A Hairless Dog, a Sweatless Workout, and Creative Spelling

Dear Uptight Seattleite,I know I'm supposed to wipe down the gym equipment after I use it, but come on. I'm in pretty solid shape. I barely sweated at all.Gym Bob

Dear Gym Bob,Please let me first issue a general FYI re gym etiquette: If you aren't doing your set, don't sit on the equipment. No set, no sit. Gym equipment is not furniture. It would be great if you could go ahead and review the rules about this, which are clearly posted. This is about equal access to a resource held in common, just like the planet itself. By sitting there, you are in fact participating in a pattern of behavior that's killing the planet. Once you see that pattern, Gym Bob, your own question pretty much answers itself, doesn't it? If not, I'm afraid I'm going to have lurk and sigh until you vacate the Compound Row machine.Dear Uptight Seattleite,I want to adopt a dog, but I'm allergic, and can't afford one of those hairless hypoallergenic dogs. I did the math and found I could afford to adopt a rescued terrier and have its hair permanently removed with electrolysis. Do you see any ethical problem with this?Dogless Boy

Dear Dogless,The obvious answer is that performing electrolysis on a dog would be monstrous. But if this meant a loving home for a dog that would otherwise be abandoned, the answer is less obvious. As you weigh the pros and cons, also consider that you'd have to live with the accusation that would gleam in this bald dog's eyes, even in his happiest moments. As his tail said "Thanks for the food!" or "I just claimed this territory with my urine!", his eyes would be saying "I'm pink and weird because of you." Good luck!Dear Uptight Seattleite,I have trouble spelling "Seattleite." It just looks funny.Akeelah

Dear Akeelah,Try to relax and make friends with that awkward middle where the two parts of the word come together. To me, that abundance of vowels has sort of a Hawaiian look. I like to think of it as a tropical secret we've got tucked away to get us through the winter months.Dear Uptight Seattleite,I don't know if you've already addressed this issue, but why is honking so frowned on in this town?Albert Ayler

Dear Albert,Car horns are loud, oppressive, and disapproving. "Not OK! Not OK!" they blare. Did you ever stop to think about the feelings of alarm and invalidation you cause when you honk your horn? Apparently not. But you somehow knew there was an unwritten law against honking, even though no one had told you. You could just feel it. What you felt were invisible waves from the same buried network of transmitters that inhibit people from expressing strong feelings of any kind.Dear Uptight Seattleite,I go out running every Tuesday at lunch with a co-worker. He's got a lot less wind than me. This doesn't matter to me, but it seems to matter to him. He overcompensates by setting a blistering pace at first, after which he rapidly falls far behind me. In addition to being awkward and annoying, it pretty much ruins the whole point of running together.Brooks Brother

Dear Brother,Have you ever seen someone try to yawn with their mouth closed? They always make a pretty funny face! You too are making some pretty humorous contortions as you avoid simply saying what you mean. Which, I can't help thinking, is that you think you somehow have "more wind" than this other person. Whoever he is.As we saw with our first letter-writer, there's a clear connection between exercising your body and exercising your conscience. In your case, this means that your obsession with ranking people according to their level of physical endurance is poisoning your own self-image. And blinding you to a subtle truth: It's not "less wind" so much as "my own rhythm." Sometimes I need to dial it back to a more contemplative pace. For my own inner peace. That you seem not to understand this doesn't bother me in the least. In times of stress, I return to first principles. The first principle of all is breathe. At least it used to be. Now it's be. Remove the intervening letters and allow the b and the e to embrace in an eternal now of tranquillity, that's what I say.See you back at the office!

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