Advice by Pepper Mackay

Sagebrush, Feb. 2, 2001

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Dear Pepper,

I locked myself out of my car the other day, and as a result I was late to a job interview and lost the job. You seem like a woman who knows her way around a toolbox. Can you suggest anything to do when I lock my keys in the car?

-Locked Out



Dear Locked,

Well, you're not fooling me any. You're obviously looking to make up for the Millennium Scholarship you're due to lose this fall, by stealing cars in its place. Oh, admittedly there's an appeal to stealing cars. Gone in 60 Seconds actually made it look less glamorous than it really is. In fact, this question takes me back to my own days as a car thief on the mean streets of Mexico City, stealing, stripping and selling a half-dozen VW's every night in order to earn my burrito and glass of horchata the next day.

But let me set you straight. Car stealing is not a good thing. Just Say No to car stealing. Here are some ways how:

  1. Say "No Thanks": "Thanks, but I'd rather not steal your car."

  2. Give an excuse or a Reason: "Sorry, I left my lock pick set in my other pants."

  3. Broken Record: "I will not steal that Volvo. I will not steal that Volvo. I will not steal that Volvo."

  4. Walk Away: Step away from the car.

  5. Change the Subject: Switch to shop-lifting.

  6. Avoid the Situation: Start riding a bike instead.

  7. Cold Shoulder: Pretend the parking lot is empty.

  8. Strength in Numbers: Well... I'm pretty sure no one else you know steals cars.

It may be tough, but we've all got to do our part to resist peer pressure and Just Say No to car thievery.



Dear Pepper,

It feels like the world is out to get me. Nothing's been going good for me since this semester started, and I think that my supervisor at work is trying to get me fired. I'm also pretty sure that all the professors in my department know me and hate me. What should I do?

-Hard Knock Life



Dear Hard Life,

You're right. The world is out to get you. Your bosses have been plotting behind your back to destroy you. The professors in your department hate you because you're not fooling anyone when you sit in the back of an eighteen-student class reading that copy of "Naked Lunch" hidden in your textbook.

But it doesn't stop there. It's not just your bosses and your professors. It is, indeed, the whole world that is out to get you. Every level of government, from municipal on up, is independently working on plans to screw you over. It begins with the Reno City Council, who want to make an extension of the train trench right through your house. The Washoe County government is planning to then irrigate that trench, while the Nevada state legislature hopes to seize that land and irradiate it with nuclear waste in exchange for payments that they will use to help pay for cigarette-smokers' health care. Then the federal government, who has been monitoring your thoughts with their satellites, will begin casting a ray at you, which, somehow, will result in you developing a tiny, but nonetheless socially hampering, lisp.

From there it expands to the governments of all nations worldwide. All of them are plotting against you, because, by not paying attention to what you've been doing, you have managed to become a major impediment to their national goals. In fact, a computer simulation run by UNICEF projects an average 17.5% standard-of-living increase for every person in the world, if you are to lose your job, become despised by your friends, and eventually choke to death on a ham sandwich. Keep in mind, that's just an average.

In some countries it goes as high as 75%, and in other countries it goes as low as 16.9%

How is any of this possible, you ask? You obviously haven't taken Probability and Statistics yet. Trust me, it all makes sense.