Advice From an Old Coot

My dear Hobson,

Given your exasperated response to my advice on making big bucks in the Land of O (“Surviving the Budget Crisis,” Correspondence, March), I conclude that your university taught you to appreciate the literary tools of sarcasm, sardonic humor, hyperbole, and irony.  Points to you, nephew: You have acquired a carpenter’s box with which to approach American politics, both now and in the future.

In your latest e-mail you have migrated from the barnyard of politics to the kingdom of the heart.  You write that your girlfriend recently judged you deficient in communication skills.  You took offense, severed your ties, and left her in tears.  Hindsight has left you wondering whether you’ve made a mistake.  You write that you may love Magnolia after all—or “Mags,” as you affectionately call her.

Magnolia?  God’s breath, boy, what sort of name is that?  Have you selected some ghastly pseudonym to disguise the young woman’s identify?  Please reassure your distraught uncle that “Mags” is not a mask for that pleasingly plump—another literary term, a euphemism—Chi Omega from Charleston whom you brought to the Thanksgiving table two years ago.  That young lady (euphemism number...

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