Barry Smith: Irrelativity |

Barry Smith: Irrelativity

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

Dear Bad Guru,

Should I stay or should I go?

– Sherri, Kansas


A great thinker once said, “Wherever you go, there you are.” (Sorry I can’t attribute this quote properly – my Internet is currently down.) The act of staying or going is merely a physical relocation of your spiritual essence. Granted, in the physical sense the differences seem very real. One action clearly will lead to trouble, whereas the alternative easily can result in two times as much. Tough situation. Or so it seems.

There’s really only one option – you should do both.

• • • •

Dear Bad Guru,

Do you know the way to San Jose?

– Wilhelm, Stuttgart, Germany


Another great example of a high concept couched in a simplistic question. In order to move through our lives, we constantly must be aware of where we are and how it relates to where we want to be. If San Jose is your destination – and I mean “San Jose” in the spiritual sense – then knowing the way is the most fundamental requirement of successfully completing your journey. All the rest – the packing, driving, stopping for snacks, finding parking, etc. – are mere details on your lifelong quest for your inner “San Jose.”

However, if you’re actually wanting to know how to get to San Jose, Calif., you should probably just MapQuest it. I’d do it for you, but my Internet repair guy doesn’t seem to want to return my call.

• • • •

Dear Bad Guru,

How much is that doggie in the window?

– Elsie, Seattle


Everything comes at a cost. The “doggie,” that item of your current, fleeting desire, will always cost much more than the advertised price. Often we fail to see beyond our whims, willfully denying the price we must pay for our actions. Sure, the sign may say “Doggies – $10,” but what about vet bills, food, occasional boarding and replacing your neighbor’s trampoline that your doggie chews a hole through? Our culture is a minefield of temptation, and the sticker price is rarely what you’ll actually be paying.

Plus, thoughtlessly giving in to your desires with no weighing of consequences will produce not an answer but more questions. Like, “Who let the dogs out?” “Where oh where has my little dog gone?” And so on.

Get a cat. They’re easy. And you usually can pick one up for free.

• • • •

Dear Bad Guru,

Do you believe in magic?

– Yolanda, North Dakota


Funny story. Last month I would have given you the answer I always give to this question – “I believe in miracles, not magic” – but I just saw this guy, Eric, do a magic show at a bar in Aspen, and I’m having to rethink my stance. I swear he made this coin totally disappear from one hand and reappear in the other. Then it went back again! I was sitting really close, too, so if it was just a trick, I would have been able to tell.

Bad Guru doesn’t usually go to bars, but because my Internet has been down (for a seeming eternity), I was unable to stream anything on Netflix, so I thought I’d enjoy a night on the town. Oh! And then he made a card of my choice disappear – completely vanish from the deck – only to show up in his pocket. Wow.

• • • •

Dear Bad Guru,

Have you ever been mellow?

– Rita, Dallas


Indeed. It was an important part of my spiritual path. I was mellow from 1977 to 1979.

• • • •

Dear Bad Guru,

Who are you? Who, who? Who, who?

– Pete, London


I am he. As you are he. As you are me. And we are all together. Pretty heavy, right?

No, only joking. I’m merely a human being doing the best I can, like all of us. I just happen to have a turban and know more than you do.

• • • •

Dear Bad Guru,

Why can’t we be friends?

– Lucas, Syracuse


The basis for a harmonious life is friendship, which is why Bad Guru only has friends. Even those who consider themselves my enemy. There’s no reason we can’t be friends. We are friends.

If, however, you’re referring to us being Facebook friends, well, I’ll get to my pending friend requests just as soon as I have Internet again. My Internet provider is in serious danger of a cosmic de-friending.