Barry Smith: Irrelativity

Barry Smith
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

Dear Bad Guru,

I opened a fortune cookie with no fortune in it. Some of the friends I was eating with said it meant my fortune was unwritten, that I was a big blank slate and that that was good. The others said it was a terrible omen and that I may already be dead for all I know.

Please settle this MSG-fueled debate.

Moo Goo Guy, San Francisco

Dear Guy,

Let’s think this one this through – you have just broken your cookie in half to find that it does not have some scrap of paper baked into it. Any other time this would be a good thing. It is only your expectation that causes your confusion and disappointment. The lack of a fortune is, in truth, a nonmatter that you make matter, leaving you right back where you started – sitting there with a cookie in your hand, which isn’t so bad.

Bad Guru thinks that getting a fortuneless cookie falls smack dab in the middle of good and bad. It is, in essence, the most unportentous of all possibly occurrences: a spiritual and culinary nonissue

The only potential downside is that it leaves you without a fortune-based comment with which to amuse your fellow diners. Though you could just say “Hey, I have no fortune … in bed.”

• • • •

Dear Bad Guru,

I’m shopping for a new car, and I’m thinking that I want to get one that’s “spiritual.” Is this possible? I mean, hybrids are pretty cool, but are they spiritual?

What kind of car do you drive, anyway?

Elwood, Detroit

Dear Elwood,

Material objects are not inherently spiritual or unspiritual – it all depends on how they’re used.

For example, a gun can be used for destruction and evil, but it can also be used to hang over your fireplace, thus adding to the rustic feng shui of your living room. A simple hammer, the kind you probably have in your garage, could be used to smash a Fox News personality repeatedly in the back of the head. It also could be used for bad things.

So just get a car that gets good mileage and allow your overapplication of New Age bumper stickers to demonstrate how enlightened you are.

As for the Bad Guru, my vehicle of choice is a rickshaw, one that I pull myself in. This is the transportation equivalent of “one hand clapping.”

• • • •

Dear Bad Guru,

Last month I got one of those zen sandboxes, the kind with the bamboo rake and the one big rock. I was getting all into it, making soothing patterns and stuff, but then my cat discovered it. And she was not using it to achieve a state of inner calm, if you know what I mean. Well, now that I think about it, I guess she sorta was. And then the dog suddenly gets interested in the sandbox, specifically the cat’s daily contribution to it. Now there’s sand all over the house and my zen sandbox is just an awful cluttered lumpy, stinky mess.

So now whenever I’m raking in the sandbox, starting to feel kinda good about myself, the cat and the dog barge in and dig, crap, eat and roll around in it. And then I realized, hey, this all feels oddly familiar.

My pets my reincarnated parents, aren’t they?

Sandy in Miama

Dear Sandy,

You know that saying, “You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friends’ nose?” Well, this isn’t true with your family. As it happens, you CAN pick your family’s nose. In fact, you are karmically bound to do so.

Meaning that you have your (metaphorical) fingers up one another’s (metaphorical) nostrils for many lifetimes, so you’d better just settle into it. You all just keep coming back in different configurations – your dad might have been your sister, your son your mother, your brother your wife and yes, your pets your parents.

Be careful with this knowledge. This may seem like a good time to get a little revenge on “mom” and “dad” by making them wear stupid doggie sweaters and driving them crazy with the laser pointer, but remember that you never know what the next arrangement will be, so build up the karma points while you can. Bad Guru suggests long walks, lots of treats, and change the sand in the zen sandbox regularly.