Completely Serious Advice with Sam Walker #7


Question 1:

I have to buy a gift for my sister-in-law. I don’t like my sister-in-law. What could I get her that would hurt her or just make her feel bad?

There are varying levels of cruelty.

  1. The classic Russian doll situation, with a twist. Make a box-inside-a-box situation that goes maybe seven boxes deep. The important thing is to end it with a jewelry box. Inside leave a $5 bill that says, “Bitch, you think I’d get you jewelry?” If you are revered for your catty sense of humor, she will be the coward who couldn’t take a joke. If nobody finds the gift funny, shrug and offer, “I’m just such a Samantha!”
  2. If you are wealthy, give your sister-in-law an envelope filled with a large sum of money, accompanied by a note that says, “For your horribly unfortunate chin. Or your nose. We will accept the nose.”
  3. The Long Con: Find a nice, smallish porcelain sculpture and a glass-cutting knife. Next, purchase a brand of superglue with a low Amazon rating. Remove a part of the statue, glue it back together and wrap it up. Your sister-in-law will love it, and if she doesn’t, corner her after and give her some made up story about how you inherited it from your great-grandbubby. The key is to make her care about what you gave her. All that’s left to do is sit back and wait for the statue to fall apart, at which point you have a valid reason to yell at your sister-in-law as much as you want. How could she disrespect great-grandbubby by taking such poor care of her heirloom? This gag is virtually untraceable. If she ever thinks to confront you about your gift, all you have to do is say something along the lines of, “Who would ever put so much thought and effort into such a crazy act of patient passive-aggression to plan such a long-term conspiracy?”

Question 2:

I have a small penis, and I’m sick of it ruining everything. What can I do?

Check your e-mail.

Question 3:

I will be meeting my older boyfriend’s parents for the first time soon, but I’m worried about how I may come across to them, as there is a five-year age difference. I don’t want them to get the wrong idea, and I want to come across as his peer, not some naïve little girl he picked up. I mean, I keep thinking be yourself is the best policy, but I could use some pointers.   

You will want to approach this situation with the most mature mindset you can muster, and honestly, that’s just not possible if you are trying to be yourself. No offense meant, but if you were to go on “Jeopardy!” would you be yourself? Of course not! You would be your speeding, just-stayed-up-for-72-hours-straight-cramming-random-archives-of-divergent-trivia-so-you-could-maybe-make-some-money-but-more-importantly-not-look-like-a-dumbass-in-front-of-all-North-America-self. Well, this dinner is “Jeopardy! Family Edition,” but instead of winning money, you can play for small amounts of respect and self esteem.

Now, I doubt your significant other’s biological scions will be quite as difficult as Trebek, so breathe easy there. If your boyfriend’s last name is Trebek, however, bail immediately, no matter how small you think the chance of crossing paths with the fabled quizzer may be. No one can stand up to his sheer levels of maturity. Trebek is more mature than 10 librarians simultaneously shushing a kid skating past a cracked window. It is said that in first grade, one of Trebek’s classmates shouted “penis” to the uproarious cheers of his classmates, only to have the already graying fledgling host stand up and say, calmly but with authority, “Calm down children. He merely made mention of basic anatomy, and while varying for boys and girls, they both can be grouped together to be referred to as…I was looking for ‘What are genitalia?’”

But enough about the mythology of Trebek. You will have a rough time at this dinner if you aren’t careful with your footing. You can’t be too agreeable, or you seem like some spineless hussy. Yet if you are too abrasive or contrary, they’ll just think you’re a bitch. Almost any stance or persona you can adopt could backfire. For example, you could take on a save-the-earth stance to seem educated and well-meaning, but there is a chance that they could think recycling is for Commies and that global warming is a myth. The political or current event route might make you seem like an overbearing know-it-all. Really, there is only one way this could go well: appeal to the natural human compulsion for greed.

You need to act rich, and I’m not talking a few million either. Try the kind of wealth that would put Scrooge McDuck to shame. Think so full of money that you could casually command two butlers to fight to the death without a second thought. Now, a person can say they’re rich, but that’ll only get you so far. To truly sell your apparent wealth, you need to do what all rich people learn before they can walk. You need to know more about manners and random etiquette than any person should.

Instead of studying all the arcane rules of socially navigating the elite, all you have to do is make your boyfriend’s parents think they are wrong, that your knowledge of such things is superior.  I suggest the following: lure them into a sort of social trap. You are going to spout random facts during dinner. While doing this, seem as obnoxious as possible, so much so that your boyfriend’s parents insist on checking your facts. As soon as you notice one of his parents look down at a smartphone, you have won. All you need to do is act quite taken aback and mention how you have never seen anyone use a phone during dinner.  If they think they are in the wrong, they will cease to question and you will have success.

 Eventually, they will need proof of the money, which can be a problem. Just say something along the lines of your family lost all their wealth and now you are poor, but have gained a heart of gold through the turbulent times you have faced. They may view your trials as a wonderful bit of character development, but most likely they will hate you.

Well, I hope this helped some people out there. Have any issues or questions? 

E-mail them to

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