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Squid #318
(published February 22, 2007)
Ask the Giant Squid: Scurrilous Characters in Need of Advice in Judging the Quality of Others' Characters
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid,

I know I'm really bad at spelling. I took you advice and left, but ended up with a 3 inch gash above my left eye from a plate thrown at me. It took a couple stitches to close it up. Now my long-time pirate friend, Evil Earl, wants to join my ship. I dont know if I should let because he has once before over threw me: When we were still wee pirates he betrayed me and took over my lunch table. Normally he is trustworthy, but his consistent trickery and girlfriend problems that he complains to me about are starting to wear me patience thin. So, oh wise Giant Squid, god of the Ohio city Cincinnati, what should I do?

Wounded, tired, and dirty
Anonymous the Pirate

P.S. Use spell check on this before answering.

Dearest Anonymous the Pirate,

My Dear and Regular Readers will recall a series of your conundra which I did handle some months prior, in the autumn of the year 2006. I regret that my previous advice lead to your being bludgeoned by a Dutch prostitute's airborne table setting. We do indeed live as lovers in dangerous times, no?

As for the matters of the dubious reliability of Evil Earl: On occasions where-in a Loyalty Oath is not sufficiently binding, and taking a belovéd pet, child or property hostage for the duration of the loyalty-dependent term is unfeasible (either owing to the duration of the loyalty required or the perishability of the hostaged good), I always turn to the Brief Personality Inventory for a much-needed glimpse into the secret heart of my confidant novitiate. Although the secondary-school psychology texts and various Internets abound with such profiles, I nonetheless offer for the purpose of good example three questions which I find the most reliable in aiding my assessment of the nature of a man, mollusk, robot or clairvoyo-communicative being from an undefined dimension:

  1. You find yourself, inexplicably, in a room with neither doors nor windows nor furnishings. The room is plain, equilateral, and white of hue. What are three words that describe how you feel about this room? What do you imagine to lie outside of the room?
  2. You are on a small, tropical island. Upon the island are two tribes of aboriginals. The members of one tribe always lie, while the members of the other tribe always lie maliciously. After eating a fistful of berries offered by the smirking savages, you come to suspect these may, or may not, be poisonous in the extreme. You not know which native is of which tribe. You may only ask a single question of the pair. What query do you mutter as your lips benumb and breathing passages constrict most distressingly?
  3. Imagine that you are a urine pirate and have the opportunity to violently wrest control of a luncheon table from one of your respected cohort. Do you do so?


  1. A pirate fair and true will find this room to be disconcerting, mellifluous and still, with prairie grass or a trimmed lawn beyond its walls; assign -1 point for each of these characteristics named as part of the room and its environs. The dishonest man believes the white room is boring, stifling and white, and fancies it contained within a larger room, and that larger room populated by white-coated science men and attractive, aloof secretarial workers in patent-leather shoes and short skirts, their buns (both of the hair and the rear) severe, and their spectacles with the thick, black rims for holding the similarly thick, black lenses; assign +1 point for each named characteristics, with +3 points for each of the secretarial women's attributes. (FOR QUICK SCORING: Inform your petitioner that the three words supplied in this challenge reveal how they feel about their own death. Note pupil response, adding points for each millimeter of dilation and subtracting for each millimeter of contraction.)
  2. No doubt, as all pirates are crack-logicians, Evil Earl will ask each aboriginal: "Would the other redskin reliably offer me a functional antidote at a fair market price?" Of course, the liar will say that the malicious lair would say that he is lying about either the efficacy or price of the antitoxin, while the malicious liar would initially tell the truth about the liars lie of his lie, so that the lie about his honesty would make a more deadly lie. Thus we see, Anonymous, that ofttimes the truth is the most malicious lie. Detract 5 points to the honest pirate, who accepts his ensuing death with aplomb, and detract -8 points from the dishonest pirate who, true, will still die of the fruit venom, but has already raped the indians gold-hordes and smelted their wives and children afore entertaining the light repast of berries.
  3. Count the syllables of this answer. Dishonest men always speak in odd numbers of syllables, an artifact of the asymmetrical distemper which rules their brains, causing dysmorphic growth favoring the logical left (that is, sinister) lobe of the brain. -7 for even-syllabled answers, +7 for the odd.

Those scoring above positive three (+3) are dishonest men; deal with them as you will (I believe electing them to public office is the current vogue). Those scoring below negative one are honest men, and of little use. Those between, they are morally flexible — their utility is boundless, even if they insist on mooning over loves lost until you are driven to distraction. Keeps these close, their paychecks remunerated immediately, and their leashes short.

I Remain,
Your Giant Squid

Post-Scriptorum: I am still recognized as a God in the burgh of Cin-Cin-A-Tea? Upon last leaving some half-decade past, the Mayor threatened that, were I to wander and not return, I would be unable to "buy dog shit in this town." Yet, you assure me that the blood rituals and clandestine auto-mutilations of my arcane cult are still practiced in the moonless shadows of the Nights of Decadent Filth. More than anything, this does cheer me.

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