Chris Kelly, one half of the rap duo Kriss Kross, passed away yesterday and it has a lot of people of my generation reminiscing about their music and their influence on style. Kriss Kross was known for wearing their clothing, a lot of overalls and jerseys, backwards. Tons of kids copied this move. Did I ever wear my clothes backwards? Absolutely not. I was not cool enough. I was less aware of pop music than any kid in America. I never had a WALK or DISC man. I didn’t watch MTV. I didn’t care at all when “Eagle” 106 FM changed their format to jazz(?). I had to endure my friends talking about bands, albums, etc. and I would just sit there and have NO IDEA what they were talking about. This, of course, was better than actually trying to participate in the conversation, which would inevitably lead to me embarrassing myself quite thoroughly. The moral of all this, of course, is that the children of the 90s lost one of their cultural icons AND I was a very strange child. Onto a strange mailbag…
Q: What’s a more ideal roommate situation? Someone you don’t really know who is quiet and clean, or living with one of your best friends who is a slob and a general train wreck? Tank Franklin, Pittsburgh, PA.
A: I guess it depends on how much of a neat freak you are and whether or not you want to be watched in your sleep. It’s tempting to go with the quiet roommate, because silence really can be golden and cleanliness is nice too, because nothing is worse than opening your door and getting laid out by the stench coming from your kitchen. What’s in the sink? I DON’T KNOW. But, here’s the thing with those quiet roommates you don’t know so well–do you ever really know what they’re up to? Sure, they aren’t making any noise, but they could be up all night photo-shopping themselves into your family album. NOT NORMAL. So, I think if you have the chance you should always try to live with a friend. It can be dicey, but most friendships can survive a roommate situation. It’s not like going in halves on a Blockbuster Video franchise. I lived with friends throughout college and I was the messiest of the group, but none of us really cleaned the common area with much vigor. There were times when I’d get up, sit down in front of the TV to play some Grand Theft Auto, my feet would sink into a puddle of keg juice and I’d want to LOSE MY MIND. But you get over it pretty quickly, because the day before you probably did something UNSPEAKABLE in the bathroom–or whatever. Just the cost of doing business.
Q: If a television station suddenly wanted to make a sitcom about your life, or based on your oeuvre, if you will, would you want to play yourself in said sitcom ala Seinfeld, or would you take the Larry David route and turn the role over to a mutt like Jason Alexander? Elaine Benes, Baltimore, MD.
A: I really don’t have any desire to see myself on television, but if you are the real STAR, you don’t have a choice right? Larry David, whether he’s really George or not, wasn’t the main character. They didn’t hire, oh I don’t know, PAUL REISER, to do Seinfeld’s comedy, right? That wouldn’t make sense. An important part of comedy is delivery. Seinfeld’s jokes need to be delivered by Seinfeld. First, because he’s the best one to deliver them, but also because if he’s behind the show he’s going to want to make sure the product is how he wants it to be. If you are asking me to put myself in a position where I am famous and funny enough to have my own TV show then you can bet your ass I’d stumble in front of the camera every week. I’d probably have the wardrobe department fired every week for, “PUTTING ME IN THAT SHIRT,” but I’d give it a shot.
Q: If it were guaranteed to be friendly and docile and never attack you in any way, would you rather have a monkey, a tiger or a bear as a pet? A real pet, not just in a cage outside. Dr. Dewey Little, Boise, ID.
A: I wouldn’t want a monkey–NO OFFENSE, Mr. Chimpanzee. Monkeys are too similar to humans with their mannerisms. Can you imagine sitting on the couch watching TV, maybe picking a rogue shard of Tostito out your teeth, maybe fiddlin’ with the iPad and you look over and your monkey is DOING THE EXACT SAME THING. I’d sh*t myself. I couldn’t handle that. For a proper pet/owner relationship to occur you have to maintain some of the time-honored guidelines. There’s hanging out with your pet and then there’s sitting there with your monkey with nothing to say. Awkward. So, that leaves us with Tiger and Bear. I was about to say that a bear would be way too big, but I’m seeing here that Tigers can hit 650 lbs. That kitty condo would take up a lot of space in the living room. I’m not even going to get into the litter box scenario. You’d have to fill the entire East Wing with kitty litter. But I just can’t get past how cool it’d be to have a tiger in the house. Just relaxing, basking in the sun, scaring away the occasional mouse? I’ll go tiger.
Q: Do you ever wonder what curiosity did to the dog? Fran C. Feast, Humble, TX.
A: Wow, a lot of pet questions this week. Are dogs curious? The dog doesn’t destroy the trash can because he was CURIOUS about what was inside the can, he did it because there was a paper towel in there with a drop of bacon fat on it and they wanted to EAT THAT TOWEL. I’ve seen dogs that are “curious” about why you aren’t paying them attention, but again, I’m not really sure that counts. I think dogs are mostly content with their lives and so they are fine sitting on the floor next to you and don’t feel the need to see if they can jump up on top of the bookcase just because it’s there. I think we need to get rid of this saying all together, because from my experience curiosity doesn’t kill the cat. It may drive you to a mental institution, but the cat is going to come out just fine. Standard cat behavior is them eyeing up some impossible jump, wondering if they can make it, attempting said jump, landing awkwardly (knocking over everything), one millisecond of self-awareness as they steady themselves and then they just saunter off–FULLY ALIVE. Meanwhile, you surround the scene in crime scene tape while you sweep up the shards of glass, spilled drink–whatever.
Q: Since it’s allergy season, what do you think about people who sneeze and it comes out as “achoo?” Is achoo a word? I find it all very annoying. Pet Dander, Coatesville, PA.
A: Achoo is a word. As I write it there my spell check is perfectly comfortable. No issues. A sneeze is a very personalized thing, much like a laugh. And you can drive people crazy with both. When it comes to sneezes, I prefer to let nature take its course. Just release. Don’t try to hold it in, don’t do any necessary muzzling–cover your mouth of course, but don’t be ashamed. Don’t conform to what society thinks your sneeze should sound like. I think some people modify their sneeze just to better set themselves up for the “bless you.” They want that attention. HEY, sneezing over here. So, maybe they exaggerate it, I’m sure you’ve heard the unnecessary syllable at the end of a sneeze? Also annoying. As far as the “achoo” people go? I guess they must live out their lives like a children’s book. Achoo is one of those words that is a close approximation of a sound. So, in these people’s minds maybe that’s what a sneeze is supposed to sound like? They read Suzie Suffers from Sniffles at age 4 and it made a HUGE IMPRESSION? They probably think all dog barks sound like “woof,” and horses go “nay,” etc. etc. I agree, this is an annoying habit, the abbreviated, “choo,” sneeze being even worse.
Q: Let’s say we ended the war on drugs. Not that we won it, we just gave up. All of a sudden the government was like, you know what? WHATEVER. Do what you want. Are there any drugs out there you’d be tempted to try? Drugs Delaney, Pawtucket, RI.
A: Oh yeah, PASS ME THE BLOW. I don’t know. I’m not in a real experimental phase in my life right now. I’m not sure that I ever was. I don’t want to be addicted to anything, with the possible exception of sugar, so I can say honestly I have no interest in any of the harder drugs. CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES. No thanks. Drug intake would be a stumbling block for me. Even if it was around I wouldn’t want to smoke anything, or snort anything. I don’t even like swallowing pills. Maybe this is why about all I ever do is drink some beers. Drinking is SO EASY. So natural. The only chance you’d have of getting me to do anything would be marijuana in some type of edible form. I don’t want to take massive bong rips, but if there were no consequences I might try a laced dessert. MAYBE. But, like I said, I’m not really feeling too experimental. And, I spent plenty of time observing stoned people in college. It didn’t look like I was missing out on a whole lot. I get my food cravings naturally.