Uncommon Sense

Justplainwill, noted Arctic explorer, online tooth extractor and Spiritual Adviser will now answer your latest questions:

Dear Justplainwill:

Lately, every time I turn on the TV, the guy looking back at me is yapping about the fiscal cliff. He’s telling me about how those people in Washington, D.C. have the whole damn country headed straight for it. Hell, it seems just as we were on the verge of getting the ship righted and almost out of the recession, the pols seem hell bent on running this sumbitch off the road AGAIN! Should I be worried, Justplainwill? What lies over the cliff? What happens to me if we fall off?

Clifford Hangers
Atlanta, Georgia

Dear Clifford,

First of all, you’ve come to the right place. Under no circumstances should you seek this kind of advice from just anyone — especially from one of those high priced TV or radio types like Clark Howard, Jean Chatsky or even one of those overpaid Jimmy Choo shoe wearing, Maria Bartiromo look-a-like know-it-alls that troll the morning TV shows. Most of them wouldn’t know the difference between a fiscal cliff and Montgomery Clift. I, on the other hand, have lived through enough marriages, divorces, breakups, down-sizings, right-sizings, firings and general economic downturns to have tumbled over the fiscal cliff any number of times and have the scars (gaping, open wounds really) to prove it. I can tell you exactly what’s going to happen.

To give you an overview of things to come: whatever it is you’ve been doing these last few years before the fiscal cliff, expect to do less of it. A LOT less. This includes (but is not limited to such activities as)eating, watching cable TV, having female companionship and quite possibly, sleeping indoors.

Cable TV will likely be the very first thing to go. Unless you have been stealing your next door neighbor’s cable feed, that Pay-Per View stuff costs money. You will quickly find out that those people over at Bombcast can be quite touchy about non payment. They do not mind convincing you of their displeasure by “interrupting your service.” And without prior notice too! (In one of my own early falls down the fiscal cliffs, a woman who looked remarkably like Oprah (at the time, the ruler of daytime TV) came over and yanked the cable right out of my den wall. Let me tell you, she was pissed! Don’t despair though as there is, of course, Free-TV. I just hope you will enjoy watching those Leave It to Beaver marathons instead of Breaking Bad or Homeland in the company of your wife, girlfriend, fiance, lady-in-waiting or whatever your present arrangement may be.

Speaking of… er, uh… female companionship, Clifford, the sad truth is that whether you are renting it for the weekend, have a Lease-to-Own Plan or have outright title to it already, female companionship typically requires money. It’s just the nature of things.Like physics or Newton’s Third Law of Motion.  (This is true even if you happen to be another female, but I digress.) Once the nation falls off the fiscal cliff, you will have proportionately less money to spend on your female companion of choice. You can bet she’ll notice it too and call it to your attention, using words and phrases that are not at all complimentary.

If by chance you have been funding such activities using the credit card method of romance finance and can no longer make the minimum monthly payments, you can forget about that aspect of your former life altogether. Even if your female companion has allowed you to fund the relationship by her giving you something roughly akin to a Pell Grant, you can expect her to rescind said grant depending upon her mood about her own prospects on the other side of the fiscal cliff.

The next things that you will notice as being missing from your daily… er, itinerary are types of recreation that don’t necessarily involve a member of the opposite sex but still require money: golf, movies, football games, drinking beer with the boys and bar-be-que. Of course, you will be able to put this extra time you’ve now got on your hands by foraging for food since the memory of eating three square meals a day will be as distant as a star in the Milky Way.

I know this next one seems counter-intuitive but you will very likely gain weight during your ride over the cliff. Here’s the thing. It costs money to eat nutritiously. Think about it player, almost any foodstuff that is nutritious will not only carry an exotic name and be available only at some boutique grocers in the next zip code, a pound of it will all also carry a price that is equal to that of a barrel of crude oil. On the other hand, cheap food though more widely available is invariably rich in gluten, trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup and high caloric content. Think about again Cliff, fatcats are generally anything but…well …er, huh… “fat”.

Get use to eating in the dark too, Cliff. If you think the people at Bombcast are touchy about non-payment, the people at your local power company are infinitely worse. They seem to have heard every excuse in the book and they know exactly where the POWER OFF switch is to your house. I understand that when it comes to dealing with recalcitrant customers their motto is “You can hide your car from the repo man, but you can’t hide your house from us. We know exactly where you live.”

I figure the power company people’s poor attitude is a direct result of having to sit next to all that high voltage all those years, but nevertheless you might consider laying in a supply of size D flashlight batteries for when things really get bad.

Clifford, the bottom line to all of this is that you will need to learn how to live with less. Probably a lot less. And no matter what any Eastern religious taoist philosopher/con man on PBS may try to sell you on the concept of Minimalism and the idea that suddenly having a lot less stuff and fewer entertainment options is really a gift from the universe, it’s not, Cliff. It’s just not. Less is not more. Less is ….well…less. Usually, it’s decidedly or even remarkably less. You can also take solace in the fact that no matter what you may have heard, whatever doesn’t kill you, does not make you stronger…it just doesn’t kill you. You can trust Justplainwill on this.

Lastly, as the late actress Betty Davis once said with regard to the fiscal cliff: “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

I hope this helps… and don’t say me and Betty didn’t warn you.


The Niagara Falls image is a composite photo created for LikeTheDew.com from a photo of the falls by Alberto Mari from his Flickr Photostream  and the tubing image is from Dan's Flickr photostream - both used under Creative Commons license and inspired by an image created by Hawk at worth1000.com.  The Fasten Seat Belts image by Jenny Levine via The Shifted Librarian Flickr Photostream and also used under Creative Commons license. Bette Davis image via Rotten Tomatoes and is presumed in the public domain.
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.