Welcome once again to “You’re Asking Me?” – a humorous advice column that is pretty much like any other advice column, except in terms of helpfulness.
Like all other advice columns, we try to answer your questions, but if you stump us, we say, “That’s beyond the scope of this article,” and we move on with our lives. That’s a nice way of saying, “We have no idea. There are people you can pay by the hour for this sort of thing.”
This week, we begin with a question sent in by every father ever.
I’m a father, and I’m eating pretty much the same foods I was eating as a teenager, but now all of a sudden I find myself gaining all kinds of weight. What’s happening to my body? And is it just me?
C.K., Far Rockaway
It’s definitely not just you. Why do you think I don’t use an actual picture of myself at the top of this column? Join the club.
Literally. There’s a club. Granted, it’s a health club, but you get to hang out with other people who are in the same shape as you (pear-shaped). The only downside is that most of the space is taken up by exercise equipment.
The truth is, you might think that you have basically the same habits you always did, but that’s probably not true. For example, now that you run your own household, you arrange your life primarily around making sure you have to get up as little as possible.
So you should probably eat a little healthier, to compensate, but eating healthy is a lot of work. With most unhealthy foods, part of what makes it unhealthy is the preservatives that allow you to buy a ton of it and then come back to the closet several months later and say, “Hey! We have cookies!” It’s a nice surprise. Of course, this never happens, because you usually eat them as soon as you get home. Who forgets they have cookies? But sometimes, I do forget that I have vegetables, because they’re all the way at the bottom of the fridge, in a drawer that is almost always stuck, and when I do find them, months later, it’s never like, “Hey! We have vegetables!” It’s more like, “Oh. We had… What was this?”
“The drawer says “vegetables.”
It’s a good thing it’s labeled. No one ever has to label their nosh closet(s).
Veggies go bad, so you have to keep buying new ones every week. Plus you have to wash them and peel them and cut them and check them for bugs. Cookies never have bugs.
So eating healthy is a lot of work, and if we wanted to do that much work, we’d exercise. But exercise also seems like a lot of needless work. You pick up a weight and then put it down in the same exact place you got it from. What are you accomplishing? If I ran a health club, I would make my members feel like they were accomplishing something. They’d come in the morning, and I’d say, “Okay, today we’re moving all these exercise machines into the other room.” And the next day, I’d say, “Okay, today we’re moving all the machines into the first room.” No one ever goes in two days in a row, especially when I’m constantly asking them to help me rearrange my furniture, so no one would be the wiser.
I want to shave my beard for Lag Ba’Omer, but my wife wants me to keep it. What should I do?
You think I’m going to get in the middle of this?
Actually, I am. Marriage is all about compromise. So I would say you should shave about half your beard, and then walk around like that for a while. Before long, she’ll be begging you to just shave the rest.
The truth is that beards come highly recommended by at least nine out of ten rabbis. Sure, if you’re not used to a beard, it can be very uncomfortable and scratchy. But they say that if you keep it long enough, it will start to grow on you. And beards do have their advantages. For example, you can stroke it while you think about stuff. Also, people with beards tend to look smarter. Probably because they spend more time thinking.
My guess, though, is that she’s doing this for your own good. In my experience, when your wife says you look good in a beard, that’s code for, “You’ve put on a few pounds.” Beards are slimming, because when you see a fat guy with a beard, you can pretend that he’s really skinny, and that half the width of his face is actually just layers and layers of beard. That’s why Santa has a beard. You didn’t realize he was fat, did you?
Also, it’s possible that she sees what’s happening to the hair on top of your head, and she figures that you should have some hair somewhere, so you don’t freeze to death.
Ultimately, though, it’s your decision, not hers. If you want to shave, but she likes the way your beard looks, there are a lot of fake beards you can buy in Purim Supply stores that you can wear for occasions where you’re going to be in pictures, such as weddings. Talk about scratchy.
With the amount of money I’m paying for tuition, I can barely pay my mortgage and bills and buy groceries and other basics. What should I do?
Mendy Hecht, Monsey
I’ll admit that I do not have what you’d call “a solid understanding of economics,” defined as “any understanding of economics.” People with a solid understanding of how finances work do not become writers. But it would seem that a decent idea would be for you to become homeless, chas v’shalom.
Think of the money you’d save! Half your expenses go into maintaining your house, and buying things to fill it, and replacing those things when your kid colors on them or uses them as a stepstool. In the old days, homelessness was a legitimate lifestyle choice. The Jews spent 40 years in the desert being homeless. They had money; they could have stayed in hotels.
Homelessness would solve everything. No home repairs, no laundry – you’d just wear the same thing every day. Plus the beard would come in handy, so that would make your wife happy. Occasionally you’d have some shopping cart maintenance issues, but you can always replace the cart. I think they’re like $75. Or free.
It happens to be that homelessness gets a pretty bad rap, because everyone always focuses on the negative, which is the lack of homes. But how often do we compliment someone by saying that he’s from the streets? Are homeless people not from the streets?
Also, if a lot of people would agree to be homeless, the price of homes would go down, and that would benefit those of us who are… Homeful? Homed? Homely? I don’t know.
Of course, there might be some downsides. It’s very easy for me to suggest this during the spring, I’ll admit it. So maybe we’ll revisit this question at a later date. Don’t do anything drastic until then. Because frankly, this question is beyond the scope of this article.
Have any questions for “You’re Asking Me?” Send them in. I have a drawer for that sort of thing. It’s marked, “vegetables.”Mordechai Schmutter
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