Dear Uptight Seattleite,I signed up for one of those services where you pay a flat fee and get a weekly delivery of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Problem is, it's always such a random selection. What am I supposed to do with four zucchini, three bushels of "greens," and 37 carrots?City Fruit
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Dear City Fruit,You're not blinded by the garish orange of Safeway carrots. You've opened your eyes to the stumpy, irregular shapes and authentic dusky color of the organic variety, the soil still clinging to the cracks in the unpeeled skin and leafy green tops. Which are of course left intact, not barbarically hacked off by Big Ag to more efficiently jam them into plastic bags. So good on ya, mate. Yes, I did in fact just credit you with being able to hang with even the jauntiest and most international of my expressions. You're welcome. But you're also mired in the outdated consumerist notion that you somehow have a right to choose your own groceries.I recently found myself using Adidas brand deodorant. I'm normally a Tom's of Maine man, but they were sold out at Walgreens. I'm normally a Bartell man, but I was in a hurry. I had no idea Adidas had even started making deodorant. Pretty strange, huh? I guess they haven't been very successful, though, because all the stock was marked way down. That's the only reason I bought a couple of sticks. When you take the lid off, there's an extra piece of plastic molded to the top of the deodorant itself. Very wasteful, but I have to admit it feels luxurious when this piece comes off with a soft whoosh, releasing the pine scent and revealing the deodorant's gently rounded tip. Not that I mind the squared-off edges Tom's has when you first open it. Sharp corners digging into my sensitive underarm skin are a small price to pay for a brand that doesn't use chemicals or try to manipulate me.What does this have to do with your dilemma? Nothing at all—that's my point. Since my purchase came about inadvertently, I have a special—and totally unique—dispensation to enjoy these slick corporate touches with a clear conscience. Your own situation is probably best approached with a juicer.Dear Uptight Seattleite,I know this guy who's a passionate advocate of legalizing marijuana. I don't disagree with him. No one does. But he goes off on these monologues detailing the many excellent reasons that pot should be legal, as if someone is arguing with him. The worst is when he starts piously telling us how much worse booze makes him feel, and how by comparison marijuana is so much less toxic for the body. Are we supposed to congratulate him for getting high instead of drunk every day?Wincing Wendy
Dear Wendy,When I played guitar in jam sessions, people used to complain that I had "erratic rhythm," a condition that turned out actually to be an excess of funk. And that's how I became a bass player. Wait, didn't you just ask me about my musical evolution? OK, I know you didn't do anything of the kind. I just pretended to think that so I could tell you about this old guy we knew when I was a kid. The way to make this guy happy was to give him an excuse to rummage in his junk drawer. "Hey, Don," we'd ask him, "do you happen to have about five feet of stereo wire I could borrow?"His eyes would light up and he'd start rooting around the drawer, taking things out and mumbling about each one. "Glad I got one of these calculators when they were giving them out at the bank that one time," he'd say.Music is my junk drawer, you see, and marijuana legalization is your friend's. It's considered polite, however, to wait for someone to ask before you start rummaging in your own drawer. That's what I would tell your friend. But he didn't write in. You did. So what can you do? That's a great question. Perhaps you should first mull over the question of whether or not it's possible to do anything at all. Can you really change another human being? Please let me know how it goes. I'd be happy to provide more mulling points as you get further along in the process.* * *On the recent topic of dangerously inconsiderate drivers, I'd like to share a suggestion sent in by creative reader Mary G.: "I like to carry a rolled-up magazine and give a thump on the fender to a car that whisks by me too close. Always makes them slam on the brakes wondering what's wrong. I walk on like nothing happened." Thanks, Mary!