Slight Delay in Programming

Shut Up, It's Still Wednesday For 2 More Hours

Dudes, I am sooooo tired right now. So you know how I always say you should probably do the opposite of whatever I say? I mean it this time. Except for what I just said about doing the opposite of what I said. Don't do the opposite of that. Or maybe you should.

In other words, the advice column will be fairly short this week.

Dear Amalah,

First I want to say that I wish you were around when I was growing up, because Dear Abby and Ann Landers were on crack (but just part of the time). You ROCK!

There is a supervisor where I work who wears an nauseatingly obscene amount of cologne. The stench is so strong that you can smell him before he gets out of his car. I believe his odor of choice is "Smell me and die but don't forget that I'm a REAL MAN" by Pepe LePew. He must marinate himself in it! Dogs wail, plants wilt and paint peels in his wake. However, the upswing is that you can smell him before you see him. That gives you time to get off the internet and look like you're doing REAL work.

My problem is that because "Mr. Stinky" is my supervisor I'm not sure how to approach him with this dilemma. Do you have any ideas on how I can get him to kick it down a notch or two? I'm afraid that I'll get fired if I hose him down. Plus the nausea, nose pinching and running in the other direction are interfering with my job performance.

-Nauseas Nelly

Ah yes. Those stinkpots with their crap colognes. From where I sit, you've got three options:

1) For his next birthday, give him a bottle of nice, inoffensive cologne. I suggest Marc Jacobs or something by Ralph Lauren. Tamper with the spritzer so it only pumps the sheerest, lightest mist.

2) Be honest. From a substantial distance, sniff the air and try to identify the cologne (although refrain from calling it Eau de Skunkbutt or something). Tell him that cologne is not to be smelled from that kind of range. Recite the gospel of Kyan: Spray, Delay, and Walk Away. Oh Kyan.

3) Give in to the nausea and puke on his shoes. Tell him you're pregnant and extremely sensitive to smells and any cologne (ANY!) will cause you to vomit on the wearer. Then be pregnant for like, ever. Men don't know, so you'll be good.


Hi. I'm serioulsy how wondering how I could get a job like you have? I work in the "glamorous" world of newspaper copy editing/design. A job with sane hours (NOT 4 p.m. to midnight, Wednesday-Thursday off) sounds really good right now.

Help, SG


(wipes tear)


How to get a job like mine? Hmm, let's think. First, bend over. Second, grab your ankles. Third...okay, okay. I kid. My job definitely sounds better than yours.

And you sound a lot like me. I started out in college thinking I'd do journalism/reporting/copy editing/somesuch. Although really? The image I had of journalism? Was not quite right. I think I may have had journalism mixed up with being a Saturday Night Live staff writer. Or head writer even.

But I pursued it. At Penn State I got a great job as a reporter at the Daily Collegian, a totally amazing college paper. If you were any good, it could be a fast track to The Washington Post or The New York Times. I was thrilled. I met the editor-in-chief and I swear to god, I totally eyed her up and was all, "Move over, bitch." Delightful.

My first assignment was a story on some student body president at some satellite campus who was promising to shave his head if students raised some obscene amount of money for THON, a mostly-Greek-sponsored 48-hour dance marathon for charity. Um, whoo? I couldn't get the guy on the phone. I kept calling and leaving messages with his pothead roommate and getting more and more irritated with the bizarre long-distance code procedure the Collegian's offices used. Reporters weren't allowed to use their own phones to talk to sources, so I could only give Pothead Longhair the newsroom phone number. Which meant calling and then sitting. I hated both the calling and the sitting. I hated the newsroom.

Two weeks later, I still hadn't written the story. I emailed my editor and told her my dad was sick and I'd be spending weekends at home all semester and quit. And I was shaken. I wasn't willing to pay my dues. I didn't want to be a reporter. I didn't want Saturday deadlines or a reporting beat of Chamber of Commerce committee meetings.

So I changed my mind and my major. I got an internship at a non-profit educational publishing company in the classified ads department. It paid actual cash money. It was copy-editing and proofreading and scary telephone sales. It was boring. But it meant I had all the great resume buzzwords: publishing, editing, business writing, marketing, direct mail, blah blah talkyspeak.

So after a year I started applying to every job in sight. I got a job as an editorial assistant with a financial newsletter publishers. About nine months later Jason talked me into coming with him to a start-up company as a technical writer, a decision I would come to intensely regret, as it led me to three of the suckiest, crappiest, tamponiest jobs I have ever held.

The first company basically locked all its employees out one morning, the second changed my title every four weeks and eventually laid me off. The third...well, it's too awful to speak of, really. I took it in a state of "oh my god my severance has run out and unemployment doesn't pay for shit and mortgage mortgage mortgage" and regretted it immediately. I actually CRIED in the BATHROOM on MULTIPLE OCCASIONS at that job. (HELPFUL HINT #1: If you are going on crying jags at your job? You need to QUIT. Seriously.)

But then my old boss from the newsletter publisher emailed me. (HELPFUL HINT #2: Stay friends with as many old bosses and coworkers as possible.) There was an editorial opening. Would I be interested?

It took five days for the background check and whatnot to clear, and the day it did? I packed up my desk and walked the FUCK OUT. It was terrifying, but only because that job had made me feel SO TRAPPED and SO WORTHLESS that I thought the petty executives would like, hunt me down and call my new company and make them fire me or something. It's like battered employee syndrome.

And here we are now, almost three years later.

So for S.G., she of the shitty hours and soul-sucking late night copy desk, there's just one thing to say: Keep looking. Move on. Don't be afraid to quit and job hop and make mistakes and apply repeatedly for the same dream job even though you've been rejected three times already. We've all had shittastic jobs, but it all works out.

Usually. I mean, some people are just stupid and have to stay in their shittastic jobs, because no other company would ever hire them. Like many, many, MANY people I personally work with. Gah. But that's not you. I can tell.

Dear Amy,

I read in the news that SODA is now causing cancer. Dude, I drink so many cans of Diet Pepsi (sorry Diet Coke lovers, er loavers), a day. Is it true? Am I going to die?

Or is soda the New Scare? Like the Olsen Twins.

Love, Lauren

Yes, probably.

Besides, what the fuck doesn't cause cancer these days? Raw fooding, possibly, unless you get the radishes that are all tainted with pesticides and then there's the big Radish Scare of 2004 but even untainted organic radishes taste like shit raw.

Unless you're the Olsen Twins, who don't eat ever. Because they really, really want and need to stay little girls for so many reasons and never grow up, but all the damn raw radishes in the world ain't gonna stop that train wreck.

Dear Amalah,

My husband just started phase I of the South Beach Diet, which means no carbs, sugar, fruit or alcohol of any kind for two weeks. I'm trying to be supportive and not audibly moan over delicious, delicious baked goods or eat sugar right out of the sugar bowl, but does it make me a bad wife to drink in front of him? Or just an alcoholic?

Love, Amalah

Bitch, it took you two vodkas just to get through this column, so your question is kind of moot at this point, isn't it?

Enjoy being fat while he loses weight. And then enjoy starting phase I after he's already moved on to phase II and gets your bratty ass back big-time.

Want good quality free advice for a nominal fee? Have you always dreamed of seeing your name in lights? Then send all your real and made-up problems to amy[at] Now with 43% less judging!



Oh, you said talkyspeak!

And I TOTALLY had that tampony job at an internet startup company as "Counsel and Director of Corporate Communications" (your guess is as good as mine as to exactly what that meant) that I quit a really quality law firm job to go to. Stupid, stupid Martha.

And I now loave Lauren. Because Diet Pepsi (about 7 cans per day) is my bestest bestest friend.

your personal handmaiden now and forever

When you wrote "fairly short" I was prepared for a two-line Q and a one syllable A. Instead . . ??!!! AbonDANza! Oh my Queen-- how you under promise and over deliver.


I, too, had a "communications" job. I was Director of Communications for a small non-profit. Five years later and I still have no idea what that job was all about.


I am at that job where my title changes every 4 weeks. It's evil. And my current title? Should probably be "Office Bitch".


Really, Soda causes cancer?

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