Barry Smith: Wealth of wisdom from the Bad Guru |

Barry Smith: Wealth of wisdom from the Bad Guru

Barry Smith

Dear Bad Guru,

As a longtime reader, I’ve always wondered if these questions are sent in by real people or if they’re just made up by you and your marketing team to give you an excuse to talk about some new product you’re selling. Please help.

Shelly in Kansas City

Dear Shelly,

Funny you should mention it, as one of the chapters in my brand-new book deals with this very topic.

Dear Bad Guru,

You have a new book? That’s so exciting. Will you please tell us all about it?

Timothy in Vancouver

Dear Timothy,

Well, I was going to wait until a bit later, but I do feel a cosmic imperative to answer questions as they’re asked, so, from the official press release:

“The Sound of One Thumb Tweeting,” published by Gee-You-Are-You Publishing, will be released Friday.

More than 20 years in the making, “One Thumb” is the definitive work of Gilbert Purvis, known to his fans and devotees as The Bad Guru.

“The question of how to balance spirituality and technology is one that’s foremost on the modern seeker’s mind,” Purvis says. “My book will serve as a road map to guide you through this challenging terrain.”

Pre-orders are still being accepted.

Dear Bad Guru,

Is your name really Gilbert Purvis? Not to be shallow or anything, but I’m not sure I can accept any spiritual guidance from someone named Gilbert Purvis, even if it’s useful spiritual guidance.

Sarah in Nashville

Dear Sarah,

OK, that was an oversight. It was made very clear in the contract that they weren’t to use that name, but they obviously had an intern writing the press release.

That name — the one you just mentioned — is my “given” name, but it isn’t my “real” name. “Bad Guru” is the name that was revealed to me many years ago during a seven-day vision quest/cruise in Belize. It is my “real” name. So “real” that if I didn’t enjoy tax-free status, it’s the name that would be on my return.

I prefer not to focus on that, though. I’d much rather discuss my book, which I’m feeling very positive about. Especially Chapter 8, “Third Eye Lasik: Worth Looking Into, or Looking Out For?” which deals with the dangers of modern medical procedures that claim to promote more spirituality and insight. Someone should ask me a question about that.

Dear Bad Guru,

I read your column religiously, which seems like an appropriate way to read a spiritual advice column. But I realize now that I always assumed that the advice I was getting was not coming from someone named Gilbert Purvis. This is kind of a game changer. Why did you lie to us?

Monique in Bozeman

Dear Monique,

Chapter 4, “Apps or Naps?” addresses this question perfectly. I’d like to share a short excerpt from …

Dear Bad Guru,

Sorry to interrupt, but I get the feeling you’re avoiding that last question.

However, I’m now convinced that maybe you aren’t making these questions up and that they are written by actual people. So, that’s cool. Still — Gilbert Purvis? Really?

Shelly in Kansas City

Dear Monique,

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, a brief excerpt:

“What’s the first thing you do when your computer starts to get sluggish? You restart it. The human body has an equivalent. It’s the afternoon nap. And as your hardware gets a little older, you may even need to reboot several times a day. Otherwise you’ll find yourself on the phone with tech support. Spiritual tech support, that is.”

Dear Gilbert Purvis,

I’m wondering — uh — wait, I totally forgot my question. It was about karma or something, I think. It’ll come to me. It’s just that whole name thing got me all distracted. Not that there’s anything wrong with each of those names in and of themselves. It’s just that the combination is so, I don’t know, unspiritual. Is there such a thing? Unspiritual?

I can’t remember my original question, so I guess I’ll have to go with that one for now.

Raymond in Santa Cruz

Dear Raymond,

Ahem —

From Chapter 13, “Can’t See the for the”:

“Our world is increasingly fast-paced, and distraction is now our main impediment to spiritual growth.”

Dear Bad Goober,

Gilly? Silly Gilly Smelly Pervy Purvis? It’s me, Al Codswell! Remember? From Racine Junior High? I always wondered what you got up to. Man, the swirlies we used to give you! Epic! I guess that’s why you have to wear that turban now, huh? Lol. Hey, how the hell are you?

Big Al (still) in Racine

Dear Al,

Sigh —

Anyway, the book comes out Friday. Look for me at your local bookstore this summer.

Barry Smith’s column appears Mondays. Bad Guru’s column appears occasionally. More at