Slip of the Tongue

weekly advice from Pepper Mackay



Dear Pepper,

My boyfriend says he's got this great idea. He wants to get involved in the underworld of smuggling. I thought he was just kidding, but the other day he gave me this fuzzy leopard-print sweater that I think may not have been print, and I think he's starting to acquire a Russian accent. I'm worried he's in over his head. What do you think?

-Snuggly with a smuggler


Dear Snuggly,

Isn't this the eternal dilemma? You start to date a man because he's interesting, daring, mysterious, rich ­ and every single time it's because he's doing something illegal. What is it with this town? You'd think that with the gambling right out in the open ad the prostitution right across the county line that we'd have less criminals, since less stuff is against the law!

But hey, whatever. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the Great Basin. There's plenty of other fish in this inland sea, it's just that the odds are pretty good that any random trout you hook is going to be committing a telemarketing fraud or running a meth lab from its fish taken. Dating felons is just part of the game here in Reno.

What should you do if you're dating a smuggler? Well, at least it's better than dating a drug dealer. You're less likely to get shot, and less likely to have strange people with bleary eyes showing up at 3 a.m. when you sleep over at his apartment. I mean, of all the illegal types that you could be dating, a smuggler's the best. They're the champagne of thugs. Most of the dirty stuff occurs way off in third-world countries, and all your boyfriend has to do is pick it up at his P.O. Box and find some ennui-dripping rich bastard who needs a new elephant-leg umbrella stand and sell it for a 100% mark-up.

Be glad you're on this end of the deal, where the worst thing that might occur to you is receiving the gift of creepy poached furs. Fur is murder, but being shot to death by a rival smuggling gang is also murder and in a much bigger way.

I don't know exactly what the Russian accent means. You're sure he's not just picking it up from watching too many foreign films, or taking language classes? I mean, what is there to smuggle from Russia? Mammoth tusks? Well' there's pocket nukes, of course, but come on, what's the point when you could jut drive out to the test site and scoop up a handful of dirt whenever you need weapons-grade plutonium.

I say sit back and enjoy the glow. He sounds like a fun guy. Now, if he ever replaces the bear-skin rug in hi living room with a rug that looks like human-skin, that's when it's time to start dating someone else. Maybe a counterfeiter.



Dear Pepper,

I waited like 2 years for my boyfriend to tell me he loves me. So, we had a big huge fight and he said "I just happen to love you, you stupid bitch!" Now that we're cooled off, he doesn't mention it anymore. Should I bring it up?

-Lover or lever


Dear Lever,

That's a tricky question. On the one hand, you've finally snookered this man into saying he loves you, and so you should be able to wrangle at least one piece of jewelry out of that. On the other hand, it took you two years to get him to do it, and he thinks you're a stupid bitch, which makes it questionable whether he's really worth dating.

Is he a smuggler? Probably not, or he would have been swearing at you in Portuguese.

Ask yourself this question: If you stay with him, how much money can you squeeze out of him? After all, now that you know he loves you, you can focus on getting revenge for being called a stupid bitch. A bitch you may be, but if he spends $800 on you before you dump him for your best friend on his birthday, who's the stupid one?