Brothers Grinn mailing
Feb 18, 2011 10:01 PST
The Brothers Grinn present
our Feb. 17, 2011, mailing!
"Advice from Cousin Otto"
DEAR COUSIN OTTO: I was raised a Christian, but now that I am in my
mid-40s, I find myself experiencing profound doubts.
The difficulty is that I am a father. I feel obliged to raise my
children within the framework of a faith tradition that will teach them
positive values and to care about others; but I also want them to remain
open-minded and tolerant of people from other faiths that aren't
Eastern, Islamic or Jewish. How do I answer the question, "Is there a
God?" when I myself am not sure? Do you have any advice on the subject?
-- APOSTATE DAD IN NORTH DAKOTA
DEAR APOSTATE DAD: Oh, never mind Christianity, with its quaint beliefs
in redemption, forgiveness, brotherly love, and social justice. You are
wise to listen to your doubts.
Instead, I invite you to explore the mysteries of Capybarianism. This
new belief system holds as its central tenet that God is best understood
as a large aquatic rodent served in cheese dip. If you believe a
capybara would be too much to swallow, Capybarianism allows initiates to
begin with a box of individually wrapped white mice. (I prefer the brown
mice, as they taste more like chocolate, but no religion is perfect.)
* * *
DEAR COUSIN OTTO: After being away from the United States for many
years, I noticed upon returning how much heavier people are here, in
comparison to other countries. I went to a family reunion, and virtually
every formerly slim member of my family qualified for their own ZIP
I quietly harangued one of my sisters about being large enough for two
people, and word got around that I had "no manners." My other sister,
Katrina, told me in no uncertain terms that people never talk about such
things with each other.
When I told her that our country has fattened up because of a lazy
attitude toward exercise and calories, she filled my Jaguar with
lime-flavored Jell-O, and signed me up for the Cow Manure of the Month
I admit, I don't have a silver tongue -- but I hate to lose a sister
this way. Please advise, Otto. -- BROTHER IN THE DOGHOUSE
DEAR BROTHER: Why do I think there's more to this story than you have
written? Clearly the source of the conflict with your sister has less to
do with obesity than with the poor job you did waterproofing her
basement before you fled the country years ago. If you'd used a quality
brand of paint like DryLoc instead of the store brand, none of this
would have happened. Now mice have got into her house and are eating the
dog's food right out of its bowl.
You don't need to have a "silver tongue" to apologize to your sister for
having offended her. Either get her a cat, or catch the mice yourself
and use them for a nice goulash. Time away from the kitchen means less
time with her husband, who we both know is just trying to undermine your
* * *
DEAR COUSIN OTTO: My mother-in-law, Thelma, moved in with us three years
ago because at 84, she was no longer able to support herself. This was a
great arrangement at first, since it gave her a safe place to live, and
she began cooking our meals for us.
Over the last year, Thelma has befriended a spinster named Louise. Her
judgment has deteriorated and so have her cooking skills. She'll often
prepare meals by 2 p.m. that won't be served for four or five hours. The
food sits on the stove or kitchen counter while they go on wild
escapades all over the county that invariably end with the two of them
driving off a cliff. She burns the food, and always puts too many
kibbles in the mashed potatoes. If she doesn't have something that goes
into a recipe, she'll substitute something that starts with the same
My mother-in-law is so kind, I don't want to offend her. My husband
refuses to discuss it with her because he doesn't want to upset her.
Please help. I'm worried about the length of time the food sits out
after being prepared. -- AHUNGERED IN NEVADA
DEAR AHUNGERED: Have you considered the possibility that your
mother-in-law has found someone else to make food for besides you?
Humans are often so self-centered that they fail to consider the other
creatures that makes their homes in our houses. Mice are well known to
be fond of mashed potatoes, and frequently leave little kibbles behind
as a way of saying thank you.
Use the weekend to make some miniature clothes for your mother's
friends, and if they disappear while you are at work, you can be assured
that the Exalted Capybara has given you the rare opportunity to make
Mouse Chip Cookies. (They are made like chocolate chip cookies, only you
spin the mice in until they are dizzy.)
If her four-footed friends leave a note complaining that the shoes are
too small and you have failed to make proper hats for them, you may want
instead to try making Potato au Raton. It is a gustatory delight, and I
will be happy to share the recipe with you, for only $29.95, provided
you leave payment in pennies under the hollow rock in your flower bed
where you usually keep the extra house key.
* * *
DEAR COUSIN OTTO: I found out today that I am adopted. Well, "adopted"
might be the wrong word. "Repossessed" is better.
I've lived the last 24 years in the billing department of St. Peter's
Medical Center, and although the regular staff turnover confused me, I
always had assumed that my parents were the department employees. Today
when I was reading up on some of the delinquent accounts, I discovered
that my birth parents were unable to pay the hospital's labor and
delivery bill, so the hospital repossessed me.
From what I can tell, my real parents are two people named Webster and
Beatrice, from some place called Markle City. What should I do? -
DEAR SNARKIE G.: Some apples are best uneaten, some boxes are best
unopened, and some questions are best unanswered. Trust me on this.
Cousin Otto offers advice on any subject of interest to his readers.
Simply send him your question, care of firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to
include three mice as payment, but no banana-flavored ones, as he is
allergic and they give him a rash.
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4. Those weren't kibbles.