I just finished reading an internet advice column. I am damn glad I am not an internet advice columnist. Someone writes to you 500 words. From those 500 words you are supposed to figure out what their real problem is — in a sense, it’s never what they think it is — and then offer wise advice on how to deal with it. Yeah.
This poor advice columnist I was just reading — the guy has a conscience! He honestly wants to be helpful, and he does not want to settle for less than giving good advice. For some reason, that causes me to feel concern for him. Perhaps I even feel sorry for him. How can anyone do that job?
In person, face-to-face, some people are gifted therapists. Effective therapists. But how can anyone be effective as an advice columnist? Effective with only 500 words to go on?