Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The NRA & Wilderness Safety

Dear Heather,
I am heading out into the wilderness tomorrow and I was wondering if you have any safety tips you can offer?
Tim
Santa Fe

Hello Tim,
Nice to hear from you. Yes-be sure to bring insect repellent, sunscreen, water, and, of course, your handy dandy AR-15 Military Assault Weapon. These are very popular in the good ol' US of A today, and it's really super for everyone to have them. At least that's what the NRA tells me. Enjoy your trip out into the wild!
Heather

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Today is Always Now

Dear Heather,
I'm a professor and sometimes it is hard to maintain enthusiasm in the classroom. Between the piles of grading, students on their cellphones, and threats of gun violence, it's easy to get a little down. How do you continue to inspire?
Bill
Abilene

Dear Bill,
I find that one inspirational quote can change a person's entire day. Don't be afraid to write a good one on the board and share it with your students.


Best of luck,
Heather

Monday, July 6, 2015

Women's World Cup Fever

Dear Heather,
I was at the game last night and there were so many excited American fans. The fashions were quite a thing to behold. What did you make of the patriotic attire at the final game?
Nicholas,
Vancouver


Dear Nicholas,
I feel that the fashions truly embodied the patriotic spirit of the day. In fact, many outfits appear to have been purchased in the Fourth of July section at Old Navy. Except the bald eagle's head, though. I have never seen that in stores. Perhaps it is available on E-Bay. Though the fashions were inspiring, nothing could match the soaring play of the US Women's Team. Congratulations USA!
Sincerely,
Heather

Monday, June 15, 2015

Bad Shakespeare

Dear Heather,
Would you rather sit through a bad Shakespeare play or be struck by lightning? I was just wondering.
Sam
Woodstock, NY

Hello Sam,
This is a great question. In fact, it's a real toss-up. One would obviously prefer life to death, but in the case of bad theatre--one can easily go to the dark side. You simply can't get back lost time when stuck at a production that's impossible to enjoy. I can offer you a couple words of advice, though. If you are in this predicament again, survey the audience and I am certain you will find someone more miserable than you.
Have a great day,
Heather

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Regretful Brushing of Elbows

Dear Heather,
Yesterday I was at the store. I was browsing for cheeses. The store was relatively empty because it was late morning. Suddenly, a family of three, apparently also looking for cheese, stood so close to me I could feel one of their elbows brush against mine. Given that the store was practically empty, why did they all need to come up and be right next to me in my personal space?
Traumatized in Suburban America,
Darlene

Dear Darlene,
I have asked this question many a time, especially after arriving home and vowing never to go grocery shopping again. Basic civility and lack of concern for others in a retail environment are no longer shown as people are obsessed with procuring material items. Unfortunately, the mass of humans today are object-centered, an unfortunate byproduct of capitalist thought.
Sincerely,
Heather

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Unhappy Ending

Dear Heather,
I was recently at a cafe, where I saw an individual getting angry at their book. They were making irate facial gestures and beating the book against the table. What do you make of this?
Charles,
Boise

Charles,
It sounds as if this person did not enjoy the ending to the story. I have at times felt this way myself. When a person invests so much time in a story and it doesn't turn out the way they like, one can feel let down by the author. Either that, or they forgot to take their medication.
Sincerely,
Heather

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Turbulence at 30K Feet

Dear Heather,
I have a question for you. When you are on board an aircraft that is experiencing severe turbulence, how do you typically respond? For example, do you offer your seat-mate a knowing glance, a terrified stare, or a clutch of their hand on the armrest? It seems many in these situations pretend that they are not afraid for their lives, swallowing their true fear and emotions.
Daniel,
New Orleans

Daniel,
Every person will respond in their own way to what is often times interpreted as the potential final moments of one's life. Even though it is well-known that few people have died from turbulence, when in the midst of a 100 foot drop at 20 or 30 thousand feet, this is not any solace to the average human being. I have quite honestly done all of the above, from reaching for my seat-mate who is a total stranger to making a joke or even directly acknowledging the abrupt fluctuations of the aircraft. It really depends on the moment.
All the best,
Heather