Dear Dr. Faux:
I’ve come to the point where I wonder if it’s worth getting excited over national and world events when, as individuals, we can do so little to affect change. On the other hand, we are in a time of great upheaval, and to do nothing doesn’t seem smart either. How do you reconcile this dilemma? Please sign me,
Overwhelmed in Omaha
You mean “effect change” not “affect change.” “Effect” as a verb means bring into existence. So “bring change into existence” is what you mean. Pay attention. Dr. Faux is not off the subject; Dr. Faux is never off the subject. As individuals we can control very little. Grammar and not spitting in public; that’s about it. The rest has been given over to thieves. The power company will not turn on Dr. Faux’s lights; he is going blind. They claim a missed payment. Dr. Faux is sure that he mailed a check. He must borrow his neighbor’s telephone to call the power company and once he gets through he is put on hold, the purgatory of hold, day after day; and he has no lights. If Dr. Faux can finally reach a human at the Department of Water and Power and get his power turned on he will have effected change: from darkness to light. He will be able to read the letters sent him without missing salient points and to answer them in full. He will be able to find the cooler where he keeps the ice for his vodka without kicking Muffins and Tom-Tom, his dear cats, into deeper senility. And most importantly he will be able to find his vodka and to toast the change that he can effect. Nothing else matters.
And send for Dr. Faux’s latest book, "Spare Change: A Minimalist’s Approach
Dear Dr. Faux:
Someone I used to work with has contacted me to ask if I would be interested in making a high five-figure investment in his new business. He says he’s got a no-lose business plan to convert plastic waste in the ocean into usable energy. I believe in helping the environment, and helping my bottom line, if this thing works. He was always a smart guy. I’m on the verge of investing, but I wanted to see what you think, first. Please sign me,
Environmentally-minded in Evansville
Dr. Faux checked the address on the envelope to see if a letter to Suze Orman had reached Dr. Faux by mistake. Dr. Faux has been having trouble with the mails. Suze Orman is that TV financial advisor with the large teeth. Dr. Faux’s mail carrier smokes pot and sometimes spends his days at a local karaoke bar rather than on his mail route. And when he finally chooses to get to his route, he is very casual when reading addresses. Once Dr. Faux received a letter addressed to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. But, no, your letter was addressed to Dr. Faux. Pay attention. Why would you send such a question to Dr. Faux? Dr. Faux lives in an ancient Airstream trailer and is temporarily without power because of financial malfeasance at the power company. Suze Orman answers this kind of question. Dr. Faux wonders if her financial acumen has something to do with the arrangement of her teeth. Both her upper and lower teeth are visible most of the time, and not because she never closes her mouth. She has an arrangement of teeth seen in very few people—the upper and lower teeth omnipresent. Dr. Faux must stick out his lower jaw and engage the muscles of his lower lip in order to display his lower teeth, something that he chooses not to do because of the discoloration of those teeth and indeed all of his teeth from years of cigar smoking when he had a practice in Beverly Hills and was making money before Deep the Chop and Tony Robbins and Marianne Williamson and similar charlatans stole his clients. One more thought about Suze Orman and her type before Dr. Faux addresses your question: Take a moment and consider those people whose dentition allows for the display of both upper and lower teeth without the muscular effort that Dr. Faux described. Who are these people and should we be concerned? Dr. Faux once knew a person named Tiffany who had a similar arrangement of teeth, and she also had money. This question came to Dr. Faux when he first read your letter last evening after a sip or three of vodka. Dr. Faux has never met a poor person with such dentition. One of life’s imponderables; Dr. Faux does not claim omniscience. Pay attention. Dr. Faux will attempt to help you with your financial question even though he is poor. Dr. Faux believes in full disclosure. He has eight dollars in his wallet and a change-jar under his bed—The Vodka Fund. But Dr. Faux will make an effort. He recognizes a single question that you must ask your former co-worker “smart guy” before you invest: How would the plastic waste be collected from the ocean? And “surfers” would not be an acceptable answer. Nor would “beachcombers” or “inept fisherman.” And in reading your letter again, Dr. Faux notes the presence of the phrase “no-lose” regarding this investment. He had missed that wording the first time through; the light from his Coleman lantern is insufficient for careful reading—a certain problem with inefficiencies at the power company have left Dr. Faux with a temporary loss of power, and he is dependent on a light source better suited for camping and the application of bug repellent and fish gutting. But “no-lose,” that phrase leaps out at Dr. Faux even as the Coleman hisses and he squints through his 99 Cent Store cheaters. Yes, Dr. Faux will nevertheless translate: “No-lose” means lose. The meaning of “no-lose” in investment terms is lose. Walk on by.
And send for a recent zero-selling book by Dr. Faux: "My What Big Teeth You Have: Affluence and Dentition, The Untold Story"