Dear Dr. Faux,
My wife coddles and spoils our 13 year-old son and he’s beginning to develop a disrespectful attitude towards me. I’ve told my wife that I will not tolerate his behavior. I think a military academy might be what’s called for in this situation. I want my son to develop into a disciplined and respectful young man, so he can succeed in life. My wife is completely against sending him away to military school, and it’s wrecking havoc in our household. I’m afraid we’ve come to an impasse. What do you think is the best way to resolve our differences?
Please sign me,
Fair But Firm Father in Fargo
Dear Fair But Firm,
You mean “wreaking havoc” not “wrecking havoc.” Dr. Faux does not usually make orthographical corrections in his replies, but in your case he has made an exception; and that is because he thinks that you might enjoy correction. And discipline and bondage. Is Dr. Faux on the straight-and-narrow in his assumption? Who is the disciplinarian of choice in your authoritarian world? Man, woman, German shepherd? And Doctor Faux does not mean the dog. A German shepherd, strapping young man wearing lederhosen in a sylvan setting. Your wrinkled buttocks thrilling to his discipline, administered by a stinging switch cut from a sapling. “Schnell, schnell, schweinhund,” he screams as he forces you to the earth, pasture, wherever sheep are, safely grazing. Spank, spank, spank. Lash, lash, lash. “More mein fuhrer,” you say. The German language does not appeal to Dr. Faux; he was born before World War Two and knows only a few words of German, heard in Movietone News Clips and propaganda movies made by actors who had avoided the draft. But he believes that with that business of “schnell” and “schweinhund” in German he just said, “Faster, faster pig-dog.” It isn’t important. Lederhosen. Dr. Faux was just remembering dear Trixie in her lederhosen. Not one of Dr. Faux’s favorite costumes for its Bavarian and Ricola implications, but dear Trix could make even lederhosen very appealing or anything she chose to wear for that matter, very appealing. Bustiers, cowgirl costumes. All worn while dusting Dr. Faux’s office. “Deutschland, Deutschland. Uber alles.” Sung in her sweet soprano with its endearing quaver. Dust, dust, dust and then a little dance and a moment of singing. “You like, Dr. Faux?” she would say. “Yes, oh, yes. Trix. Now do the top shelf, Trix! The top shelf over here near Dr. Faux.” And she would smile and climb a little ladder that Dr. Faux had made just for her. Until Deepak Chopra took her away. Dr. Faux hears that she lives in La Jolla, California now and is Deep The Chop’s personal assistant, in his minimalist office, buys his mousse, trims his bonsai. It’s more than Dr. Faux can bear. Military school, something about military school and shipping your son off off to military school. Trouble with your wife, who is…oh, what is the word? Dr. Faux is drawing a blank. Loving! Your wife is loving! That’s it. Dr. Faux has remembered the word. Is loving toward your son and wants him to stay…oh, another word that …Dr. Faux is so forgetful today…to stay home! Home! A very strange concept, home. Your wife wants your son to stay home. Pay attention! Dr. Faux does not have the time nor is his compensation sufficient to speak adequately of his loathing for military schools, the militaristic. “Deutschland, Deutsch….” But in your case, your son’s case, military school could be advantageous for your son for it would remove him from your presence for a while. Once he was at Dark Towers Academy, he could run away and you could panic for a week or so while you searched for your son and thought about the idiocy that sent him away. And then perhaps you could come to your senses and allow the boy to …oh, that word again. What is it? Yes, home, come home and stay home where he belongs! Allow the boy to stay home, with his family. Pay attention. Go to your dresser, where your haircare products are so carefully placed. Your hairbrush and comb, that pomade that’s hard to find these days but that the ladies seem to love. Now, take the brush, the heavy one, take the brush and with great force hit yourself in the head, several times and repeat after Dr. Faux, “Bad, bad, bad.” Try not to enjoy it; it’s a correction without sexual implications. You are the problem in your home; change your ways. Your son needs a loving father.
And send a generous donation to Dr. Faux in care of this publication and he will send you his latest book, Little Spiky Thing: Why Should Opus Dei Have All The Fun?
Dear Dr. Faux,
This might not be right up your alley, but a group of us at work are trying to win the company prize for best decorated Halloween cube. Unfortunately, one of our team members is refusing to participate because she believes Halloween is" the devil’s work." No matter how much we try to convince her otherwise, she is adamant, and says she will report us to the HR department for creating a “hostile work environment.” Should we stop trying to compete in the contest and stay out of potential trouble, or go ahead with the decorations and defend our actions to HR later, if need be? Please answer right away – Halloween is almost upon us!
Please sign me,
Cube Conundrum in California
Dear Cube Conundrum,
Dr. Faux had to ask a new neighbor here at Whisper Valley Trailer Park the meaning of “cube” in the context of the work environment. His neighbor once worked for a large health maintenance organization, a non-profit, but was fired for asking for water. She said that she had also asked—as a writer in the marketing department—for bandages for her bleeding fingers. This poor soul, only twenty-eight but with completely white hair, explained that “cube,” is from “cubicle,” and means a partitioned area where pain can be administered privately. A desk, leg irons, computer but no water, she said. Dr. Faux believes that she was speaking metaphorically, hyperbolically; but she was difficult to understand because of her tremors. “Partitioned,” she said, repeatedly. She also said that her supervisor would occasionally walk down the corridor between the cubes—cubes, very strange word—carrying a tray of glasses and a pitcher of water, with tinklng ice cubes—certainly Dr. Faux’s understanding of “cube”—while chanting, “Five more pages and water. Dum, de, dum. Five more pages and water.” Dr. Faux was getting more information than he had requested, but he didn’t want to interrupt his trailer park neighbor. Because of his medical training, Dr. Faux has always known that patients who are delirious should not be restrained for fear of fractures. So he sat on the floor with her and fed her vodka using a sponge. “Kaiser, Kaiser…” she kept repeating. A reference to an early German leader and Germanic discipline and cruelty would be Dr. Faux’s assumption.* Your question, something about decorating a cube. Why would you do that? Best decorated cube? Even though Dr. Faux now understands the meaning of “cube” as it applies to the work environment, he doesn’t understand why a cube should be decorated. It would be like decorating a crucifix or the iron maiden or the rack. Pay attention. Take the time that it would take to decorate your cube—such a strange word—and find the nearest bar, have a drink, a drink of vodka. And your “team member” is that correct? Dr. Faux just looked at your letter again…so very strange, these locutions…your team member says that Halloween is the devil’s work. But consider this. She also believes, it must be assumed, that Jesus Christ died for her sins. Why would you think of attempting to reason with a person who believes such? Without using hand signals or mime? Or drawing with crayons? And for her, yes, Halloween is the devil’s work, so stay away from her and forget about decorating your cube—such a strange word—and go have a drink, anything with alcohol except anti-freeze. Pay attention. You must keep some alcohol in your desk, in your cube, but not anti-freeze. Cube, cube, so very strange.
And send a generous donation to Dr. Faux. He will send you nothing in return, for he has already given you his all.
*It's more likely that the unfortunate young woman was referring to Kaiser Permanente, an HMO based in Oakland, California..—Ed.