Dear Goldfish Part 27: Advice Edition

Hello, Internet. This week’s writing challenge is about advice. What better excuse for another long-awaited Dear Goldfish column?

Dear Goldfish is the (not even remotely) weekly series where I answer real questions asked by our studio audience, the internet, in other words, you. The following questions have been submitted by people who typed words into search engines with no editing or censoring.

Dear Goldfish,
how to be reasonable?

Well, dear reader, the fact that you’re even asking is a good start. Most unreasonable people don’t worry about being reasonable. The dictionary says: “(of a person) having sound judgment; fair and sensible.” So, do that.

A good way to be reasonable is to stop yourself before you become unreasonable. It’s tricky, but you can do it!

Dear Goldfish,
how to write letter when ur grangmother is dead?

I’m sorry for your loss. Most of us only get two grandmothers and once they’re gone, they’re gone. I’m also sorry to hear that the loss of your grandmother has somehow made you unable to write letters. I would recommend picking up a writing utensil of some sort and trying to form letters with it. Practice makes perfect.

Perhaps that’s not what you meant though. Perhaps you’re asking how to write a letter to your dead grandmother as so many of you have asked previously.

I wrote a letter to my dead grandmother. She was a terrible person. I told her exactly how she was a terrible person. I hope your grandmother wasn’t a terrible person.

I find, when writing letters to dead people, it’s best to just let it all hang out. Tell them all the things you never got to tell them when they were alive, good and bad. It doesn’t matter if they read it; what matters is that you write it. It seems that you are in need of closure.

Dear Goldfish,
negativity is debilitating?

It can be. A little negativity never hurt anyone. It’s never a bad idea to examine all options, including a worst case scenario. I’m a cup is half empty sort of person myself. My innate pessimism means that I’m always surprised and never disappointed.

That said, when you focus only on the negative and don’t consider the positive at all, it can lead to bad things. It can cause you to wonder why you should even bother to leave the house if everything is going to turn into a river of crap and you’re without your waders.

In related news, “river of crap” isn’t always just a metaphor. I had a sewage line burst in my house a few years ago, drowning all of my stuff in a quite literal river of crap. And guess what? I didn’t have waders.

Every experience humans have, good and bad, is a potential learning experience. Even the worst experiences make us stronger and wiser. If you only focus on the negative, you won’t learn all you can from your experiences, and eventually, you won’t even try. Chin up, kitten.

Monty Python said it best:

Dear Goldfish,
i only have 10 years to live how to?

I’m sorry to hear that, but honestly, that’s good news. First, you know how long you have, unlike the rest of us human monkeys, so you can plan pretty well. Knowing that you are going to die someday is good. We are all going to die someday. Most of us get mired down in trivial daily fluff and forget to really live.

Second, ten years is an awfully long time. A person can go from not even being born to running, jumping, climbing trees, being a precocious brat and knowing a lot of things in only ten years. Considering that, as of 2010, the world life expectancy was 67.2 years, ten years is an awfully big chunk of that. At least 50%. I don’t know. I’m bad at the maths. Life is too short for math.

So, quit worrying about how long you have to live and just live. Do what you’ve always wanted to do before it’s too late, provided that what you’ve always wanted to do isn’t murder people. If it is, don’t do that.

Dear Goldfish,
my daughter is being promiscuous at 7 years old why?

Oh my. This is probably the most serious question I’ve ever been asked here at Dear Goldfish.

My advice is that you’re asking the wrong question. Instead of asking the internet why, you should be asking what to do about it. Find a good therapist in your area and get your daughter some help right the fuck now. There is clearly something wrong if your daughter is promiscuous at seven years old. Seven year olds shouldn’t even be sexually aware yet, let alone promiscuous.

I am not a professional, but I can guarantee you that something is wrong. I ought to know. Stop asking advice from the internet and go get professional help now. Go!

Dear Goldfish,
how do fish and dogs differ?

Well, they’re two different species. Fish, especially the goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus), are witty creatures with excellent writing and drawing skills. They’re typically cantankerous, easily distracted and terrible swimmers:


The dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is the best extant animal. That’s really all you need to know about dogs, but for more information, read yesterday’s post: The Pros & Cons Of Dog Ownership.

Dear Goldfish,
what is the story about the snake and the giraffe?

I’m not sure that I’ve heard the story of the snake and the giraffe. Allow me to make one up.


Once upon a time, there was a lowly snake who had no arms or legs. He really loved the acacia leaves at the top of the tree, but the giraffe ate them because he was the only animal that could reach. All of the animals made fun of the snake for trying to get the really high leaves. One day, the giraffe saw the snake trying to reach the top of a tree and felt sorry for the him. The giraffe swung his long neck up and easily plucked some leaves. He swung his long neck down all the way to the ground where the snake was and placed the leaves in front of him. The snake was so overcome with joy at the giraffe’s generosity, that he went and grabbed some leaves from a bush deep in a thicket where the giraffe couldn’t go. The giraffe tried the leaves and thought they were delicious. From then on, the giraffe and the snake could be seen sitting together sharing lunch.

The end.

Dear Goldfish,
what age is older than a goldfish but younger than a starfish?

Well, the maximum recorded lifespan of a starfish is 34 years. The common goldfish can live up to 25 years. So, an age that is older than a goldfish but younger than a starfish would be 26-33 years old.

Who knew either of those species lived that long??

A lot of these questions aren’t really asking for advice. Try harder, internet. My expertise is going to waste here.

Dear Goldfish,
are human beings becoming too dependent on technology?

Allow me to answer your question with some questions:

Are you reading this on the internet? Did you access the internet by a computer?

If the answer to these questions is yes, you are dependent on technology.

How did you travel to work today?

If the answer isn’t horse-cart or on foot, you’re dependent on technology.

Do you know how to grow sustainable crops in your backyard? How do you make bread from scratch (by scratch, I mean even making the flour)? Can you tell the difference by sight between poison ivy and a harmless weed? What is the direct English translation of the French word apéritif?

If your first instinct when asked any of these questions is to look it up on the internet, then, congratulations, you’re dependent on technology.

The “too” part of that question is subjective. As long as there isn’t a technology apocalypse or until we create sentient robots, I don’t think we’re too dependent on technology. Technology is responsible for a lot of good things and we all would have died long ago without it.

Dear Goldfish,
what is the worst handedness ever?

Well, as far as I know, there are only two choices: right and left. Being left-handed myself, I would have to say left-handedness is the worst handedness since everything is designed for righties. More information on that can be found here.

Dear Goldfish,
i need to rent a house for fuck sake?

I wish you the best of luck, for fuck’s sake.

Dear Goldfish,
who am i letter to great great grandchild?

Writing a letter to your great-great-grandchildren to let them know who you are is a really cool idea. You should do that.

I would suggest that you print it out since our current lame technology shouldn’t be trusted to deliver messages that far into the future. Perhaps laminating it or carving it into a rock would work.

Dear Goldfish,
как правильно вешать туалетную бумагу?

Hello, Russia. Let’s translate that, shall we? “how to hang the toilet paper?”

I’m glad you asked since there is a right and a wrong way. Here’s a diagram:

The correct way to replace toilet paper.
Image from

Dear Goldfish,
i can’t remember my childhood or what happened yesterday?

I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve been there. There’s a reason that I’m called Goldfish, after all, and it’s not because I’m gold or a fish. The good news is that the brain can repair itself to an extent. You probably won’t ever recover all of your childhood memories–I didn’t–but who needs a childhood anyway? It was probably traumatic. You’re better off without it.

The best I can recommend is to keep using your brain. Time, patience and practice are your friends. The good thing about memory problems is that you don’t remember what you were like before.

Actually, the advice to keep using your brain goes out to all of you.


Well, that’s just about all we have time for today. Remember, you can submit your own question to Dear Goldfish. Thanks for joining us and be sure to come back for more Dear Goldfish next week! Thank you and good night!

More Dear Goldfish.