Dr. Phils. Or, Drs. Phil? I’m not sure. We’re going to have to consult with a marketing firm, have some focus groups react to both names, to see which one garners more of a connection with an actual audience. It’s going to be so lucrative. I’m going to be so successful. Look at that, I just gave myself some life advice in my very first Q&A column. I can’t help it. I told you, I’m a natural. Keep those questions coming people.

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