Dear Bad Guru | AspenTimes.com

Dear Bad Guru

Dear Bad Guru,

How's it going?

Signed,

Alex in Cambridge

Dear Alex,

Well, that's a very kind question. Usually nobody takes the time to inquire into my well-being. It's generally all "self-involved first-world crisis that I think is spiritual in nature" this and "petty annoyance that I'm making way too big a deal of" that. True, this is an advice column, but still.

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So, since you asked, things are actually going quite well. My new book, "G to the U to the R to the U: The Hip Hop Guide to Spirituality," is due out next month. I'll be embarking on a multi-city tour supporting it, and I'll be holding my book signings with the accompaniment of a musician, having just begrudgingly sealed a partnership with DJ Whatshisface. I don't fully understand how someone who just plays records gets to be called a "musician," but the PR people tell me it's necessary to be speaking over unbearable amounts of bass if I want to reach a new generation.

As it happens, this event coincides with the printing of the 20th-anniversary edition of my "best selling" early-'90s classic, "Putting the Guru in Gruunge — Angst, Alienation and Flannel Turbans: How to Heal Your Soul While Banging Your Head." And yes, the misspelling of "grunge" is intentional. I had to fudge it a little to get my wordplay to work. The whole "putting the 'thing' in the 'thing that contains some of the same letters'" deal was huge in the new-age-book-publishing world in the '90s, and many otherwise crappy books flourished on this gimmick alone. Think of Deepak Chopra's embarrassingly pandering — yet wildly successful — attempt to reach the Latino market, "Putting the Carne in Reincarnation: How to Turn the Chile Peppers of Tribulations Into the Burrito of Progress." My God, he made a killing on that outing. I mean, the merchandising alone. Ugh. And yes, really long subtitles also were deemed a necessity back then. You literally could graph how your subtitle word count increased your sales.

Anyway, it's coming back (my book, not his — his never actually went away) after being out of print for a decade, and I'm quite delighted. This expanded edition includes never-before-seen photographs and a foreword by Lord Veg Ha, a spiritual teacher whose name just happens to contain the exact same letters as Dave Grohl. Not to complain, but the publishers once again denied me the pop-up section, claiming that the technology (cough — budget — cough) just wasn't available. This is a shame, because until you've seen the Law of Karma represented in pop-up form, you really haven't fully experienced it. Also, this new edition will be printed on paper that's been triple-recycled, cardboard that's been turned into paper towels that's been turned into the pages of my book. So if it's not absorbing, at least it'll be absorbent. Ha! Awww, man — I wish I'd thought of that before now. I totally could have worked that into the subtitle.

But what's really exciting is that, right on the heels of the announcement of the new iPad models, my first app will be launching this week! It's called "iWas?" Using the new fingerprint-scanning feature, the free download will allow the user to discover their two most recent incarnations by merely slapping their hand down on the screen. With the Pro version, you get access to unlimited past lives as well as seamless social-media integration, so you'll be able to easily create a Facebook page for each of your previous yous, tweet in their name, set up a Pinterest board for them and so on. The Pro version also is optimized for retina display.

There are a few other things in the works professionally, such as a Bad Guru fragrance line (Scents for Sentients). I'm also working on breaking into the baby-food market with a peas, carrots and sandalwood mix we're calling "Ohmmm Nommm Nommm." There are a few biotech patents in the pipeline, but I'm not at liberty to talk about them yet.

On a personal note, I broke up with my girlfriend, which sucks, but whatever.

Dear Bad Guru,

Hi. Me again. Sorry, I accidentally sent in that last question before I had finished typing it. I meant to write, "How's it going to affect me — spiritually, that is — if I pair the wrong wine with the monkfish I'm serving at my dinner party tonight?"

Signed,

Alex in Cambridge

Dear Alex,

Sigh.

Barry Smith's column appears Mondays. More at http://www.barry smith.com.

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