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Dear Shrannie

Advice from
Shrann Landers

Dear Shrannie:
I'm the captain of an Earth starship. We're supposed to be out here exploring. But the Vulcans have been everywhere done everything before us, and a lot of times they even come poke their nose into what we're doing just to keep tabs on us! But they're really important allies and I'm not allowed to just tell them to mind their own Vulcan business. Any suggestions?
-- What's the Point

Dear Point:
Those arrogant green-blooded snots do have a way of getting under the skin, don't they? Remember that their biggest weakness is their curiosity. Just don't do anything interesting for a while, and they'll go away. It may take a year or two (they can be really persistent!) but eventually they'll get bored with watching you map the same nebulas and charting the same gaseous anomalies they worked over a decade ago, and they'll leave. Then you can get on with more exciting things like saving your entire species from homicidal aliens.

Dear Shrannie:
I was raised to be very polite to everyone, even when I lose my temper. Some people take this the wrong way -- especially the ladies, because they think I'm being more than just friendly -- and I've been taken advantage of a few times. Now I've got a reputation for being a playboy. I'm a complete gentleman! How do I prove I'm not the good time to be had by all?
-- Southern Beau

Dear Beau:
You can't prove a negative. But you do have a few options:

  • Start acting like a jerk and let the counter-rumor spread. You can always tell your real friends you were possessed by an alien or under the influence of some passing anomaly.
  • Make up a rumor about a co-worker to distract attention from you. It shouldn't be too difficult; Great Bird knows you've got plenty to work with.
  • Take a very public vow of celibacy. Or get married, which amounts to the same thing around here.
  • Switch networks to PAX. I guarantee there won't be any talk about whose pebbles you're getting into.
  • Use the rumors for your own benefit and get some action. They're expecting it of you anyway, so why not enjoy yourself?

Dear Shrann Landers:
My tribble got loose! What do I do about it? er, now I guess it's them?
-- CJ

Dear CJ:
Poison their feed, skin them, and open an exclusive toupée shop for high-ranking Starfleet officers.

Dear Shrann Landers:
On my anniversary with my first wife, I bought her some beautiful flowers. When my anniversary with my second wife rolled around, I was out of the system and couldn't send more than a nice message. But my second wife has been to visit me on my ship, and my first and third wives haven't. Now #1 and #2 aren't talking to each other because they think I'm playing favorites. What should I do?
-- Tough Triangle

Dear Triangle:
Shack up with Wife #3 until the other two have worked things out and are lonely for you again.

Dear Shrannie:
How do I get more lines?
-- Marcel

Dear Marcel:
Buy a pinstriped suit.

Dear Shrannie:
We're innocent little cuddly furballs and all we want to do is go forth and multiply. But this crazy humanoid keeps feeding us to these odd creatures he has in cages. And now humanoids around the galaxy are hunting us, skinning us, and turning us into hairpieces! How do we escape this terrible fate?
-- The Desperate Masses

Dear Masses:
Cultivate terminal dandruff. And take the cigars out of your mouths once in a while.

Dear Shrannie:
A few years ago, I accidentally mated with this really sexy engineer from another ship. It had, shall we say, unexpected results. I had no idea it would actually work with his species, or I never would have asked him to -- well, you know. Anyhow, he's long gone and now I have a beautiful three-year-old daughter. The problem is, I've never told her that she's part human. She thinks my husband is her father and we're really all quite content that way. But now that she's older, she's starting to exhibit some abnormal traits. She has eyebrows, and wiggles them in the strangest way. She has a bit of a temper, and doesn't always mind her words. And most disturbing, she's begun to spend her evenings in our holographic simulator, just sitting and watching various scenarios play out in front of her -- as if it weren't even three-dimensional or interactive. And sometimes she even tears up at the sentimental parts. Now she's beginning to notice she's not exactly like the other children. Do you think I should tell her the truth?
-- Ah'Len a Day's Work

Dear Working Girl:
Yes, I think honesty is the best policy, but explain it to her at her level of understanding. If someone points out some out-of-the-ordinary behavior or physical trait, tell her that you wanted a baby but you and her father needed some help, so you had a "friend" who happened to be from another species lend a hand. Reassure her that you all love her dearly, and reinforce the idea that your husband is her "real" daddy because he's been there from the beginning. There's no shame in surrogacy or adoption. Children grow not under our hearts, but in them.

More importantly, however -- why haven't you sued for child support from that engineer yet?

Dear Shrannie:
How can I get rid of dandruff?
-- Coiffed, but Flaky

Dear Flake:
Shave your head.

Dear Shrann Landers:
As non-corporeal lifeforms, we're frequently hindered by our lack of opposable thumbs and other appendages. It's difficult to get chores done. What's a good corporeal species we could borrow? You know, just temporarily.
-- Nowhere Man

Dear Nowhere Man:
I recommend Terrans. They're adaptable and intelligent but very eccentric, so that even really observant individuals will write off any strange behavior on the part of their compatriots as 'personal expression.' Vulcans are okay if you can stay calm. Denobulans are lots of fun. Stay away from Andorians; they have terrible tempers and trying to control the antennae will give you an immediate headache.

Dear Shrann Landers:
I used to get these great toupées from this little shop on K-5, but the guy went out of business because he ran out of materials. I'm balder than an android's bottom; I can't command a starship like this! Help!
-- Captain Cue Ball

Dear Cue:
Just grow a couple of antennae instead. It will compliment the baldness. Guaranteed.

Dear Shrannie:
How do you get a guy to broaden his cultural horizons? There's this real cutie on the ship one of my husbands is assigned to who just sets me on fire. But he shies away from any close contact or advances I make. I know he finds me attractive. My husband told me he admitted that much. But he's hung up on this human monogamy thing. I've never had anyone turn me down before and it has me quite perplexed. But I'm always up for a good challenge. Any recommendations?
-- Hot, Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered

Dear Bewildered:
If both of you were willing to make a go of it, I would tell you to see a good counselor, but it sounds like his cultural morés are too deeply ingrained. He'd always feel awkward and uncomfortable, like he was doing something wrong. Guilt gets tedious very quickly. And besides, if you used your wiles to get him to compromise on something important to him -- the "human monogamy thing" -- then he wouldn't be the same guy who fires you up. Don't take it personally. Tone down the flirting and hunt where the game is better.

Dear Shrannie:
I'm really frustrated with my job situation. I spend all day taking care of people, but it's like I'm invisible. Almost nobody talks to me. I don't get face time with anyone. What can I do to spice things up a little around here? I'm starved for attention!
-- Hot to Trot

Dear Trot:
Come to work naked.

Dear Shrannie:
Tribbles are in such short supply I can't buy any to feed my creatures any more. They're getting a mite peevish about it, too. And you wouldn't like them when they're peevish. I know I don't. Any suggestions?
-- Fingerless in Sickbay

Dear Fingerless:
I understand nail clippings and tongue scrapings have enough fiber and protein to keep medical critters going for some time. Or at least frighten them enough to take the Purina Critter Chow without complaint.

Dear Shrann Landers:
My captain routinely ignores my suggestions and reports, often exposing himself and the ship's crew to unnecessary risk. He frequently does my job for me (despite my superior skills and training). He recently brought in a group of lesser-experienced crew from another branch of the service to "complement" my department's efforts, and their commanding officer is an arrogant prat who's been trying to edge me out. And as if things couldn't be worse, my best friend suffered a great loss and is shutting everyone out, including me, so I can't even offer him a shoulder to lean on. I'm feeling increasingly isolated and useless. I would appreciate any advice you could offer.
-- Unholstered

Dear Unholstered:
Take up the broadsword, and make a point of sparring when Four-Pips is in the gym. Invite your best friend to join you so he has some activity to help him work out his grief. (Sometimes men like to bash things rather than talk about their feelings.) You and your friend should wear your swords so you can practice anywhere -- the Bridge, the Captain's Mess, the turbolifts -- whenever you have a free moment. Then tell your department that in order to help train the cross-service visitors to resist unexpected attacks, they should leap on the newcomers and whale the tar out of them at random intervals. Make sure the CO gets special attention, since he sets the tone for his people -- I suggest that you personally set booby-traps to try and take him out twice a day. Good luck!

Dear Shrannie:
I love your outfit! Where do you shop?
-- Green with Envy

Dear Envy:
What, this old schmatte? You're too kind. I get my wardrobe exclusively from Frederick's of Orion.

Dear Shrann Landers:
0010011101 001 111001 101100 1110011, 001101 001 0111 11011001 11001 10 11001. 1100101 1100 10001 1001 10? 001 1 001 1100110010 001100 1101101001110 0010 110 1100 110 001001 001100 101. 010111 0010 1101 110001 11010 101011 00101 110 110011 1100 110 001?
-- 1101

Dear 1101:
Dump the two-bit loser.

Dear Shrann:
My department is staffed by contractors. We were told this was a guaranteed seven-year project, but due to budget cutbacks the entire department was eliminated three years early.There are about a dozen of us out of jobs. We're like a family. Some of us even bought houses on the same street! We're depressed and could use a boost.
-- Optima dies prima fugit

Dear Optima:
Things are tough all over. I just lost out on a steady gig myself. If I didn't have this column, I'd be out on the street! Make sure everyone exchanges phone numbers and keeps in touch. You could arrange to meet for lunch once a week to share news and job leads. Update your résumé if you haven't already. Network with friends from previous jobs to see if there are any openings. Draw up a budget to ensure you don't spend through your savings. This is prime interviewing season, so hit the pavement running. Resist the urge to bad-mouth management, even if they're complete incompetents -- rumor travels faster than you think, and you'll get a reputation for being a sore loser. Above all, stay positive. Better days are ahead.

Dear Shrannie:
Great news! I think I found a replacement food source for my creatures. They REALLY loved this extra antenna I had sitting around in a jar on my shelf. Where can I get some more of those?
-- Still Fingerless, but Hopeful

Dear Still Fingerless:
An antenna?! That's disgusting! You need professional help. Please get in touch with a licensed therapist and arrange for Security to lock you up until you can get your sick impulses under control.

Dear Shrannie:
Oh no, I'm dead! Now what?
-- Dante

Dear Dante:
Try to remember your status and species just before you died. If you were a regular cast member with your name in the credits, relax -- your friends will find a way to bring you back in an hour or two. If everyone around you was strangely aged, wearing short skirts or black leather on duty when they ordinarily don't, or was from the wrong time period, you died in an alternate universe or changed timeline, and when things are fixed in an hour or two you'll be resurrected. (However, if your last memory is seeing another version of yourself, then you're probably the duplicate, clone, or alternate -- sorry.) If you were Vulcan and you remembered to give someone your katra, it's on the way to Mount Seleya for long-term storage. If you were a joined Trill, your memories will live on in the symbiont (cold comfort, I know). If you joined the Prophets, you'll be back... eventually. If you were extremely long-lived or omnipotent, you were probably hoping for this. If you were a Borg drone, first off may I offer my congratulations on your release, and second, all your thoughts and memories are permanently part of the Collective (which is kind of the same "immortality" as the Trill). If you were swept into the Nexus, your worries are over -- go ahead and fix everything which ever went wrong in your life, including stealing a kiss from that cutie back in grade school. If you were wearing a red shirt, well, I'll send flowers.

Dear Shrannie, June 10, 2005

Dear Shrannie, September 5, 2005

Co-writer: Tripper