A Little Advice

“Take my advice, Don’t listen to me,” is the first line in the old song, “Hippie Dream,” whined by Neil Young. Most people love or hate Neil and/or his music. Naturally your author is somewhere in the middle, and Mr. Young has penned some unforgettable lyrics.

So in that same spirit, we decided to write an advice column this morning, inspired by the good natured ribbing of a friend. My recommendation would be to heed our advice and ignore it in equal measure.

Why should you listen to advice? Because you have a first class intelligence. A first class intelligence hears the truth, recognizes it as truth and then acts on it. A second class intelligence hears the truth and then verifies it through personal experience. A third class intelligence must repeat the lesson. We all want to fly first class.

Why should you ignore advice? Because much of it has less to do with supporting you and more to do with validating the experience of the giver. Sometimes advice is a passive aggressive hook baited with an innocent suggestion, and for the large number of contrarians who read this column, any sentence beginning with the words “you should” or “what I would do” are automatically suspect.

Should you take advice on relationships? Maybe. It depends on the track record of the giver. If your well meaning friend is on her fourth marriage, simple math would suggest that her best advice is more likely to be on finding a good divorce lawyer rather than connubial bliss. Besides, there are thousands of books available on the subject, though their best advice may very well be on how to get a book published.

If you’re too busy to read and you don’t have any happily married friends to advise you, perhaps I can save you some time. There are two kinds of relationships. For the scientifically minded, we’ll call them ionic and covalent, like the chemical reactions.

In an ionic bond, one molecule has a positive charge and the other, negative. Think of sodium chloride, or table salt. In an ionic relationship, both parties “need” something. “He completes me,” is the motto of the ionic relationship and “opposites attract” is the rallying cry. Ionic bonds tend to be soluble in water, like salt, and ionic relationships have a tendency to dissolve in stormy weather.

In a covalent bond, the molecules are not attracted by a missing electron. Instead, they share a pair of electrons equally. Think of carbon, which has an extremely strong bond. Apply enough pressure and you may produce a diamond.

In practice it’s difficult, at a glance, to tell a lump of rock salt from a diamond in the rough . That’s what dating is for. Just don’t marry the first lump that comes along before you weather the first storm.

We’ll bring our experimental counseling session to a close today with some practical advice. Think back a few weeks ago when you were complaining about how much rain we were getting. Betcha wouldn’t mind a shower or two right now. But you’re not going to get one for a while, not until that big high pressure dome over the southeast decides to move on.

Here’s the practical advice: Pray for rain. Get your property fire wise right now. This dry spell could last a while. Rake those leaves and trim that brush and clean out those gutters.

Here’s some advice for the future: Don’t complain about the rain, ever again and for the rest of your life. Develop the art of gratitude. Some people believe this may actually attract rain. But even if it doesn’t, the art of gratitude makes you a much nicer person to be around on a rainy day.

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