Advice for Life

Got questions about life… love… happiness.. homework … or even “just who the hell does Nancy Grace really think she is!?” Write Justplainwill.

What'd you say about my Mama?
What'd you say about my Mama?

Dear JustPlainWill:

I am a top official on the school board of a large southeastern city. Lately, things have not been going well at all. Jealousy, in-fighting and talking about each other’s mama has been commonplace… and that’s just at the school board office! On top of all this, our high school kids are under-performing on the standardized tests. On this last ‘go-round’ of tests, we ranked next to last. (One wonders where we would have ranked if it wasn’t for Mississippi) As a result of all this, the authorities have placed our entire school system on probation. Probation, Justplainwill. PROBATION!

We’re in dire straits. What can we do to turn this thing around?


Dear Dumbfounded:

First of all, be grateful for Mississippi.

As far as this testing business is concerned, methinks that you’re testing for proficiency of the wrong things. Quizzing students on things like physics, chemistry and math is just wrongheaded. For example, when is the last time that you actually had a discussion about molecular structure or the Earth’s tectonic plates with anybody who was sober? You’re right. Never!

Instead, “Dumb,” I recommend that you switch to what one might call Adaptive Testing… fitting the tests to the demonstrated strengths of your recent graduates. Under this method, you will test skills that recent graduates have proven time and time again that they will use – and must think that they need–once they are ‘out in the real world’. A realistic list of test topics might consist of the following:

  • Text Messaging
  • Advanced Texting
  • Texting while Sleeping
  • Creative Swearing and Cussin’
  • Misogynistic Rap Lyrics
  • Facebook Bullying Tactics
  • Basic Narcissism
  • Decorative Neck Tattoo Strategy
  • Innovative Body Piercing
  • Acquisition and Consumption of Weed
  • Being Ruthlessly  Self-Absorbed

I promise that the use of this kind of testing will have U.S. students ranking number 1 in the world. By the way Dumbfounded, you can thank me by having one of those spare, “gently used” high schools re-named in my honor. The ‘Justplainwill Academy’ has a nice ring to it. (My mother would be proud.)

Your friend,

Dear Justplainwill:

I’m just bewildered. Specifically, it seems that every time that I go to a fast food restaurant these days and try to order anything other than a combo meal, I am thwarted.

In the past month alone, I have tried, on several occasions to purchase just a Coke at Burger Billy’s or just the fries at The Friendly Dog – stuff that is decidedly not a combo meal. At these times, the order taker will typically feign incompetence or tells me that it is just not possible even though these things are clearly shown on the menu. (“It’s against restaurant policy to do so,” I was derisively told by The Head Dog.) Just last week, after ordering only a burger and fries but no drink, I was wrestled to the ground by a Crew Leader and two big burly (and greasy!) fry cooks. I was held down until the police came. The Crew Leader told the arresting officer that surely anyone ordering something other than a combo meal must… “be deranged and a threat to national security.” Luckily, I was released by the judge on my own recognizance.

What gives Justplainwill?

Flummoxed in Georgia

Dear ‘Flum’:

No one has ever been able to order anything other than a combo meal at Burger Billy’s or any other fast food emporium for that matter. Sadly, it’s just not possible. It just isn’t.

This is a widespread phenomenon as well as one of the two great mysteries of the 21st Century. (The other great modern mystery is “why does anyone ever take Newt Gingrich seriously?” But I digress… )

The mystery that you describe is very commonplace and is best explained by “The Combo Ordering Fission Principle”, an outgrowth of a top secret, scientific discovery made by Albert Einstein. The principle, accidentally discovered by Albert shortly before his death in April, 1955, is firmly rooted in sub-atomic theory. Einstein, in trying to develop the Unified Field Theory, stumbled upon this whole thing one afternoon while trying to order French fries and a strawberry milkshake and while on a fifteen minute break from the lab. He was at a New Jersey fast food diner at the time.

Befuddled by his experience at the diner, Einstein concluded that the nuclear bond between burgers, fries and soft drink, must be one of the greatest forces in nature – greater than the bond between protons in the nucleus of the atom. Furthermore, Einstein believed that anyone, who actually receives an ala carte fast food order (i.e. a burger separate from soft drink separate from French fries) will certainly be responsible for unleashing a devastating atomic chain reaction roughly akin to the same forces unleashed at Hiroshima–and one that will possibly tear of a hole in the very fabric of the space-time continuum. The theory has long been a part of Employee Orientation at Burger Billy University (the Fightin’ Billicans) as well as at other fast food joints.

The bottom line, Flummoxed, is this: Don’t try it! Please don’t try this fast food ordering strategy anymore. I am beggin’ ya… please don’t try it. Think about the rest of us! Just order the damn combo meal, pay for it and go home to enjoy whatever the hell those people at Burger Billy’s put in the bag. The fate of the world is in the balance and we don’t want the space-time continuum, planet Earth and… er… the rest of us… “ripped a new one.”

Scientifically yours,

Dear Justplainwill:

I am outraged. Do you know that some publishers are taking the N-word out of Mark Twain’s book, Huckleberry Finn? This is literary censorship and is just plain wrong. You will also note that Jay-Z and Kanye use the N-word all of the time. So taking it out of Huckleberry Finn is just horrifying, Justplainwill. What do you think?

Outraged Laura

Dear Outraged Laura:

Relax. Given the current state of political discourse in the country, I worry more about people putting ‘the word’ in books as opposed to taking it out of books!

If the publisher goes through with his threat, I suggest that you buy a bunch of these books and then burn them. Dammit, that’ll show ’em!

Your friend,
Huckleberry Will

P.S. As I told Flummoxed, Outraged Laura: Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t ever use the N-word. Yeah, yeah… I know that Kanye and Jay-Z use the N-word all of the time. But that doesn’t make it right or even ok. Besides Kanye and Jay-Z both have more money than God (and Oprah) and have bodyguards. You probably don’t. Note also that its use can get one… “ripped a new one.”

Write [email protected].

Just Plain Will

Just Plain Will

J. P. Will is a noted counselor, spiritual adviser and advice giver to the stars as well as the star-crossed. A former goat-herder and Arctic explorer, Will is the proud holder of a GED as well as a Certificate of Attendance of the Naples, Florida School of Online Tooth Extraction and Snow Removal. He also studied psychotherapy in Vienna, which he proudly points out is located about 75 miles due north of Hahira, Georgia.

All of these accomplishments make him as qualified to give advice as... er, well... anybody else.

In the spirit of full disclosure, there are many who think that Justplainwill is an alter ego of frequent Dew contributor, Will Cantrell ( furthering the notion that Cantrell needs a new, different, and better personality.) On the other hand, Cantrell, in a recent meeting with our editors, vehemently denied and disavowed any knowledge of Justplainwill's existence. (“Just plain who? Never heard of the jerk... that is unless he says that he owes me money”, said Cantrell.) Despite Cantrell's protestations and what we are sure was feigned indignation, we at Offices of The Dew have our suspicions --- especially since no one has ever seen both Justplainwill and Cantrell at the same place at the same time.