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
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.
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
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
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
Shack up with Wife #3 until the other two have worked things
out and are lonely for you again.
How do I get more lines?
Buy a pinstriped suit.
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
Cultivate terminal dandruff. And take the cigars
out of your mouths once in a while.
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?
How can I get rid of dandruff?
-- Coiffed, but Flaky
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
Just grow a couple of antennae instead. It will compliment
the baldness. Guaranteed.
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
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.
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
-- Hot to Trot
Come to work naked.
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
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
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!
I love your outfit! Where do you shop?
-- Green with Envy
What, this old schmatte? You're too kind. I get my wardrobe
exclusively from Frederick's of Orion.
Dear Shrann Landers:
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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
Dump the two-bit loser.
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
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
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
-- 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
Oh no, I'm dead! Now what?
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.
June 10, 2005
September 5, 2005