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,

I was so carefree as a child. I always had a positive attitude, was quick to laugh, had lots of friends, really loved my life, etc. But lately I’m not feeling quite as passionate as I once did. What can I do to be in love with my life again?


Want Sum Passion

Dear Older and Stupider,

Ever stop to think that while you’re whining about lack of passion, there are people who don’t even have clean water to drink? How’s that for lack of passion? I bet if you had to start each day with a mocha giardia latte, you’d be begging for your old, passionless life back.

Dear Bad Guru,

Lately I’ve been having horribly self-destructive thoughts. I’m afraid I’m going to do something drastic if I don’t get help. Please give me some guidance. I’m actually a bit desperate.


Rope’s End in Raleigh

Dear Whomever,

Look, I need to apologize for that last answer. I had just hung up the phone with my mother, and she can be a total – doesn’t matter. Really, it doesn’t. Or it shouldn’t. The things she says to me shouldn’t matter. I know this. And yet I let her get to me.

“Why don’t you ever call me? How come I always have to call you?”

Why? Because you call me every freakin’ day, that’s why. And you call before I’m even awake. Look, guru-ing is not exactly a 9-to-5, so yes, sometimes I keep late hours, and I sleep in. You know this. I’ve told you this. A lot. Why do you keep throwing it back in my face? I swear I’m adopted.

Dear Bad Guru,

I saw you speak at my community center recently, and you were awesome. Are you currently taking on new followers? I’m insanely wealthy and have been told that my only faults are extreme generosity and chronic gullibility. How can I sign up?


Eager in Evansville

Dear Blahblah,

See, the thing is, I bet even the Buddha had it up to freakin’ here with his mother at times. Especially when she got all “Get out from under that Bodhi tree and get a job” or “If you keep sitting like that your legs will freeze that way” or “Oh, now you’re some sort of bodhisattva? Bozo-sattva, more like!”

Perfect. Now she’s texting me again. What the hell was I thinking getting her an iPhone for Christmas?

Dear Bad Guru,

Why is it so hard to be happy? I have everything I could want, at least materially speaking, but I’m just not happy. What should I do? Where should I start? Why is true happiness so elusive?


Bummed Out in Boston

Dear Yeahyeahyeah,

“GU-RU? More like POO-RU :-)”

This is the sort of thing that passes for a joke from my mother. She sends me these texts all day long. It’s not like she doesn’t have better things to do, like maybe calling up my brother and telling him how to run his life.

Oh, look – here’s another one from her: “Q: How many gurus does it take to change a light bulb? A: Just one, but the light bulb has to be an insecure ninny willing to hand its personal power over to a bathrobe-wearing shyster.”

God help us all when she figures out how to use Twitter.

Dear Mr. B. Guru,

I’ve contacted you several times by phone, but each time I introduced myself you yelled, “Yeah, prank calls are really funny, Mom,” and then hung up on me. So I’m reaching out in this forum. Miss Winfrey is a huge fan and has specifically requested you for your own show on the Oprah Winfrey Network. You’d have complete editorial control and a salary with so many zeros that I’m not able to write it out without my wrist cramping. Please contact me at once regarding this matter. We need to make a decision soon, and if you aren’t interested we’ll need to offer this slot to other gurus.


Marge Blankenship, Oprahland

Dear Whoever,

OK, I just had a long talk with her, and I said some things that I was hoping I wouldn’t say. But, you know, heat of the moment and all that. I suggested we agree to disagree, but she was not agreeable to that. We have our annual family reunion coming up, and it’s probably best that I skip this one. Don’t want to risk a repeat of last year. I’m still trying to get the baba ghanoush stains out of my good turban.

Sorry if I was a bit distracted this week. I hope I answered all of your questions in a satisfying manner.

Barry Smith’s column appears Mondays in The Aspen Times. Ask the Bad Guru a question at

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