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Ask Anyone

the world according to LARP

I recently met this guy who’s handsome and funny, and he has a good job. The only issue is that his biggest hobby is LARPing—live action role-playing. Think people who dress up and run around the woods fighting with foam swords, as showcased in the movie Role Models.

Everyone should have a special hobby, and if we were still kids I wouldn’t necessarily have an issue, but he’s in his mid-30s. He seems like a decent guy, and I don’t want anything too serious. Should I give him a chance or run for the hills?

—A Little Freaked Out

The Practical Cogitator says: I don’t think you should run for the hills. Let him go run in the hills. At least he has a hobby! There are so many guys out there who just like to watch TV, sit on the couch, or play video games. At least this guy does something. I think it sounds nice, that he still has an imagination. If you don’t like imagination games, then tell him that he can go LARP on his own. When he’s done LARPing and feels like a good game of cards, going for dinner, seeing movie, checking out a band, then have him call you.

handyman blues

I have a little problem. There’s a lady in my neighborhood, and she’s very nice. The problem is, I’ve helped her with a few things (answered a few questions about home repairs, helped her with some minor yard work), and now she calls or emails me all the time. I am happy to help people out when I can, but I have plenty on my plate already.

How can I get the message across to her that I can’t be helping constantly without hurting her feelings or being rude?

The Practical Cogitator says: I would let her know that after you’ve mowed your own lawn, cleaned your own gutters, patched your own roof, canned your three bushels of tomatoes, washed all your linens, cleaned all the screens and storm windows, painted your front porch, stained your back porch, cleared out your basement, painted every room on your first floor in anticipation of the family gathering at Thanksgiving, and finished all your other endless home owner errands—make the list super extra long, keep going—that you’d be happy to take a look at whatever she might need. Or you could always just tell her you have too much to do, and suggest a nice reasonable handyman.

Aberrant in Allentown says: By the sound of it, the woman is taking advantage of your kindness. That’s not “very nice.” It’s one thing for a neighbor to ask a neighbor for an occasional favor, don’t get me wrong—but, if you’re being hounded by the lady, she’s the one being rude. If you want to put a stop to it, tell her because of the tough economy you’ve gone into business doing odd jobs. Send her a bill. She’ll either pay you for your time—which might make the exchange worthwhile for you—or, more likely, she’ll find somebody else to take advantage of.

Not Ann Landers says: This woman might not have any friends or family, as is often the case with the older generation. She probably attached herself to you as a desperate way to hold onto some of the much-needed human relations that have slipped away over the years. My advice to you is to get to know this woman better. Ask her questions about her life and the family that now neglects her. Earn her trust. This will make it easier when you suggest that she sign some papers you have for her. Oh, no bother, just some legal stuff. What’s that? You should talk to your lawyer first? Remember that time when I came over for chamomile tea and we talked about the barn dance where you met your first husband, Walter? That was a day, I tell you. Now sign these papers.

At this point, her life savings are yours. And her lack of close relations will make it much easier to hasten your “inheritance.” It’s so easy for the elderly to tumble down the stairs these days. In fact it happens all the time. So often so, that nothing would arise the suspicions of those pesky coroners. Anyways, long story short: Befriend an elderly person today and you’ll profit in ways you’d never imagine!

Ask Anyone is local advice for locals with problems. Please send your questions for our panel of experts to

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