Dear Bad Guru |

Dear Bad Guru

Barry Smith

Dear Bad Guru,As far as I know, I have never been molested, abused, exploited or tormented. My parents are cool, I had a good childhood and now I have a job and family that I love. I am happy with my body weight, have great friends and look forward to the future with genuine excitement. Why am I such a freak?Signed,Hyper-normal in HelenaDear Hype,Genuine happiness distinct from the bubbly puton kind is a heavy burden to bear. You probably want to keep this condition to yourself as best as you can. Practice looking sullen in front of a mirror. Sigh heavily in the presence of others. Curse under your breath while in the bank teller line.Generally Bad Guru doesn’t like to advocate not “being yourself,” but in this case he thinks it will be preferable to crucifixion.Dear Bad Guru,I generally feel pretty good, but when I watch the news it depresses me. I’m torn, because I don’t like feeling bad, but I feel like knowing what’s going on in the world makes me a better person.Signed,Conflicted in ChicagoDear Conflicted,Think of the news as that guy at the party that no one likes to talk to the one who is just a total downer of bad news and conspiracy theories and always tries to corner you. Even though the things he says could be defined as “true,” what with his disease statistics and casualty numbers and graphic descriptions of people blowing each other up, that doesn’t mean that you want to listen to him. It’s a party, after all. If he’s by the dip, you’re gonna make sure you’re by the keg. If he’s talking loud, you’ll position yourself next to a stereo speaker. Who invited this guy, anyway? And why doesn’t anyone ask him to leave?Plenty of things are “true,” and the Downer Guy is just spouting one version of it. Listening to him doesn’t actually make you a “better person,” as many seem to think. It just makes your stomach hurt. How people got it in their minds that having a stomach ache makes them a “better person” is beyond Bad Guru.If you insist on watching the news, do so with the sound off. That way you’ll see it for what it is just another entertainment show. For a real treat, fire up your iPod while watching. You’ll notice, depending on how in tune you are, that occasionally your song and the newscaster’s lips line up perfectly. You’ll be a lot more entertained, and you’ll still be getting your requisite images of screaming idiots and people blowing each other up, so you needn’t feel too guilty.Dear Bad Guru,I don’t have the time or the energy to adhere to all Ten Commandments. Could you give me three or four that are REALLY important?Signed,Trying in TallahasseeDear Trying,Bad Guru does not follow Commandments, except the one that says, “Thou Shalt Ignore All Commandments,” which obviously didn’t make the cut for the final ten.Different things are appropriate at different times, like using the Lord’s name in vain, coveting, adultery and just totally blowing off the Sabbath. If you feel the need to guide your life by ancient dogma, Bad Guru recommends the Ten Suggestions, basically the Ten Commandments reworded to be a little less condescending and black and white.The Ten Suggestions read like this: “In general, it’s probably not a good idea to killbut use your own judgment,” and “I’d rather you didn’t have any other gods before me, but if things aren’t working out between us, then it’s cool, I’ll understand.”Some people are uncomfortable playing with the wording of the Ten Commandments, but Bad Guru has no problem mixing it up a bit, and neither should you. It’s not like they’re set in stone.Dear Bad Guru,Why are there so many jerks in the world?Signed,Perplexed in PhillyDear Perp,That’s the question I get asked most often. Although usually it’s in reference to you. VTContact Barry Smith at or visit his Web page at

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