Ask Howard

Posted on 19 Apr 2013 at 12:15pm

How to do what’s wrong right

Howard-Russell-logo-copyHOWARD LEWIS RUSSELL  | Special Contributor
askhoward@dallasvoice.com

Dear Howard,
How does the saying go? You can fool all the people some of the time, some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time. Well, put me in the category of, “that idiot all the time who can be fooled constantly.”

I don’t understand why it is that I always get made a laughingstock by every man I go out with. I met a perfectly nice guy recently, we spent the night together at his gorgeous loft Downtown, he was sweet to me the whole night, then took me out for brunch in the morning. I was sighing to myself, “Finally, a decent, respectful date for once!”

Then, like some sort of fairytale flimflam, my dreamy visions of wedding bells and bridesmen in Tom Ford couture went up in a puff of smoke. We were making pleasant, post-coitus chitchat when I grinningly asked where his sexy accent was from. With a deadpan face he answered in that deep, gravel-melting voice, “I grew up in Tasmania, luv.”

I drew a total blank, and winked, “Like, where vampires come from?”

“Not quite,” he laughed. “Like where Tasmanian devils come from, you know, from Bugs Bunny? But most all the devils have gone extinct lately. My family has a thorium mine in Tasmania. A bloomin’ boondoggle it was growing up, but the Chinese are suddenly racing to harness ‘clean’ nuclear energy using thorium.”

Howard, I kept my mouth shut after that, scarfed down my pancakes and left: a Tasmanian thorium mine? I mean, was this wacko for real? Like, what the tarnation even is thorium? Did he spend all night in bed with me just brewing this crud up? Do I have “sucker” tattooed across my taint? I don’t understand why men always get such a perverted thrill out of making outrageous stuff up to my very face on the fly and watching me just swallow the hook, line and sinker whole, but they always do . . . and this guy seemed so nice, too — really, really nice. Why did he even bother? What did he really get out of it? Any advice for me?—Marco J.

Dear Marco,
Yes, excellent advice I have for you, in fact; foremost, I’m sorry to be the bearer of incredulous tidings, dear man; however, I honestly think your initial, first-date instincts about this Tasmanian thorium mine owner, as being a “really, really nice guy,” may have, actually, been spot-on correct from the very get-go. Not every man who spins seemingly outrageous tales over breakfast come the morning after is full of bull. Once in a wonderfully rare while, there are some men one stumbles across out in the dating wilderness who are both genuinely honest and outlandishly real. Extraordinary as manna from heaven these men are, too.

My very own long-term spouse, for instance — of 20 dazzling years now, thank you! — originally fed me some seemingly cockamamie nonsense on our first date about him hailing from a remote corner of northern Alaska, and how his father (or, was it his grandfather?) had been one of the original Yukon gold rushers; yeah, right, scoffed I — as if! Of course, it was all true.

Marco, just a quick Google search (which was not remotely available to your fine adviser here during my own epoch of fabulosity 20 years back) will quickly reveal that thorium is an actual metal — four times more abundant even than tin is for mining — and that Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania are super-rich in thorium, and (drum roll, please!) China is already building the world’s first thorium power plant! Additionally, most all the devils on the island of Tasmania are, indeed, nearly extinct as of late due to a rare facial cancer that spreads, contagiously, by literal contact between devils, who have tendencies to engage in slobbering, fanged-teeth battles whenever one Tasmanian devil happens to chance across another in the wild.

Marco, please phone the gravel-voiced, Tasmanian thorium miner back up (you should still have his number, I hope). Give him a chance to prove his outlandishness comes genuinely, and sincerely, real. If you ask me — which you did —  you’d only be a fool not to.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 19, 2013.

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