Friday, August 26, 2016

Advice from a life coach: Family law

If your wife's family is out to get you, and you decide you need a family lawyer to represent your interests, it is probably best if you take a shower and perhaps lay off the moonshine that morning before approaching some random stranger on the street and asking them to recommend an attorney.

On the other side of this equation, it is always a good idea to keep handy the address of the nearest family lawyer, just in case some disreputable looking individual sidles up to you as you're crossing the street and asks you for one. If you are able to quickly provide an address—down two blocks on your right, you can't miss it—you will be able to avoid going into any detail on why or how the individual's wife's family is out to get him, although you can probably come up with a few good reasons yourself, and you are already thinking that you will be siding with them if this ever goes to court and you are called as a witness.

Keep in mind that Coachean Life Coaching handles real-life situations only. Maybe I just look like someone who happens to know the nearest family lawyer, but if I look like that, so do you, and you'd better be prepared. The nearest family lawyer I am aware of is, indeed, down two blocks on the right. They claim to speak Spanish, and they post their prices in the window for divorces, separations and wills, among other various familial legal needs.

And, by the way, they charge two dollars for notarization. And they look very disappointed when you tell them that's all you want. "You're sure you don't want to get divorced?" they ask as they take your two dollars. Divorces cost $500. I felt good saving both $498 and my marriage at the same time. I assume that they handled my new friend on the street quite adequately, as I haven't seen him since. Then again, I have taken to not walking in that particular neighborhood anymore. You can never be too cautious.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Advice from a life coach: More linguistic issues

Over the summer I have collected a few items that need not be discussed at great length, but are worth mentioning, and I'm raring to go with them.

Raring to go? Raring? This is where dictionaries fail you. Raring comes from rearing, as in horses rising on their hind legs in eagerness, thus turning the word raring into a synonym for eager. Really? Has anyone ever used raring in any way other than as a prelude to "to go"? No one says raring beaver, do they? Your basic dictionaries would have you believe otherwise, the lying crooked Hillaries that they are. Which reminds me that beavering is an anagram for bereaving, and if you look up anagram on Google it asks you if you meant nag a ram. Cute. You know, Google, if I wanted a joke, I would have asked for it. Jeesh.

The word galoot is of disputed if not totally lost origin, but we all know what it means. And we usually attach the word big in front of it, although it would seem to be unnecessary. There is not much difference between being a galoot and being a big galoot, but on the other hand, no one ever uses the expression little galoot. Except maybe in preschool teachers' lounges: "That Johnny Jones is a real little galoot." I can't say, because I seldom frequent preschool teachers' lounges. In fact, you might say I infrequent preschool teachers' lounges, except, of course, that some words don't have opposites, even when those opposites exist. Like everyone's basic inept and ept. James Thurber liked these sort of words. You should be reading Thurber now instead of me, but you makes your cherces and there you be. 

A friend of mine recently quoted Cecil Adams, creator of The Straight Dope (seek it out), thus: "Sir, if ignorance were corn flakes, you would be General Mills." You might want to remember that one; it will probably come in handy. I'll add one of my own: so-and-so is like a lip syncher at a karaoke bar. It is always a good idea to have a few insults handy that take the insultee a minute or two to figure out, giving you enough time to make a run for it before suffering any physical damage. Call somebody a big galoot, and you will be eating a galootian knuckle sandwich a second later. Quote Cecil Adams, and by the time they figure it out, you'll be halfway to San Bernardino. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Advice from a life coach: Acknowledging the little people

Publically acknowledging the little people who helped you along the way—especially in writing—is not a good idea. Yes, we know you couldn’t have done it alone, but on the other hand, plenty of other people have done it too and it’s not all that big a deal. Unless you’ve just been elected Pope or somehow convinced Kim Jong-un to renounce his North Korean citizenship and move to Peoria, or something equally remarkable, you don’t have to remark on it. You did it. Fine. That’s enough for all of us.

But thanking the little people? That’s where the real trouble starts. First of all, they probably do not see themselves as the little people, as bit players in the more important narrative that is you, so their first reaction to your acknowledgment will be genuine surprise. Then, for a moment, they’ll appreciate the shout-out until they realize that not only was it an act of self-aggrandizement, but also an act of them-degrandizement. (I know, degrandizement probably really isn’t a word, much less them-degrandizement, but it ought to be.) They probably always thought up till now that you were a little full of yourself but they were willing to put up with you for their own ends, i.e., for your role in the playing out of their narratives. But now that they realize that their narratives mean nothing to you, they will cast you off like baby boomers cleaning the leisure suits out of their storage closet (unless they can actually still squeeze into them, in which case they will hold onto them on the odd chance that they will come back into style someday because, well, doesn’t everything.)

If you really want to do something to thank the little people, leave them alone. They’ll be all the happier for it, and, more importantly, you won’t have to sink to their level and pretend you care about them. It’s a win-win for everyone.