Our agony aunt solves your problems

Claire Calman recycles some recent government strategies to address readers' problems

August 27, 2020 09:41

When you look at the Government’s handling of lockdown (late), their acquisition of PPE (faulty), their declarations about desperate migrants (nasty), you might be tempted to despair. Like me, perhaps you’re wondering if we should simply offer those nice, well-paid Cabinet jobs to students who have just done so astonishingly well in their A-levels instead? But in fact, the Government’s recent stratagems need not be discarded. Using our exciting new recycling initiative, we have asked our guest agony aunt to reuse them to address our readers’ everyday problems…

Dear Claire,

Question: Please help! I’m 19 and have just failed my driving test for the third time. On the first go, I messed up the three-point turn; on the second, I went round a roundabout the wrong way and on the third it went really well until I opened the car door and maimed a passing cyclist. What can I do?

Jake, Glasgow

Answer: Good news. Using our “Triple Lock approach”, and having conferred with your instructor, who has confirmed that you can mostly execute a three-point turn well, that nine times out of ten, you do go the correct way round a roundabout and have caused only two other accidents before, we just need to count your best-ever results and so you have now passed your test. Your certificate is on its way. Mazeltov!

Dear Claire,

Q: When we got married, everyone said we’d be so happy — our parents, the rabbi etc. The only dissenting voice was my Aunt Rivkah, but we took no notice because all she does is reminisce about Russia and suck fishballs with her teeth out. But now I’m so unhappy — my wife is always moaning and spends every pound I make on refurbishing the house. Every day is miserable and I’m surrounded by swagged curtains with twiddly tiebacks — I feel like a bird in a fancy-schmancy cage. Can you help?

Adam, Leeds

A: Your parents and rabbi set your “centre-assessment” grade for marriage, and they decreed: “Very happy”. In this instance, Aunt Rivkah is the moderator, though, and she downgraded that estimate to: “Miserable”. That should give you a moderated outcome of: “Mostly mildly unhappy, with occasional glimpses of contentment” — ie the same as for most marriages. Stop moaning.

Dear Claire,

Q: I coach a junior football team. We did well in the qualifying rounds and, in the semi, we won by 7 goals to 0. However, in the final, we lost 3-1, even though during the tournament we had scored 42 goals and the other finalists only 27. Logically, we should have won, but the Ref said we definitely lost as the other team “got more goals”. It seems unfair.

Ruth, Bournemouth

A: Using our highly complex algorithm (where g = goal, r = ref, and n = a random number meant to sound scientific but no-one has a clue what it means):

x+y (0.8g ×-r^2) ÷n^3+1 × π/2

— it seems that, yes, your team should have claimed victory. It’s not yet clear why this didn’t happen. It looks as if perhaps “reality” has got in the way of your expectations. This happens surprisingly often and can be very upsetting. While we cannot alter the actual result, we are having an engraved trophy despatched to you. Mazeltov!

Dear Claire,

Q: When our daughter was little, she was so lovely – happy and smiling, going to bed without a fuss etc. But now she’s a teenager, she can barely say a civil word to us. She never does any school work and, since lockdown, all she’s done is talk to her equally selfish, spoilt friends on her phone or watch videos on her laptop all day. When I tell her she should be grateful to live in a nice house and have enough food and a decent education, she swears at me and says she didn’t ask to be born. What should we do?

Anonymous, Manchester

A: As you’ve accrued years of parenting skills, it seems a shame to waste them by simply changing the locks while she’s out seeing a friend, so consider a creative U-turn. Buy her a one-way ticket to Syria and, in return, take in a migrant teenager from there. They are likely to be extremely grateful for food, shelter and the opportunity to go to school, and won’t keep moaning that you’re so cruel because you won’t let them have unlimited data or stay up all night.

Dear Claire,

Q: My son-in-law tells me he always buys my meat at the kosher butcher, but when I removed my chicken from the Goode’s Glatt Kosher Meat-Fest bag, I found a receipt from Tesco at the bottom. Is it possible he’s buying cheaper, non-kosher chicken at the supermarket then transferring it to a kosher butcher bag?

Andrea, north London

A: We agree that there should be a full-scale inquiry into this shocking fiasco. We are currently trying to find an impartial judge to head the inquiry, someone who has absolutely zero connection to Dominic Cummings, Matt Hancock or Gavin Williamson. This might take some time.

Claire Calman’s latest novel, ‘Growing Up for Beginners’, is out now

August 27, 2020 09:41

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