Having just passed on from the world of the living, I find myself in an awkward position. In my career as an advice columnist, I sought to direct the confused and soothe the ruffled. Continuing on in the first Anne Landers' noble tradition, I legitimately felt, even on my deathbed, that I had lived a life of noble and helpful service.
But, standing here just outside the Pearly Gates, I've begun to question the quality of some of the advice I dispensed week after week. Specifically, I regret having advised so many of my readers that masturbation is an acceptable activity. It appears that Our Father Who Art in Heaven is not in agreement with me on that stance. There are quite a few unhappy Onanists loitering around here, Giant Squid. I'm absolutely mortified.
I have two reasons for writing: First, I want to know what, if anything, I can do to easy the suffering of these damned mastrubateurs. Secondly, I want to warn you, as an advice columnist, away from any similar faux paux.
The Ghost of Anne Landers (the Second)
Discorporate Spirit of Anne the Second,
As a fellow dispenser-of-advisement, I must begin by expressing my ganged emotions of profound humility at addressing your eternal soul, and gaping terror at hearing of your predicament. Is it not the Lord of Fears for all advice columnist, to learn that one's advice has been inappropriate, unhelpful, hurtful or, mortification above all, fundamentally incorrect? As such, to learn that The Landers, Columnist of Columnists, has become imbroigled in just such a situation is greatly disturbing.
But, at this juncture, what is there to do? How might one address a predicament so dire? With mauve warmth I recall our nestlinghood together in those shallow Polynesian trenches of our youth. Were we not insepperable buddies of the bosom, fliting here to there, learning the delight of our jets, the new-to-know arms and wonderful, striking tentacles? But there was always a passion deeper to you, "Anne." Even when all we knew— or wanted to know— was the joi de vivre that comes with eating sailors and savaging lone injured whales, you were a character more introspective than other squid, more prone to the savage sullness of depression and the heady spastication of mania. Was I a dour squidling? By no means, but I certainly tended toward the balanced, center-road, while you soared and dove, weaving from one extreme margin to the other. As such, none should have been— nor, among Archteuthkind were— surprised to see you launch early into a career of examination, mediation and empathy. I still often bring to mind your first, halting, attempts at advice-to-give, attempting to sort out the messy marital squabbles of the sea turtles, and endlessly mediating in those most tiresome trade disputes amongst manatees and alligators.
To be sure, it was err long before notice was taken, and squidkind sought to cultivate your great gift for the collumning, first serving as protege to small lights, such as were those "Ms. Lonleyhearts" and "Ask Dr. Newspaper" of the broadsheets of Minos, Atlantis, Ionia et al. Phoenicia would have fallen thrice to spited lovers and he-said-&-she-said, were it not for your tender and wunderbar advising (Cadmus himself long lauded you in his second, and unfortunately now lost, tome of Tyreian history). So quickly you rocketed into your career, serving admirable as the assistant and apprentice of Anne Landers Primary, whilst I took a more circumlocucious route. Did I admire you? For certain. Did I emulate you? As can clearly be seen, at this moment, as I hack away under the title of "Ask the Giant Squid." Would it be overmuch to say I love you? Not one bit; I loved you when we were care-for-nought squidlettes, I loved you when I was bumming around colonial Chesapeake Bay (deep beneath the ice which brought my first fabled American Lord, old JJ Astor, to these verdant and lighted shores) and you were the great vizer of Her Majesty, and I love you even now, in this moment, in this time of sour desperation.
But, after a manner, you are also inspiring my contempt, Anne. Can you not to recall those earliest lessons you learned working for Joseph fancy Coat under that tinhorn Pharoah? When asked "What is there to do when the advice is unpleasant to the hearer?" and he replied "Fuck 'em. Tell 'em what they wanna hear!"
"But Joseph," you told me you had beseached, "What if that results in directing incorrectly? With your tales of famine based on Pharoahs cow-dreams, you've inspired a great public work in fortification, hoarding and a campaign of austerity. What if this causes great and unnecessary loss— even causes the famine it foretells!"
"Screw it! It doesn't matter! They miss one yacht down the Nile, there's always another. This ain't pyramid building, kid; just flimflam, hocus pocus. Get with the grift!"
I thusly pass back to you the advice that Joseph passed to you and you passed to me: make known to these John Jackoffskis and Jane Rubsalots that it is not that your advice was possessed of error, but rather that they have arrived at the wrong gates. A Heaven which excludes sad sexual deviances is no Heaven for you, and certainly no Heaven for them. They should pack up their portable pocket vaginas and vast jiggling dildos and head down the road, with you leading their Sin of the Hands Parade. Try Muhammed's Paradise, or the place of No Wind favored by Confucius and his sort. If all else fails, certainly the cold soul place of the Greeks shall welcome them with open arms; Tartarus, I understand, is rich as silk with quiet rustle-moans of a thousand dead-eyed but quick handed shades of the past. When Aeneas approached Achilles, the distant dissatisfaction of the ancient and noble shade of Troy was not so presented because of some artificial separation of the living and the dead, but rather it was due to the starry eyed down-falling of a post-personal-coitus well-known to many a boy in a Neal Simon comedy.
There, alongside Persephone, her blue-marbled hand deep underneath her night-silked toga, I think, is your most profitable target. Peter's irritableness to your proposition I think is due to some deficiency on his part; Jesus's title of "Rock" for the Venerable Gatekeeper of Heaven, I understand, is at best a hopeful name, at worst a slight mocking.
And, on a more personal note, please let you to rest assured that the advice which your life's lesson offers has fallen not upon dampened tympanic membranes.
With Fondmost Regards,
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