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September 18, 2012

The Guidance Counselor

Of Fish and Fishermen (Warning: Non-Baseball Content)

by Jason Parks

Many of you have come to respect Jason Parks' opinions about prospects. Some of you have also come to enjoy his opinions about refrigerators, alcoholic beverages, and Martin Kove. The answers below are not about baseball. Because this is a website about baseball, we'll be keeping Jason's non-baseball answers in a separate blog section called "The Guidance Counselor" to make them easy to find if you enjoy them and easy to avoid if you don't. We've also made this feature free. None of the quality BP baseball content you've become accustomed to was harmed in the making of this article.

Guidance Counselor, my relationship just ended and I can’t get over my ex. She haunts me in my sleep, and I can’t escape her memory when I’m awake. How did you do it? How is it done?

The Guidance Counselor: Who said I did? The standard advice of "it gets easier” is often deployed in this situation, but that's merely a portrait of Norman Rockwell’s America. It’s glossy and happy, and it makes you think glossy and happy are possibilities in your current turmoil, and it’s utterly foolish and nothing but the misguided projection of a very sad man with a very large audience. It will no doubt appear to get easier, mostly because time and the hardships life will throw more chaos on your plate, and your stomach won’t have time to selfishly hurt for one when it can hurt for many.

Breakups aren’t easy to get over because it's difficult to convince yourself that failure wasn’t your fault. As much as we are creatures of deflection, we are also creatures that possess a form of self-awareness that allows us to form intimate relationships with our own thoughts and feelings. You are your only true best friend, and it’s a difficult task to tell your best friend that his relationship went south because he was inadequate. I’m sorry to hear about the termination of your relationship. Words are stitches, not shields, and the fight for yourself doesn’t change because a significant other walked away, making this task appear more difficult; after all, companionship is supposed to make the fights of life easier, when in reality they only create additional battlefields. Ultimately, this is your battle, and it’s going to play out regardless of your chosen companion. Fight it to the best of your ability. If you can find someone who wants to fight their own battles next to yours, hey, that’s great. Just make sure you aren’t looking for someone to wield the sword for you. That never ends well.

Hey, I need to make a fish dish to impress a girl. What should I make?

The Guidance Counselor: Before I answer, I just want to say that I love all the relationship questions I receive.  As someone who was ejected from the game of marriage for arguing balls and strikes, I feel I’m in a premium position to offer unbelievably bad counsel to those in need of guidance. This is basically Charlie Sheen writing about not doing blow and paying for evening entertainment.

Anyway, I highly recommend making a simple dish that looks more extravagant than it really is. Rick Bayless has a playful little recipe for a grilled salmon dish, with a homemade lemon and thyme scented salsa, and it’s full of flavor, it’s healthy, and it’s delicious. This dish will work for several reasons: 1) Salmon tastes good and it's easy to find; 2) Making a dish called Salmon Veracruz with a homemade lemon and thyme salsa sounds exotic and complicated, and it will whisk her away to a foreign land, where your skilled hand and homemade salsa abilities will cause her to collapse into your arms for an evening of romantic pecks on the lips and hopefully some light adult-themed petting; 3) The fish is easy to make, so even if you botch the salsa, which is unlikely considering it's just a salsa, you can still serve the main body of the dish and hopefully stumble into some petting if grilled properly; 4) Effort carries a lot of weight, so in the event of culinary catastrophe, the failed execution of the entire dish might not matter as much as the overall intent, which might lead to some petting if you play it right.

Dear Guidance Counselor: I am a 22-year-old virgin. I am emailing you because I need some sound advice. I have a strong hatred for humanity and people in general, so whenever I am around people, men or women, I feel the need to drop kick them. I could never date a girl that is religious for reasons that are quite obvious, so that eliminates a good portion of the population. I mainly listen to death metal and hardcore, as a rule of thumb if a band or artist is on the radio, I despise them. Not because they are on the radio but because roughly 95% of the music on the radio is god awful, and it appears that women listen to this music a lot. Not only that but they don't seem too into death metal or hardcore, so on the off chance that I have one in the car with me, they are immediately put off by this music. I also watch a gross amount of sports, mainly combat sports, anything that is violent really, as well as baseball (obviously), hockey, football, NASCAR, not the NBA 'cause James Dolan will never let the Knicks win a championship. I should also add that I don't drink or do any drugs, it isn't as if I think these things are bad, quite the opposite; I think weed, mushrooms and things such as that are quite important in life, and drinking keeps people sane for the most part when they don't abuse it, these things just aren't for me. So going to a bar and hitting on drunk women seems morally wrong when I'm stone cold sober. In saying this I do have a 70-grade personality without question, it can play up to a 80 in the correct environment, mainly because my political correctness is non-existent. This isn't to say that I'm your typical young asshole, my personality is hard to describe. The closest thing I can come to a comp is a 22-year-old George Costanza who isn't tied up by being a fictional character on network television so he can swear. So, as you can tell by this poorly written and extremely incoherent email, what should I do?

The Guidance Counselor: You sound like quite the catch. You also sound like a sociopath, or at least a person who can boast about sharing some of the key behavioral characteristics with a sociopath. We can spot our own. I would recommend finding a girl of equal genetic complication, one that shares in your interests so you won’t have to subject someone from the social proletariat to your refined taste in metal or hardcore, and you won’t have to drop kick them when your highly excitable blood achieves a boil.  If your personality is indeed a plus-plus weapon—which based on your biography sounds like a generous grade—but if you can put a 70 on your personality, you don’t need any advice on the dating front. A great personality is a great disguise for our imperfections, be they physical or emotional. Over time, a great personality becomes a great minimizer of flaw; the disguise no longer shields others from our defects as much as it lessens the intensity of the actual defects in question. I’m sure if your personality is as well above-average as you claim, the fact that you have other shortcomings won’t matter much in the end. Best of luck to you.

Seeking advice? Contact the Guidance Counselor at jparks@baseballprospectus.com

Jason Parks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here

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