Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash Vol. XXXIII: Trekkies vs. Trekkers, selfish terminally ill people vs. taco-flavored Doritos, staying young vs. getting old

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Matt Labash
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      Matt Labash

      Hi, welcome to “Ask Matt Labash.” I’ll be your host, Matt Labash. The idea for this column – if idea isn’t too strong a word – is that it is not a column at all. Rather, it’s a conversation. One in which I do ninety-five percent of the talking. If you did most of the talking, you’d have to watch my eyes go dead and my attention wander until it was my turn to talk again. So trust me, it’s better this way.

      For those unfamiliar with me from my day job at The Weekly Standard, I’ll give you a capsule bio by way of introduction: I have the gift of wisdom. Does that sound arrogant? I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention. I didn’t choose wisdom. It chose me. If I had my druthers, I’d have chosen another gift, perhaps the untold riches of Lil’ Wayne, whose teeth are made of actual diamonds, or to be the sexiest man alive, like Rachel Maddow. But wisdom is what they gave me, so wisdom is all I have to give back to you.

      This is not, you should know, a mere advice column. If you need advice, I’ll give it. But the only rule here is that there are no rules. You can ask me a question about anything that’s on your mind: current events, pop culture, media, theology, string theory, fishing tips, wicker repair. The only limits we have are those of your imagination. And those of my knowledge base. Which is considerably limited, truth be told. So try not to ask me anything that requires research. Though they tell me I have access to Google on this computer if we need it.

      If all goes according to plan, ours will not be a traditional writer/reader relationship. It’s more complex than that. I might empathize or cajole. I might educate, instruct, or inspire. I might pretend to answer your question while actually reporting you to Social Services, since you’re a dangerous person who should not have contact with children. I might tell you to climb up on my shoulders, that you’re not heavy, you’re my brother. Or I might tell you that you are heavy, and that you should hop down until you lose a few pounds. I might just sidle up behind you, put my big strong man hands on the small of your back, and whisper in your ear the words of the poet, Kenny Rogers: “We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?”

      To which you’ll say something like, “I can’t, I’ve got to go home and wash my hair.”
      To which I’ll say something like, “Shhh. We’ve got tonight babe, why don’t you stay?”
      Wherever this takes us, our journey begins now:

      <i>Matt Labash is a senior writer with The Weekly Standard. His first book, <a href="">Fly Fishing with Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys</a> will be published next month by Simon & Schuster.</i>

I’m feeling insecure about my age. Could you throw some wisdom my way? – Lyla

You don’t specify your age, which is probably just as well. Since age-insecurity is nearly universal. When you’re young, the years can’t come fast enough. You need them to accumulate rapidly in order to bring you the spoils of adulthood – a driver’s license, beer, discretionary income. Then, after about the age of 30, you realize that the sand in the hourglass is only falling one way, and that eventually – sooner than you think — you’re going to run out of it.

On that chipper note, if it’s any consolation, I’ve met a lot of people in my life. And not a one of them hasn’t gotten older since I’ve met them.  Aging – it’s contagious. Everybody’s doing it. And since stopping time isn’t an option, the only alternative is to stop aging. Meaning the jig’s up. So rest easy in the liberation of knowing that you don’t have a choice.

A few months ago, I heard a radio interview with a terminally ill journalist. She’d once been a gold-plated action junkie and a swashbuckling war correspondent. Now, she was in a hospice, waiting for the inevitable. When asked if she spent a lot of time looking back, she said that no, she didn’t. When reading a book, no matter how great chapter two was, when you’re on chapter eight, you’re still more interested in what happens next than what you’ve already read. That’s the spirit, I think. If I had a fourth wish (see last question), I’d wish to keep that in mind at all times. Though third place would still be to bring back taco-flavored Doritos.  You have to keep priorities straight. Still, you don’t have to spend life looking back wistfully. Nostalgia can be the devil. Nor do you have to dread what comes next. Life’s pretty good about staying interesting and yielding unexpected pleasures. All that’s required is to keep turning pages.

Matt Labash is a senior writer with the Weekly Standard magazine. His book, “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys,” was published this spring by Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.

  • kyfho23

    Why, Jim, that last point was almost profound. Good luck with the second surgery, and I hope the absence of strong painkillers doesn’t ruin your life too much.

    BTW, after surgery, claiming your knee is haunted make a great excuse for kneeing people in the stones. Living in Washington, there will be no absence of hauntings.

  • gringott

    Salt n Vinegar was a chip before it’s time – and it’s time was 20 years ago. I’ve moved on to extra salt pretzel rings [Cinci style] dipped in jalepeno cheese sauce.

  • wrenchie

    First of all, this misty-eyed remembrance of Taco Doritos is like someone pining for a return to the days of 78 rpm records in an age of CD’s. Besides, that taco flavored powder crap showered upon the dorito-proper made it practically impossible for any kind of respectable dip (nacho cheese, et al.) to cling to the chip itself. IOW, the coating rendered the chip “dip-phobic”, making un-suitable for an enhanced snacking experience. I’ve since moved on to salt-n-vinegar potato chips and bbq pork rinds. Would suggest same for all.