Dear Aspen Dude:
I’m just starting a new job that I always wanted, for an Aspen corporation founded in 1881. But it’s not at all what everyone thinks it is. I haven’t even started getting paid but already there’s a box of homework on the desk and stuff I’ll be in charge of that I never knew about it. Whoa!
Now they tell me there won’t be a raise — there hasn’t been one for 17 years and there won’t be for a long time, if ever. When I applied, I told my future employers about all the bad decisions in recent years that I would not have made. This company is stuck with museums, hotels and a headquarters building that’s already being built. Gollee!
We also have a labor shortage, an aging population, crumbling infrastructure and climate-change problems that could wreck our customer base and ungodly traffic jams. Crikey, I think maybe this job is more like Detroit than I thought but without a good salary.
Dude, what do I do?
— RWM III
If I may be the first to address thee with a single name:
Try to remember what doctors learn on their first day: First, do no harm. None of your thousands of would-be bosses really think you can undo the past anymore than “Game of Thrones” fans think the dragon can restore King’s Landing. Stick a fork in it and move on.
Second, remember most people want you to do something new and want you to succeed, even the ones who didn’t want to hire you. Nobody in the world has yet to solve traffic and parking problems except in places like Meeker and downtown Detroit where no one wants to go anyway. Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past: Make new, original ones you can call your own! Ban something dumb. Make a trade deal with Basalt. Legacy!
Start by listening seriously to your co-workers before telling them they are wrong. As Jim Carrey once pointed out, you are good enough and smart enough to succeed.
Finally, take up a hobby to relieve stress. Might I suggest tennis? When you get good at it, it could be your primary source of income!
Dear Aspen Dude:
I make lots of money, more than the president as it turns out. I am in the 1 percent, and I give that percentage back to charities all over town. I have a big house here on a prime corner and several others around the country — not sure how many — where I employ lots of minorities with a tax-free cash income. I have lots of friends who do the same, but even they don’t seem to appreciate what I do to make this a great place by virtue of my presence and keen intellect.
I write letters to the paper all the time in an attempt to straighten out the crazy liberals who ruin this place with their socialist mentality. They don’t listen, and people who don’t own so much as a single, single-family home ridicule my clear, logical advice.
Am I a crazy moron or is this place run by idiots?
— Milo Overton Renwick Oleo Nerdlich
If I may address thou by the single initial rather than by the acronym by which you are better known:
Fortunately for you, Netflix will be serializing Joseph Heller’s “Catch 22,” which closely examines the question of personal sanity in a world that tries to make us all believe we are insane. This TV show will save you the trouble of reading Dostoyevsky’s novels “The Idiot” and “The Possessed” which really grapple with the who-is-crazy theme in fewer pages than, say, “Game of Thrones,” which doesn’t prove a whole lot in the course of 2,500 pages except that people can be mean and cruel for no discernible purpose.
In the meantime, be consoled that you are right, as usual: It’s probably too late to Make Aspen Great Again (see above), even if you can get someone in China to make you the hat. Keep writing letters to the editor; I personally enjoy them as an aspiring comedian should. And remember, the Chevalier de Lamarck didn’t disprove evolution until after he was injured serving his country.
Dear Aspen Dude:
We write really short letters about stuff. People like them. Should we write longer ones?
If I may shorten your appellation to two letters out of respect for your perfection of brevity:
No. “Game of Thrones” is like I told you: Five books, 2,500 pages of made-up history, endless drama and violence proving nothing, except that everybody you like dies in the end, sort of like the Bible, the Koran, Beowulf and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Keep it short.