Friday, September 15, 2006


Welcome back to Ask John Eats™, the advice column featuring actual letters from actual John Eats readers. There seems to have been some confusion about this column amongst some of my 3 to 7 regular readers, so I just want to clarify a few things. First of all, I do not write these letters myself; as I always say in these introductions, these are actual letters I've received, and when the letters stop coming in, I'll have to stop writing this column -- so send me some letters! Secondly, I've received some letters that seem to be missing the point just a here's a little reminder: this is an advice column. I'm here to answer questions about problems you have in your own life. This column is not about me; it's about me helping you. If you want to ask me technical questions about how to use this web site, or questions about personal details about my past, you're barking up the wrong tree -- please try again with another, more personal question about your own life's problems. This column is my opportunity to give back to the John Eats community, not shamelessly ramble on about myself -- that's what the rest of the week's posts are for!

That being said, let's help out another desperate reader!

Dear JohnEats,

I generate a lot of static electricity throughout the day. In the office there's a specific computer that always turns on from sleep when I walk by (no one else has that effect on it), and I often get shocks from door knobs, file cabinets, etc. This is in the middle of summer, while wearing any sort of shoes or sandals. What causes this? Why doesn't anyone else in the office do this? Do I need to be concerned about my static electricity-generating powers?

- (Name Withheld To Protect Anonymity)

Dear Anonymous A,

Boy, this is a toughy. I have to say, science is not really my forté. And if I knew anyone who was good at science I'd ask them for advice on how to advise you. But I'm an artist who works at a library, which means I only know people who are bad at science. But this is also a delicate work-related situation, and if there's one thing I know about, it's how to handle awkward situations at the office.

Take, for example, a job I had back in 1994. I worked for a small family owned and operated gravestone manufacturing company, designing gravestones. Yes, that's right, I was a professional gravestone designer. And if any job exposes you to awkward situations, it's that one!

See, I was often forced to design gravestones with absolutely ridiculous design requests. Take, for example, the above gravestone, for the man who used to run a chain of "nature"-themed stores -- you know, before he died. And how '90s granola-ish can you get? Nature stores? God, I can practically smell the patchouli-stink wafting out of my laptop as I look at the scan of that thing. And his family wanted so much crap crammed onto that sucker...a rain forest, a squirrel, a parrot, a weiner dog, a butterfly and a guitar? Not to mention the guy ran an entire chain of stores and they wouldn't even pony up for a bigger headstone. Plus I had to save room for his wife on there! Jesus H. Christ! It was all I could do to not roll my eyes at his relatives as they sobbed and filled out their work order. I mean come on, really.

Or how about this little number? "Oh, he really loved his Harley," she sobbed as she wrote out her check, "but I just absolutely adore Elvis. Is there any way you can get those both on there, and maybe some rings and hearts to symbolize our undying love for each other?" Yeah, no problem, lady. Enjoy your last few years of Nascar, buffalo wings and line dancing!

But this final one really took the prize. And by final one, I actually mean that this was the last ever gravestone I designed. I mean, clowns are scary enough as it is -- when you combine them with a heart, two crucifixes and the birth and death dates of an eighty six and a half year-old woman, man you've got a design disaster on your hands. And fortunately for me, I was already working at a new job when the woman's relative requested two changes to my original design: the clown used to have proper Bozo the Clown hair and his hat had polka dots on it -- it echoed the shapes of the balloons! It was a brilliant use of repetition of form, a design choice used throughout history by great designers! He had three balloons, three buttons on his shirt, three polka dots on his hat, and ovals for both eyes and his nose! Good thing I was long gone so I didn't have to deal with talking to the client about it, I don't know what I would have said or done. What a moron. Whatever, it's not my relative, you know what I'm saying?


John Eats.

Do you have a question, no one else can help, and you can't find The A-Team? Mail your question to:


Please only send these questions via email. John Eats does not like to be asked questions in person or over the phone, that's during his "Me Time" and he doesn't want to be bothered.


Anonymous "a" said...

But what about my static?

12:37 PM  
Blogger Gene K. said...

Hey, "A" -

I suggest you cover yourself with balloons and rent yourself out for children's parties.

Jus' tryin' ta hep,

3:43 PM  

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