Dear Abby to Housewife in Hellas Planitia, 2286

The way to a man's heart is through the tube that delivers food to his stomach.

Dear HOUSEWIFE:

I can’t tell you how many women write in every single Martian day complaining that things “in the bedroom” just aren’t the same anymore. Listen, we’ve all been there. When you’re young, you can hardly keep your hands off each other. Then gradually you grow accustomed to each other, and suddenly he’s spending all his time drinking pod-brewed high-oxygen beer and playing cyber golf on his Fantasmus 64. You know, the one he insisted on buying with the money you were saving up for a second honeymoon on Deimos?

The situation can seem hopeless, but it’s not. Remember these three rules:

1) Give each other space. Until the government figures out a way to make Martian air breathable without an oxygen tank, it may seem like a challenge to get out of your pod and give your man some much-needed space. But try signing up for volunteer work sorting bodies from the latest alien massacre or join a knitting circle. Anything that will keep you busy and out of each other’s hair for a few hours. Then, when you finally do see each other, you’ll appreciate the little things even more.

2) Keep it exciting. Sex is only as exciting as the participants. Try wearing something a little different for a change, perhaps lingerie regulation model X instead of 3A. And nobody likes to have sex with someone wearing their government-issued spaceboots! So take them off for a few minutes; I guarantee you won’t regret it. If you really want to spice things up why not try “roleplaying?” You’re the domineering interplanetary immigration officer; he’s desperate to leave the burning planet Earth…you see where this is going.

3) If all else fails, you will have to deliver your husband model 227ZXY to the Head Office for reassignment. There simply isn’t enough fresh sperm on this planet to let your husband’s go to waste.

Analysis:

Determining the authenticity of every letter we receive is an arduous and sometimes impossible task. Determining whether a slip of papyrus can be dated to a specific Egyptian dynasty requires teams of scientists working in shifts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So when we receive a letter supposedly from a few hundred years in the future, we usuallty feel pretty confident in declaring it a fraud. Just last week we received not one but two letters from “2020,” thanking us for our support of the Herman Cain presidency. In the past, we’ve received letters about iPhones that connect directly to the user’s brain stem. Once, we even received a check forward-dated to March 12th, 4141, which got us arrested when we tried to deposit it. And yet, there was something about this letter that made us stop and reconsider.

The truth is far less sinister than expected. Apparently, the popular “Dear Abby” syndicated feature uses an “evergreen” strategy, whereby the columns are prewritten in advance to cover the author in case she is on vacation or otherwise unavailable to perform her duties. She actually died in 1988, and her column has been slowly working its way through the thousands and thousands of prewritten letters. Some regular readers may have noticed when she referred in a May 7th, 2007 column to the “increasing fad of interconnected computer boxes.” Sharper-eyed readers may have noticed in her 2009 column about couples with political disagreements:

Why throw away all you’ve built up, all you’ve worked for? My husband is a loyal Democrat and has been for years, while I am a regular Republican voter. It’s never caused us any difficulties in marriage or bed! Although I’d imagine he was gritting his teeth when President Dole was reelected last year!

This letter shows just how elaborate the process was and is. In 1988, the idea of marrying someone from the other side of the political spectrum was not as repulsive as it later became, and a subsequent boycott of her column by Tea Party groups in 2010 would show. Even more than that, it appears that she, or her handlers, created a massive computer simulation to determine the likely paths humanity would travel, then wrote columns to cover all of these eventualities. Luckily, since she deals with slice-of-life problems, the actual text of her column never changed. Rather, she would write a column like the one above, which was originally “Why aren’t my husband and I banging like we used to?”, and run it through the computer, which would spit out hundreds of columns by adding in the details of the simulated world. We’ve actually received several copies of this exact response. Some took place in the near future, three came from the 1990s, one apparently from a post-apocalyptic wasteland where men no longer had penises, and this one. It took us a few weeks to realize that the leaks were from a desperate “Dear Abby” technician, kept in squalid conditions in a Pakistani prison and forced to crank out column after column in conditions no better than slavery. We tipped off the Feds, who raided the country, only to be distracted by Osama bin Laden. Keep your head up, Pradeep. Someday all the grandmothers reading “Parade” will die, and you will be free.  

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Dear Abby to Housewife in Hellas Planitia, 2286

  1. marianne larson

    The more things change the more they stay the same.

  2. Thank god the crazy predictions about Dole or interconnected computer boxes never came to pass.

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