Ask Rachel

Ask Rachel

Dear Rachel,

A few times recently I’ve been out for a hike or bike and seen people with fistfuls of Indian paintbrush, wild daisies and even columbines. What’s the best way to explain to them that they can enjoy nature without taking it home?

– Sincerely, Slim pickings

Dear Nitpick,

I recently went on a hike during a family reunion. One of my sisters was feeling sick, so she didn’t join us. The rest of us gathered a bouquet of flowers for her. That kind gesture brought nature to her nose and a smile to her face, one last time before she died. (OK, my sister pulled through in the end. But as long as these petal-pluckers are also packing out their dogs’ chocolate bouquets, let’s call it a wash, shall we?)

– Your pistil-packin’ mama, Rachel

 

Dear Rachel,

What’s the deal with the recent onslaught of giant trucks toting full-sized confederate flags in town? Do they have nothing better to do than run laps on Main? I don’t go around with a flag that says “stop rednecks,” although maybe I should start. Any advice on how to control my anger next time they fly by?

– Seeing Stars and Bars

Dear Stars,

You can never stop a redneck from rednecking. But you can deflate a symbol’s original derogatory power by reappropriating it. So I suggest you identify the Confederate flag with everything that makes rednecks insecure about the length of their truckbeds. Rainbow-splatter the flag as a gay pride symbol. Replace the stars with the letters O-B-A-M-A-C-A-R-E. Last and greatest of all, repaint your entire fuel-efficient compact import like the General Lee. By the time you’re done, no self-loathing Southerner will risk association with you or your blasphemous symbolism.

– Deo Vindice, Rachel

 

Dear Rachel,

My father has announced he is coming for a visit and would like to stay with me in my house. That is all good and fine except for one thing. Over the years, he has given me various, shall we say, objects du shlock, which have found their way to the thrift store or trash bin. How do I explain the missing décor when he comes to visit? I know honesty is usually the best policy, but I don’t want to get cut from the will, either. Help me concoct a little white lie that will keep the family ties from fraying.

– Sincerely, Gift Horse

Howdy, neigh-bor,

To cover up a familial betrayal like this, you’d need a BIG white lie. And the problem with lies, big and small, is that they are hard to keep straight. I mean, sure, you could concoct a whole schtick about how you were held up at gunpoint for your money, but you didn’t have any money, so the mugger said “I’ll take all your shlock instead,” and you screamed “NO!” and he had to shoot you in the gut to get to your most prized possessions. But then you would … actually, I like my story. Tell him that.

– Here’s looking at you, Rachel

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