Ask Alphonse

RESOLUTIONS

January 5th, 2014

Dear Alphonse,

Is it corny and cliché to make New Years resolutions? Do people actually ever follow through with these resolutions?
Sincerely,
UnResolvedResolute

Dear UnResolvedResolute,

If you want hard figures, it seems to be around 14% of folks who make resolutions actually keep them. (Don’t ask me to cite that source. It was my resolution last year to document sources but I never was able to follow through). Those numbers certainly aren’t in your favor, but the funny thing about statistics is, all it takes is one outlier, one change to throw the whole set. By all means, make yourself feel better, if only for one week. Is it corny and cliché? Yes. But so is your overly accurate use of an accented E in the word cliché, so clearly you aren’t terribly concerned about being corny.

All that said, don’t make promises you can’t keep. That’s a good rule of thumb for just about anything. Read back about my advice to playing Two Card Monte if you want a look into promises. The better question is why you need January 1st to mean anything to you, why not decide to make a change to your life on March 10th or August 6th? If you need a box on a newly bought kitten calendar to ignite change in you, and you are worried about other people’s ability to keep resolutions rather than your own, that should be your answer.

In short, not to be harsh, but don’t bother with resolutions. Just do what needs to be done, no matter what day or year it is.

Capeesh?
Alphonse

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TWO CARD MONTE

November 7th, 2013

Dear Alphonse,

I once worked for a retail establishment. After I’d been there a few months, my boss took me aside and said that if anyone, ANYONE, ever bothered me, just let them know. It would be taken care of. A few weeks after that, one of my coworkers let me know I was working for a ‘company front business’, if you know what I mean. My question is – was I wrong to not give them the name of that one person who really needed a pair of cement overshoes?
Sincerely,
HereThereBeSpiders

Dear HereThereBeSpiders,

This company, they offer a service, no? The friendly reminder your boss gave to you was a nudge in the direction of said services. Now, whether you take him up on that offer or not is solely up to you and your needs. The manner in which he shared said offer most certainly implied that if he were in your shoes (un-cemented, hopefully), he’d be taking up his own offer.

I liken it to a game of pick a hand or two-card monte. Suppose you agree to play and choose the left hand. But, under the left hand is a a guy he knows, some slimy sucker like the one-eyed Jack. Well now you got yourself in a jam and so does he. Now you have to play another round, but this time he picks. He might honor your win and cut ole’ one-eyed out of the deck. This, of course, is not pleasant. You got what you wanted but he’ll carry that loss around, forever asking you to play again because you owe him a chance to win his loss back. Now the other outcome is that he doesn’t like your choice of card, ole’ one-eye is a good buddy he used to play kickball with back in St. Vinnie De Leon’s middle school. Now that’s a bad one because he looks real bad for backing out on his word and you look bad for picking on his friend Jackie boy. I don’t have to say it twice, but the outcome in that one, she ain’t so good.

But then you might choose the right hand. The right hand is just “Deuce” McDiamonds. Ain’t nobody ever bet two wooden nickles on “Deuce”; he’ll hardly be missed. Now you might think you are in the clear. On the one hand, maybe he plays a clean game and once the deal is settled it’s settled and you win. But my guess is that he is going to want to break even so he’ll forever be telling you that you owe him another round.

Then there’s the fifth option of not playing, which you said you did. That one is without direct consequence, but you’ll forever wonder what is under those cards. Hey, just like gambling, I can’t tell you which hand to pick, but I can give you the odds. And by my math, assuming you play, 1 out of 4 gets you a favorable outcome. And that four is a big IF. Nothing is free; he’s gonna want to try to win back his loss. So you can get rid of ole’ Jackie Boy but one day he’s gonna ask you to play Monte again and that fifth option won’t be available anymore.

Capeesh?
Alphonse

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TRICK OR TREAT

October 25th, 2013

Dear Alphonse,

I love trick-or-treating during halloween but I have diabetes. What do I do?
Sincerely,
@CoconutJustice

Dear @CoconutJustice,

There is a pretty simple answer to this, so I’ll get right to it.

Drink Hooch.

Next time you are dressed up as a french maid or in a terrible rubber mask, knocking on doors, don’t ask for candy, ask for moonshine. Most certainly, many of them (if not all of them) will tell you they don’t have any or if they do, that they aren’t giving it out. Clearly, this is where trick comes into play. I don’t think I need to tell you what to do next.

So let me just be clear, to avoid diabetes on Halloween, or anytime for that matter, drink hooch.

Capeesh?
Alphonse

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TAXING THE SYSTEM

October 23rd, 2013

Dear Alphonse,

Alphonse, I forgot to file my taxes. What do I do?
Sincerely,
@CoconutJustice

Dear @CoconutJustice,

Are you bragging or is this a question? If you want the short answer it’s as easy as rephrasing your own question: Forget to file your taxes. But then, I can’t get away with only writing half a sentence response. So let me elaborate.

Some of the most famous criminals, corporate executives, bankers and politicians were finally brought down by their taxes, even after years of murder, bootlegging, kidnapping, extortion and drug trafficking. I’d separate their charges from their titles accordingly but then I’d be repeating myself. They were charged not for murder, manslaughter, assault, or battery but with tax fraud or tax evasion. When evidence and charges of violent crime fail, resort to the books, Batman! By all accounts you have committed the worst crime possible in the government’s eyes. You should be promoted, perhaps to head of a Wall Street firm. But watch out, my friend, the apocryphal men with guns are most certainly coming for you. You will be made as an example for your peers, an example of what happens when you don’t keep your revenue in offshore accounts and don’t continually report that despite your multimillion dollar share holder earnings, your business has no earnings to be taxed.

It appears, your income is far too normal. My advice to you is to either make far more money or figure out “a way” to make no money at all, because in those two cases, and those two cases alone does the statement “I forgot to pay my taxes” turn into “Forget taxes.” I’d like to close with something witty about there being only two guarantees in life but that would just be disingenuous. I’m no accountant, but I know how to draw a circle. You’d think tax forms would just arrive, pre-filled, with a bunch of zeros. That’s what goes in those spaces, right?

Capeesh?
Alphonse

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RATTED OUT

October 22nd, 2013

Dear Alphonse,

I have a rat problem. They live in my basement and break into the onions, grains and other goods I store there. I have tried sealing the food, setting traps, and I even brought a cat home but I still have rats. I feel like they are only multiplying and I don’t know what to do. What can I do to fix my rat problem?

Sincerely,
Ratted Out

Dear Ratted Out,

Rats are the worst. One rat finds your secret stash; he made his way in through an open window or a crack in the wall. Then he blabs your secret to his little rat friend. Then his little rat friend jaws off to his friends and before you know it you got a whole bunch of rats ratting you out. Traps are okay for one or two, but once one gets nabbed and the others witness it then you got a dirty job you need to cover up. Those other rat friends ain’t gonna go around that trapped area no more, and they sure ain’t gonna step on a trap for some peanut butter, especially when you got the goods just a step away. That cat is just a nasty mooch. He’s like Lenny, the extortionist. He takes your paycheck and eats your food but is really in cahoots with the guy you told him to strong-arm. He knows if he gets rid of them then he’s out of a job too, so instead of strong-arming like you bossed him to, he’s over there chumming and drinking with them, then brings back a twenty or two just make it seem like he’s doing the job.

The ways I see it, you got two options. Either hire a hitman, I mean an exterminator. He ain’t there to eat your food, he don’t know none of your family or friends and will just get in a get out. Especially if you got a whole mess of rats, this is the only way to go.

But the other option is to just keep a lid on your secrets you got stored in your basement. Don’t let no rats in, don’t let nobody see that, keep a lid on all that. Keep your goods in boxes, with locks preferably and at the first sign of snooping, move it, hide it, get rid of it. If you ain’t got nothing they want, they won’t come around.

Capeesh?
Alphonse