PETTY QUESTIONS: Ready to start

By Owen Bates on November 13, 2010

Hi! Welcome to Petty Questions - a new advice column about trivial things. Let's get started.


My brother sometimes uses BBQ sauce and I really don't like the smell. Help!


We can't choose our family, in most cases. Orphans have a unique advantage in this regard.

But all kidding aside, it's time you found a new brother.

Here is a list of places loaded with extra brothers: Rose of Sharon Organization, Milton Hershey School, The Palmer Home for Children, St. Joseph's Village Rockleigh, Covenant Ranch, Stephen Wiggins Home for Boys, to name a few. If you're looking for a more international sibling - a lil' pip with zest - may I suggest: The Bishop Judith Craig Children's Village (Sierra Leone), God's Littlest Angles (Haiti), Ban San Faan (Thailand), Orphanage No. 12 (Ukraine), or Chongqing Children's Welfare Institute (China). You can find information for these homes and more on the Internet, a place full of links. You can find anything online.

But let's say you can't replace your current brother with a newer, quieter one. What do you do?

You could plug your nose with a clothespin, but this hurts and it damages you. Breathing out of the side of your mouth farthest away from your brother's BBQ sauce? That's one of the tricks of the trade I use as a germophobe, so normally I would wholeheartedly recommend it. However, you're probably sitting with votre frère and his hog sauce because you guys are eating dinner, family-style. If you're trying to breathe out of your mouth while you're chewing and swallowing, well, I've got some bad news for you. You're probably going to choke and die of brain problems.

Not to mention how gross you are for eating with your mouth open. Can you imagine how people would feel when you mash up all that food matter, smelling your saliva enzymes as they waft through the entire house? Why would you do this? What kind of a person are you? I feel like I've created a monster.

Look, you're brother isn't going to give up smearing BBQ sauce all over his spaghetti. I know how he feels. I personally love pouring ketchup over everything. My hamburgers and curly fries get so soggy I have to eat them with a fork and knife, like some stupid gentleman. But I'll never give it up: any Wednesday night you will find me in my favorite diner, drinking ketchup. That's the way it'll be ‘til the day I die of Type-2 diabetes.

The take-away is that, if I know the two of us (and to be clear I do not), no one's forfeiting his sauce anytime soon. My advice? Sit on the other side of the table! That way you can stare into your brother's eyes and have a meaningful conversation with him. Remember the summers you two spent idling away the days? Memories well up, hours wasted rock-skipping and tire-swinging on Lake Castawoganon. The famous last words of F. Scott Fitzgerald appear out of thin air, wisps of smoke hazing in and out of view:

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

This is the part where you steal all his BBQ sauce. Now you can eat in peace. Or you can sell the stuff back to him-for twice as much gold.


Why dose DT Tacoma not have a world class concrete bowl or skatepark??? With all the vacant lots and so called Parks you really cant skate anything in Tacoma with out getting some flack.... It would be sick to have one on the waterfront.....


I agree, M! It would be rad to have a nice, multi-layer, trans-Commencement Bay roller-skating arena. Kickflips, toe-drops, ossies, back-slaps-bum a 450, Chet! We could have an area for battles and settle disputes of honor properly. Get in touch with the City Council!

Just another little brief thing, M. Hope this doesn't seem too nit-picky on my part:

 "cant" = can't. Come on, Cormac!

Hope this helps!

Coming up next week: Creeping Doubt. Personal insecurity or material insecurity? Joy Division or New Order? New Order or ELO?'s supposed to be a secret.

Please direct questions to: