Hey Cary, should I ask you for advice?

I'm not sure. What do you think?

By Cary Tennis
Published July 27, 2009 2:15PM (UTC)
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Dear Cary,

I have been thinking about asking for advice for a while, but I am just not sure if I am up to it. There are so many things to consider. I am currently conflicted about so many conflicts, and am in situations that I don't know how to resolve, but is advice the right thing I should search for? Should I ask for advice?

I was about to ask for advice, but then I considered that if the advice I got seemed too difficult to follow through on, I would feel insufficient as a human being. I am just starting out my adult life (and in this economy ...) and what I need right now is solid ground to stand on, and advice that goes against what I was already thinking may just unsettle me. So is writing a letter asking for advice the right thing to do?

There are 25 varieties of laundry detergent, and I considered asking the salesperson to explain them to me, but I couldn't bring myself to ask for help. Is it all right not to ask for advice? I never knew if I should go to the school counselor or the academic advisor in college, and now that I've moved to a big metropolitan city, I am starting to consider that maybe seeking out advice is the best way to go. But, is it?

A few months ago, I was talking to my mother, and she started to give me advice and I hung up the phone on her. I didn't know if even hearing the advice, let alone following it, was a good idea. Later, I was at the doctor's office and he was about to tell me something about lowering some level or doing less of something, and I just slugged him in the face and ran out of the room. I even ripped up a menu at a restaurant recently because it listed "chef's suggestions"!

What should I do? Should I write a letter asking for advice? Is it right to accept advice? Thanks so much for your response!


Should I Ask for Advice?

Dear Sincerely,

Asking, "Should I ask for advice?" is an inquiry into the advisability of the extant.

If we are going to ask should be we doing what we are doing, we might as well go for the big one: Should we be alive?

To which I would give the simple redneck answer: Hell, yes. Why the fuck not? You want to stop me?

Life is annoying as hell, but it has its pleasures.

It is also of course poisoned by the paralyzing, recursive self-consciousness of the "modern" person, to whom recent history has provided ample and vivid object lessons in the absurdity and horror of civilization.

So my answer to your question would be no, you should not waste your time with simple-minded, circular amusements. There are better games to play. You should move on to a higher category of contradiction, a better sort of annoyance. Like the question Camus poses: Should I kill myself? And then, having settled that, ask, How do I manage the irrational and tumultuous stream of unbidden emotions and drives that I refer to as my "self" or my "emotional life" or "inner world"?

Now there's a problem that can occupy you for a while.

You might also consider: How can I acquire the cultural power necessary to achieve comfort and protection?

Or how about this: What do you want right now? On the surface, you may wish simply to shine and to keep people at a distance. But under layer after layer of bullshit there may be another answer, something ancient and simple.

Some days I ask myself if I want to live and the answer is eight pelicans going north in a gray sky.

Maybe you are just another human being trying to outwit fate with the same tricks we all have tried, facing the same tragic end we all face. Maybe we're just all in this together.

Stick around. Keep in touch. Stuff keeps happening.


What? You want more advice?


Cary Tennis

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