…………………………………………….. A couple of months back I read that Haruki Murakami was to become an agony uncle and that he would ‘answer questions of any kind’ on his website! Now I’ve no idea what an agony uncle is supposed to do or what skills they’re supposed to have-but having read and loved Murakami’s wonderful imaginative stories I think the answers he gives will be……… well……………….. surreal obviously!
The only problem with Haruki’s problem page was he only accepted problems for a month, then gave his answers! Here are some of the problems posed for Haruki while he was agony-uncling ( predictive text really didn’t like that word so I guess I’ve made it up!)
30 is right around the corner for me, but there isn’t a single thing that I feel like I’ve accomplished. When I was young, I thought to be an ‘adult’ must be so wonderful, but my current reality is so far away from what I imagined. And when faced with that reality, I get very disheartened. What should I do?
Every time I read that problem I think I might have written it myself – then I remember that 30 is around a very different corner for me! Anyway, here’s another……..
My wife quite frequently belches right near the back of my head when she passes behind me. When I say to her, “Stop burping behind me all the time,” she says, “It’s not on purpose. It just comes out.” I don’t think I’m bringing it upon myself in any way. Is there something I can do to stop my wife’s belching? (Murakami’s answer to this one is quite brilliant-I’ve put it at the bottom of this post – just to force you on into reading the rest of my drivel!)
Initially, I was just entertained by it but then I had a thought……Haruki’s not the only one people write to – people write to me all the time with what I’d thought previously were rather………………………………… tangential comments!………………….. Now I realise they’re cries for help!!!!!!!! I felt shame, deep deep shame! Here I am getting comments asking for advice and help and I just ignore them!
I work in the public sector in the UK (well trodden euphemism for ex-teacher-now-civil-servant!). So I’m used to being in public service – and if someone as illustrious and genius-like as Haruki gives his time to help others, then so should an eejit like me!
So I’ve decided I will respond to those desperate souls out there who write to me everyday with their somewhat random queries, for as they don’t say but should “One man’s random is another man’s lifesaver!!!!!”
And since I’ve been inspired into doing my duty to those in need by Haruki, I’ve decided to herewith name this part of my blog “Helpful Haruki The Housewives Delight Problem Page! ( it’s also partly named after one of my favourite Joni Mitchell lyrics, even though Joni doesn’t do agony auntying herself!)
So first up is this plea for help from a desperate mother ( at least I think it’s a mother!) who has asked me
Dear Helpful Haruki
Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. Now she says she never wants to go back! What shall I do?
First of all what a lovely name! As soon as I read it I thought you could have been a character in one of my novels!
I was sorry to hear what happened to little Katstron. The best way to get her back to the beach is to make it safer than anywhere else. So put hermit crabs in her hats, pillows, ear muffs, and everywhere else at home. Every time she gets bitten just say ‘We’d be safer at the beach darling baby Katstron – there’s only one hermit crab there!’ Eventually she’ll beg you to go to the beach!
I’ve got tons of these waiting but feel free to send more. So to paraphrase those truly legendary all-American problem solvers “If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can’t find the A Team …….. maybe you can hire Helpful Haruki!”
And finally, as promised ( even if you did scroll down to here rather than read this shite, here’s Mr Murakami’s wonderful answer to that poor gentlemen with the intermittently belching wife!
I hope you’ll pardon me for saying so, but I think belching is far better than farting. Perhaps you should think of it that way!!!!