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August 23, 2012

The Guidance Counselor

Grading Grills and Getting Grounded (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.

 

So I have this friend who is stuck in a bit of a dilemma. He's really great at his job, and due in large part to his performance, his company (which typically doesn't make much money) is having a breakout year. The particular line of work can be physically taxing, and the company has told my friend they're going to force him to take his vacation at the most crucial point of the, uh, fiscal year, in order to prevent him from burning out. My friend wants to keep working; he loves his job and coworkers. I think the company has his best interests at heart but it may turn off the rest of his coworkers, or force my friend to choose to work somewhere else once he's able to. What should my friend do?

- Stephen S. in Washington D.C.


The Guidance Counselor: I rarely trust people who claim to love their jobs, love their co-workers, and refuse to cash in all of their vacation days. It’s like the weirdo people who loved high school and look back fondly as if being in flux of adolescence and adulthood wasn’t graphically uncomfortable and unfortunate. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, and I tend to avoid these people at all costs. This is the new United States. Dilemmas over forced vacations should rarely (if ever) be an issue. We should embrace the fact that we have become a fat, lazy, hateful country and we got that way because we hate our jobs, and we hate our co-workers, and we take more vacations days than we are offered. We also drink too much, eat too much, and watch live-action tabloid crap in order to reconcile the hatred and to compress our emotions into easy-to-label containers. Your friend sounds like a thoughtful, hard-working person who cares more about the company than his/her own solipsistic needs. That’s un-American, and I won’t have it. Nobody likes an over-achiever. My advice is to stay clear of this friend. You don’t want this type of influence in your life.

But tell your friend Stephen that I love his fastball.
 

Question: Give your proficiency at rating appliances. Can you paint me a picture of what an 80 type BBQ grill could look like. Also, what type of tools should I be looking in a grill?

John from San Francisco, CA
 

The Guidance Counselor: First and foremost, a grill needs to be honest. When you ask it to cook your meat without prejudice, you want to receive an honest answer: “Yes; I can cook this meat to your specification. I won’t let you down." When you ask it to protect your meat and keep it safe while it cooks, you want a grill to respond with, “I’ve got your back. I won’t explode and burn your face and ruin your meat.” Grills come in all shapes and sizes, but the makeup of the grill is paramount to the overall grade. In a world where choices are the waves crashing over our consumerist heads, integrity of product emerges as the shield to calm the onslaught. If you want a good grill, ask the metallic beauty if its heart is true and of honest intent. If it answers yes, construct a pyramid of charcoal in its open mouth, grab a match, and take the first step towards love.
 

Question: I need to make a piñata for my Aunt's divorce party. I have candy and a half-eaten glue stick. Where do I go from here? This is a time sensitive matter.

Regards,

Mike

 

The Guidance Counselor: If you take a bunch of prescription drugs and get into a large pillowcase, you can call yourself a piñata and nobody will know the difference.  Just provide the kids with candy and the adults with booze and a platform to gossip, speculate, and complain. Everybody wins.
 

So my sister was just talking to my mom about hair styling, and she
was saying that after hair styling school you have to be an assistant
before you become a hair stylist.  So I butted in and said, "It's kind
of like you have to be an apprentice before you become a Jedi Master
then, right?"

Anyways, I'm grounded for a week and was wondering what I should do
with my time, Jason?

 

The Guidance Counselor: Were you grounded because of the somewhat rude conversation intrusion or were you grounded to make your sister feel better about her life choices? Either way, being grounded in the modern era doesn’t seem like punishment. When I was kid and I acted a fool, my father made me dig holes in the backyard for hours at a clip, taking dirt out of the ground and then replacing it after the dirt pile was deemed sufficiently robust. Always the method parent, my father wore country overalls and would drink whisky from the bottle while inspecting the efforts of my manual labor. Assuming the holes met with his approval, I was allowed inside, and we would watch R-rated movies and smoke cigars together. I was 8. If I turned out okay, you should be fine.
 

Question: What is the proper way for one to react when a co-worker announces the birth of their newborn daughter to whom they have given a name so terrible that it shall inevitably doom their precious bundle of joy to a life spent as a day-shift stripper?

Sincerely,
Dubious in Dallas

 

The Guidance Counselor: True Story: I once met this daytime dance employee named Happiness, and she invited me to sit in a swimming pool with her. I worked for a moving company when I lived in Texas, and Happiness was a customer moving from an apartment complex to another apartment complex in my hometown. Her hair was strawberry blonde, and her face featured an aesthetically incongruent makeup display that made her look slightly unbalanced and sleepy. She introduced herself as Happiness, and I introduced myself as Jason. After a few laughs and a few awkward stares, we were in the communal swimming pool of her complex, and she told me the story of her life. She collected miniature antiques, and I called them faux-antiques because they were clearly modern pieces of crap sold to people who aren’t capable of determining the provenance of collectables. She told me to take good care of them, and I told her that I liked her smile and asked her out and she said no. Happiness was the ultimate moving company customer on a hot summer’s day in the state of Texas, and we shared a body of water, the chlorine and pedestrian urine stinging our skin as we splashed in our own ignorance. My co-workers weren’t happy with me because they were busy navigating the two-story climb and filling the truck with her belongings as I sat in the outdoor bathhouse, hoping to play a game of Roman soldier with Happiness, the half-ginger daytime dance employee. It was a fantastic time. Don’t judge every child by its daytime dance employee name, and don’t judge every daytime dance employee for being a daytime dance employee.

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

19 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Peter Ellwood

The addition of this section makes it a great day at BP.

Aug 23, 2012 09:03 AM
rating: 5
 
ttt

If I could give a + to this entire article I would.

Aug 23, 2012 09:04 AM
rating: 9
 
onuhwt

Just Awesome.......

Aug 23, 2012 09:14 AM
rating: 1
 
dee150586

This is great Jason. Kudos!

Aug 23, 2012 09:18 AM
rating: 0
 
juniusworth

Fantastic.

Aug 23, 2012 09:26 AM
rating: 0
 
zwoodill

80 grade absurdity. Well done, Parks.

Aug 23, 2012 09:27 AM
rating: 1
 
Lastblues

Holy shit.

Aug 23, 2012 09:30 AM
rating: 2
 
Tim Carvin

This is probably the most important article you have ever written Jason. Not enough is said about the plight of the daytime stripper.

Aug 23, 2012 09:31 AM
rating: 7
 
skelton

Well, I think you should give up prospect writing and focus on this. And I love your prospect writing. You clearly have a higher calling.

Aug 23, 2012 09:54 AM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

Some day, I want a copy of your collected works, so I can put the 20-teens into perspective; the decade is wonderfully summed up by your brand of fatalistic cynicism. If you haven't been exposed to the newspaper comic strip Pearls Before Swine, you should check it out. It's the only example of writing besides yours that I think captures modern American apathy-born-of-abjection quite the same way you do.

As usual, I enjoyed your post.

Aug 23, 2012 10:04 AM
rating: 1
 
Andrew Martinez

I like how this ended #wet.

Aug 23, 2012 15:56 PM
rating: 1
 
amazin_mess

OH man...that was good.

Aug 23, 2012 16:13 PM
rating: 0
 
SteveWhite

I'm floored. Not even joking, you have a gift to be able to make this stuff up. (Are you making it up?). Your writing is insanely entertaining, Jason. I don't know what else to say other than please keep this stuff coming. I just found Baseball Prospectus a few months ago and it has made this baseball season the most exciting I have ever had. And I'm a Red Sox fan. So you know that I am giving you very high praise considering the circus that has followed Bobby V into town in Boston. I hope you have fun at what you do, because it is extremely fun to read and follow. Cheers

Aug 23, 2012 16:20 PM
rating: 1
 
SteveWhite

Really? Someone disliked my comment?

Aug 24, 2012 11:48 AM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

Welcome to Baseball Prospectus comment-hood.

Aug 24, 2012 14:09 PM
rating: 0
 
nickkappel

You could charge for this quality of content if you wanted to.

Aug 23, 2012 16:38 PM
rating: 1
 
kddean

I don't want to give the whole name, but a friend of my wife named her daughter a name that when said quickly, her first and last name sounded like "No Respect".

I begged my wife to tell her. She wouldn't and won't.

Aug 24, 2012 13:47 PM
rating: 0
 
jtpapka

Roller Girl or Happiness, I just cant decide, they both really just exhibit more #want than one man can handle....apparently not J. Parks!

Aug 24, 2012 17:52 PM
rating: 0
 
Jack Smalley

I had a talk with my grill as you suggest. My grill is honest. I then had a talk with my refrigerator. It is not honest, there are always fewer beers in it than I drank. I think.

Aug 25, 2012 10:56 AM
rating: 1
 
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