Ask Rachel

Ask Rachel
Interesting fact: The Black Death in the 14th century reduced the world population from 475 million to 350 million or so. Breathe easy! There is zero chance coronavirus will reduce us to anything less than 500 million.
 
Dear Rachel,
I always read your advice column for a good laugh. Do you remember when the column was authored by various local “divers?” I had thought that a “diver” was a local dishwasher – diving into the soapy water to scrub pots and pans. But my friend informed me that a “diver” was simply a person who frequented local “dives.” No offense (don’t you love it when someone prefaces something totally offensive by saying “no offense?”) but these divers were really funny, and, well, your answers are, um, less so. Did you break your funny bone?
- Get Well Soon
 
Dear Condolences,
A “diver” is a “dishwasher,” so your “friend” is “wrong.” And so are you. This is a “serious” advice “column,” and any laughter that might occur as a result of its use is “incidental.” As you will see, this week’s mailbag is full of serious “questions,” to which I will provide “answers” as insightful as “possible” without being an actual “professional” in any serious or “relevant” field. No offense, but it’s really tough to take things “seriously” with so many “quotation marks.”
– End quote, Rachel
 
Dear Rachel,
I’ve about had it with my car insurance company. The local office seems friendly enough. But the corporate algorithms keep sending me excessive updates and warnings. Every time I call to follow up, the friendly local rep assures me they’ve taken care of the issue in the time between notices being sent and my receiving them. I’m now losing sleep worrying that the mound of ignored notices will bring corporate down on me. Any advice for protecting myself?
– Like a Paranoid Neighbor
 
Dear Boo Radley,
I never thought of it, but the whole “State Farm is there” jingle will now creep me out forever. Sing it in a breathy voice. Not the sexy one, the other one. Gah! But since this is a serious advice column, I advise you to apply all the coronavirus precautions to evading your insurance stalkers. Buy several weeks’ worth of groceries. Wash your hands repeatedly. Disappear into the Weminuche without telling anyone where you’ve gone. Dare the bastards to come find you there.
– In good hands, Rachel
 
Dear Rachel,
Are the Coronavirus fears overblown? Or is this really the end times? Seems like something different comes to kill us every year. One year it’s bird flu. Another it’s Mayan prophecies. So I’m feeling pretty immune to death. Of course, Europeans in the dark ages probably felt the same about the bubonic plague and look where that got them. Should I start filling the walls with canned food? Or can I continue licking door handles in public?
- Germbusters
 
Dear Immunowarrior,
Serious questions beg for serious answers. But I already addressed the coronavirus thing with the last letter. So I’ll take this opportunity to say, apropos of nothing, that humor is an entirely subjective artform and it’s impossible to please the masses while also remaining true to what little integrity I have left. But hey! Keep writing in complaints, because letters make my world go ’round.
– Who you gonna call, Rachel 

Top Shelf

Raised on radio
Raised on radio
By Chris Aaland
03/26/2020

Social distancing is driving many of us stir crazy, especially after last week’s big dump. Not only do we crave physical interaction with each other, but we’re also an active community.

The week the music died
The week the music died
By Chris Aaland
03/19/2020

For more than 12 years, I’ve written “Top Shelf” on a weekly basis as a column about the local music scene and nightlife. I also drift into sports, pop culture and political territory from time to time. And, on far too many occasions, I’ve paid homage to a family member or friend who has passed, like my son, brother, mother and festival friend. 

Bogguss' aces, Irish eyes and Salmon splash
Bogguss' aces, Irish eyes and Salmon splash
By Chris Aaland
03/12/2020

Perhaps the biggest and baddest Durango Celtic Festival to date runs tonight (Thurs., March 12) through Sunday, with events alternating between the Henry Strater Theatre and the Irish Embassy Pub. This year’s line up is one of the best in the festival’s history, with five internationally acclaimed artists. 

Sensible dance, world fusion and radio gaga
Sensible dance, world fusion and radio gaga
By Chris Aaland
03/05/2020

It’s Film Fest week here in D-Town, meaning the 15th annual Durango Independent Film Festival takes over many of the screens at the Animas City, Gaslight and Durango Stadium theatres for documentaries, features, shorts and more. Durangofilm.org is a great source for a full schedule, descriptions of films and more.

Read All in Top Shelf

Day in the Life

Turns for the worse
Turns for the worse
By Stephen Eginoire
03/19/2020

Skiing isn't as glamorous as folks make it out to be.

Sole man
Sole man
03/12/2020

At the age of 19, Durango’s Mervin “Merv” Stilson started making shoes and never looked back (except for the time he made a Western-style jacket for Neil Young).

Wonder wall
Wonder wall
By Stephen Eginoire
03/05/2020

Southeastern Utah has no shortage of natural wonders, and perhaps one of the most curious is the 80-mile-long sandstone monocline known as Comb Ridge. 

Salty dogs
The river wild
By Stephen Eginoire
02/27/2020

Jonesing for a river fix? Come along for the ride on  this desert classic

Read All in Day on the Life