Mandan News

Brian L. Gray: The verdict is in – letters to the editor

The time has come once again for me to pry open the loads of mail that I receive here at the Mandan News and read the many questions my great readers have. Several people come to me with their queries, their qualms, their quirks, their quandaries, desperately looking for answers, convinced there’s something about me that assures them I have the wherewithal to supply them with that they seek. And regardless whether my common sense tells me that I should not infect people with my skewed point of view and instead keep my mouth shut, I simply cannot follow that impulse because I know in my years of learning that I do, in fact, have the insight and wisdom capable of providing assistance to others. I know this because I use words like “wherewithal.”

I must say that this is one of the chosen tasks handed to me in my position that I enjoy doing for my loyal subscribers. It’s the one duty here as an editor that gives me the most satisfaction and enjoyment. I am grateful knowing that people, most of whom I have never met personally, are able to set aside their fears and open themselves up to me and expose their fragile souls and raw vulnerabilities, revealing their often hilarious and ridiculous problems, and that I can do my part to help make people less stupid.

I apologize in advance to the people I didn’t respond to. Either I didn’t have the time to respond, ran out of space in this column, or – well, really, there’s no hope for you. Especially you, Iris. Seriously, who does things like that? No normal person, that’s for sure. Please do the world a favor and stay in your room until common sense shows up.

But for the others, I believe I’m able to help you. So without further adieu, here you go:

To “Looking for the Best Salad”: Making a good salad is like building a sports team. You can’t just have an all-star, you need a team to go with that all-star, and they must be the right ingredients that work together. Salad dressing is one of those critical ingredients. I used to go for lemon vinaigrette, but now I use a spice-based dressing instead. As they say, it’s better to be sage than soury.

To “Searching for the Meaning of Life”: Try again on Tuesday.

To “Not Ready for Parenthood”: Nobody is. Get over it. You can prepare all you want and all you’re going to learn is that you didn’t prepare enough. Just take it day-to-day, situation-to-situation, be led by love, and you’ll do fine. You’ll find caring for a living, breathing, growing life to be one of the most rewarding gifts you can experience. But I don’t know that for sure, as I live alone. I simply heard that during a Lifetime movie. So what do you think you’ll name your new pet lizard?

To “Cares Too Much”: You seriously need to stop smothering people. They hate that. Don’t make people hate your love. Try a little hate – people might love you more.

To “Want to Be a Broadcaster”: Good for you. The world needs good public speakers. People put their trust in those who speak with conviction, and have voices that command attention. People like Walter Cronkite. Every evening people looked forward to hearing his take on the news. Because he had a voice that was compelling to listen to. Or maybe people felt comfortable listening to him because he kind of sounded like the popular talking horse of that time, Mr. Ed. Maybe if you found an icon from today’s modern culture you’d be guaranteed success. My suggestion is if you made your voice sound like Elmo, you’ll have a good chance of being a popular broadcaster.

To “Don’t Have Many Facebook Friends”: Then turn off your computer, go outside and make some actual ones.

To “Hate My Sister”: You’ll eventually come to appreciate the family you’ve been given. So I highly recommend that you stop trying to stuff your sister into the microwave. Trust me, I know. I hated my siblings at one point too, but when you grow up you’ll see that one of them might become more successful than you and will be able to borrow you money when you need it. I may have been violent with my siblings as a kid too, but I was very considerate in my anger. For one, I’d only push my siblings UP the stairs. So cherish them, because siblings are much more valuable to you on the outside of a microwave.

To “Confused Teacher”: Here’s a tip I learned in college, and it still does me good – if someone ever asks you a confusing question, just talk until they finally nod their heads. You’ll get it right eventually.

To “Apartment Swarming with Flies”: Don’t do it. Let them live. Those flies might be the reborn spirit of one of your old family members, and maybe that’s why they’re buzzing around you all the time – because they miss you and are happy to be around you again. And you don’t want to be the person who killed your reincarnated relative, do you? I don’t think you want to live with that kind of guilt.

To “Too Bored to Function”: This world is an exciting place to be. You’re bored because you’re too caught up in yourself. Let yourself go and open up, and you’ll see that life’s an exciting thing to experience. I’ve learned that life can become more exciting and dramatic if you imagine that your day-to-day experiences are narrated by play-by-play announcers. You should get a hold of “Want to Be a Broadcaster.”

To “Got the Blues”: The nice thing about the blues is that you’re in the company of some incredible people. You’re now placed in a category with the likes of such greats as BB King, Sonny Boy Williamson, Buddy Guy, and Charlie Brown. Misery loves company. You can even get the blues to work for you, as you can make a lot of money playing it. But you need to know when too much is too much. Any blues singer who becomes a millionaire should stop singing the blues.

Okay, that’s all the help I’m able to hand out for now. My brain is drained and I need a nap. If you feel you might be in need of any assistance yourself and would like to call on me for help too, all you need to do is come and find me. I’d offer my contact information, but what’s the fun in that? No, that would be too easy. If you really need the help you’ll find a way to get a hold of me.

Except you, Iris. You stay where you are.