Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: Foul-hooking hipsters, back pain remedies, and Obama infidelity

Matt Labash Columnist
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Dear Matt, In their holy matrimony, who is more likely to step out on the other, Barack or Michelle? – Dreedle

This is a mean-spirited question which only a mean-spirited person would answer. Therefore, I’m glad we found each other. I don’t wish to jinx the union of two kids who are clearly smitten. But the presidency is a pressure cooker which can force even the most virtuous president to find comfort in unexpected places, like an intern’s mouth.

My quick and dirty answer would be Michelle. If Barack gets a spare minute – which he seems to have a lot of – why would he have extramarital sex when he could be getting in another round of golf? Whereas, Michelle is not only subject to less scrutiny, providing more opportunities to stray, but is also the total package. She has delts of steel. She has a vegetable garden. Beneath her sunny smile beats the heart of a ferocious tigress, one who is not afraid to devour fat people, whom she clearly hates. But her ugly fatism aside, she’s a catch. I personally haven’t been this attracted to a first lady since Betty Ford. Not because I thought Betty Ford was so attractive, more because I thought she’d be fun to drink with.

I’m going to disappoint Obama detractors, however, in saying that such speculation is just a parlor game, with no grounding in reality. Every marriage turns on the axis of its own peculiarities, so it’s hard to say what makes one work. But experts pretty much agree that a major factor in any successful marriage is not only loving the other person, but loving yourself. On that basis, my guess is that the Obama marriage is extremely secure, as both seem very strong in the self-love department.

Hi Matt, Are there some good exercises for the back muscles? My back hurts like hell when I get up in the morning. During the day, it’s o.k. Thanks – Gerald Hay

Chronic back pain afflicts roughly 30 million people in the United States, and can be caused by everything from improper lifting form to bad posture to paying women to walk across you in stiletto heels. I’m not going to ask what the cause of your pain is. That’s between you and your conscience.

But while people spend billions a year on back pain remedies — chiropractors, OxyContin, acupuncture — there is often a counterintuitive solution which you’ve already mentioned: exercise more. Sitting on the couch lifting nothing heavier than a BBQ Fritos bag does nobody’s back any favors. The more you strengthen the muscles in your back, the less susceptible you are to injury. Here’s a helpful link from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons that suggests everything from wall squats to hip flexor stretches. Remember, that I am not a doctor, even though I watched a lot of Trapper John, M.D. as a child. So if you follow this exercise regimen and injure yourself, don’t sue me, sue the good folks at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, then buy yourself something pretty with the money, like an artificial spine.

If the above exercises don’t work for you, you mentioned that your back only hurts in the morning, and is fine the rest of the day. Another option: start sleeping ‘til noon.

Are you considering selling your used flies to hipsters, who have taken to wearing them? Profiting off of idiotic declarations of irony is probably good way to supplement your writerly wages. — Hipster Doofus

Thanks for your concern about my writerly wages, but once I finish my pole-dancing classes, consider them supplemented. And no, I will not be selling used flies to hipsters, who as you referenced in the above report, have decided that wearing fly tying materials as hair extensions is the next big thing. I’d rather cast a size 2/0 Deceiver at them without pinching the barb down. Hopefully, the hipsters will give it a look, take a pass, and as they walk away, I’ll foul hook them right through the back of their Merle Haggard t-shirts. Quick, hipsters — name a Merle Haggard song besides “Okie from Muskogee”!  I didn’t think you could. (Hipsters don’t like country music, only “old” country music – though they don’t really like that either. They’re just required to say that they do, because it’s impossible for anybody to pretend that Rascal Flatts is cool.)

As you can probably tell, I’m not a big fan of hipsters since they live in annoying places like Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and since they do annoying things like appropriating American classics as cultural affectations, thereby ruining them for the rest of us (running cupcakes into the ground, “loving” Johnny Cash, naming their precocious hipster children “Atticus,” etc.). So that if you genuinely like listening to Johnny Cash while reading To Kill A Mockingbird while enjoying a Hostess cupcake, you come to hate yourself, because you’re no better than a lousy hipster.

It’s no secret that it’s tough sledding being a fly shop owner in these trying economic times. Of the 40 million fisherpersons in the United States, only about 6 million of them fly fish. So on the one hand, some trend-worshipping Brooklynite running around with grizzly saddle in her hair is probably good for the bottom lines of struggling fly shops. For the latter’s sake, then, I’ll do my part by telling hipsters that I hear Gink floatant makes an excellent facial moisturizer, and that all the cool kids are getting their genitals pierced with tungsten bead-head pheasant tail nymphs. Try it, you’ll like it.

On the other hand, if this trend persists, fly tiers are going to be short of much needed materials, prices will be driven up, and the cost will be passed on to you, the fisherman. This is of no concern to the hipster of course. They have no intention of using these materials as God intended them to be used. After all, it’s hard to fish ironically, since fishing produces joy, an honest human emotion foreign to most hipsters. But how would they like it if fly fishermen made a run on discount liquor stores and drug-store racks so that we could fish trucker-hat flies under Pabst Blue Ribbon can strike indicators. (I’m sure PBR and trucker hats are hopelessly dated hipster references, but I’m too tired to keep up.) Maybe we will. Turnabout is fair play. Watch your back, hipsters.

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,” is now available in paperback from Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.