From The New Yorker, by Sarah Hutto:
My house is on fire right now. Do you have any advice about what I should do?
Burning in Boise
We know you’re not going to believe us, but this is fine.
It’s a common misconception that fire is dangerous. But, if you’re still worried, we recommend making your own, stronger fire to combat the original fire that’s engulfing your home. The simple fact is that the only way to stop bad fire is with good fire.
Try lighting the bad fire on fire with your better, stronger fire, and you’ll likely find that your fire is winning. If that is not the case, you may need to upgrade your fire with gasoline to make it stronger than the original fire.
And remember, this is fine!
I’m allergic to bees. My doctor says that if I ever get stung by a bee I might die. Unfortunately, I just discovered a hive of bees in my bed, right where I sleep. Should I have the bees removed?
Anaphylactic in Annapolis
You say that you’re allergic to bees, but have you considered that it’s actually just their stingers that you’re allergic to? It seems unfair to punish all bees just because they all happen to have stingers that could potentially kill you. Keep in mind: it’s not the bees that will kill you; it’s their stingers. And it’s not the bees’ fault that their venom, which they are programmed to inject into you if they feel threatened, is fatal to you.
Face it, you’re just going to have to learn to live with the fact that there’s a beehive in your bed that can never be removed, no matter what some people say.
We suggest becoming non-allergic to bee stings. You might also consider growing your own venomous stinger and learning how to sting the bees back.
We know you’re probably thinking, But, N.R.A., I don’t like stingers, and I’m allergic to bee venom! I don’t want to be carrying it around all the time! But this is the only way you will have a fifty-fifty chance of surviving in your bee bed. You may even end up killing some bees in the process! Doesn’t that sound more empowering than simply relocating that hive?
I live in a city that gets very cold in the winter. I’m always chilly when I leave my house. Should I get a coat so that I don’t freeze outside?
Cold in Cleveland
No. A coat won’t change the cold, and it’s, of course, the cold that’s really the problem and not your lack of coat. Have you ever heard of Chicago? It’s very, very cold in Chicago, colder than any other place in America. Everybody in Chicago went out and got coats in order to keep warm, but that didn’t make their winters any warmer. And now they’ve got all these silly coats they have to wear. Meanwhile, it’s still cold outside! You don’t want to end up in a world where everybody wears coats all winter, do you?
If you truly want to warm up, you will have to change the weather. Get in touch with whoever is in charge of your weather and tell them you’d like it to be warmer. Until then, don’t leave the house when it’s cold.
And, no matter what, don’t get a coat, and don’t let your friends and family members get coats, either, because coats inhibit limb movement, and that’s just not what this country is all about.
Here’s a coupon for a space heater that will almost certainly burst into flames.
Hi! It’s me, Cold in Cleveland, again.
I actually heard that there are lots of cold countries that have found wearing coats outside very effective. In fact, it seems like, in pretty much every other cold place on the planet, everyone wears coats to stay warm. How do you explain that?
Well, aren’t you persistent?
You see, Carl, the thing about those other places is that—well, most of those places are very different from wherever you said you live, because their cold is a different kind of cold. Those other countries measure their cold in Celsius. Do you know what Celsius is? We do, and, trust us—it is not good!
That space-heater coupon expires in a month.