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From around the country.

by Dear Jon
December 16, 2003

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Sort 246_Dear Jon-From Around the Country ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

I am a young man and in public restrooms, the less and less private the urinals are, the more and more I tend to "freeze" if there is another man near me. And especially if it's crowded and there's a line of guys waiting for me to finish.

I know I can always just wait for the toilet, which is private, but that seems environmentally irresponsible. Are there mental tricks or cures for this phobia?

- Roger in Cleveland

Dear Roger,

There are still places that have a single urinal designed as a long, open drain. This is where men stand, shoulder to shoulder with no dividers. The first time I saw one of these I completely freaked out, resolving never to walk into a Men’s Room again. Of course, I had to get over that reaction. Anyway, I had hoped by the 21st century that such backwardness would have disappeared, but at least in Chicago, these long drain urinals are still used. You can find them in sports stadiums, and a certain establishment I frequent from time to time because it has a hundred televisions broadcasting every NFL game via satellite.

A healthy, normal response would be to ignore the first inkling about tinkling, the “it would be a good idea to pee” rationalism. This is because you are responding to some pressure in the bladder, but you expect to be able to coax it along psychologically, like you do when you are at home and you decide to pee one last time before leaving the house. The problem with this strategy is that the public does not want to wait for you to coax anything along, so you get psyched out.

Therefore, ignore the first inkling, and wait until the pressure builds. Usually a lot of coffee in a cold place can really help the process. As you know, being a guy, there comes a time when you just don’t care anymore if you’re whiz is covered on national television, the body just HAS to go. When I get to that point, and my choice is a free toilet stall or a long drain urinal, I head to the toilet stall. Environmental irresponsibility is lining up ten guys side by side and asking them all to pee in the same bowl. Get your spray away from me, man.

Confidential to San Francisco Sam: Thanks for the fan mail, but I don’t have any eight-and-a-half by eleven autographed glossies of myself. Sorry.


Dear Jon,

I recently upgraded my computer and my Internet speed. I've been getting a lot more of those dreaded pop-up ads. But it seems like almost half of them are ads to stop pop-up ads. But if I hate companies that resort to pop-up ads, how can I respect an anti-pop-up company that advertises using pop-ups? Should I trust them?

Craig in Detroit

Dear Craig,

Trust them as much as anything else you find on the internet.


Dear Jon,

I am a HUGE Green Bay Packer Fan and for years I have dreamed of giving my child the first name Brett and the middle name Favre. I told my wife this when we were dating and have repeated it periodically since them. She let me name our goldfish Brett Favre, but he died. My wife is now 4 1/2 months pregnant and I have been bringing the name up every time we talk about the baby. I figure it would work for a boy or a girl, since Brett is a neutral name. She has said she would be willing to give a son the middle name of Brett, but that is the most headway I have been able to make despite my constant overt and subliminal attempts to push the name.

Do you think I should persist and hold to my convictions, since my wife does not have a strong feeling about the name of our child or should I settle for Brett as a middle name?

What Would Vince Do?


Dear Pakphan,

You got hosed, and here is how. By allowing you to name your gold-fish Brett Favre, your wife tricked you. According to The Rules, no child can have the same name as a pet. It does not matter that your pet has died; in fact, that makes it even worse. Can you imagine your child growing up with the psychological trauma that they have the same name as a dead Gold Fish? The implication is that the parents view the child as nothing more than a substitute for a dead pet. The therapy bills would run sky high.

I am pretty sure your wife was aware of The Rules all along, and you have gotten robbed. However, as any woman will tell you, it was YOUR responsibility to know The Rules. Ignorance is no excuse.

On your side, a host of other names are available to choose from. Ahman Green, Forrest Gregg, Bart Star, James Taylor, Al Harris, Ryan Longwell. If you really want to think like Vince Lombardi, you should cut your losses and devise a new game plan. Your child will never be named Brett Favre.

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