Who needs ASUA Helpline? Lay your troubles on me.

I've never been one for giving advice. Making fun of things yes. But actually giving advice no way. I think it stems from an incident in sixth grade. One day while I was browsing in the school library, Carlos, the biggest kid in my class, pulled me aside. He said that he really liked a girl and he wanted her to notice him. He asked me to tell him what to do. Initially, I pled ignorance.

"What do you mean you don't know?" he demanded. "You're the smartest guy in our class. You better know."

Realizing the threat of bodily harm was looming over me, I began to think. Then I remembered an episode of "Diff'rent Strokes" in which Arnold liked a girl. Willis told him that he should be a gentleman around her. Of course, he went overboard and made a fool out of himself, but Willis' advice seemed pretty sound.

"You should be a gentleman around her. Open doors and stuff like that," I said.

"All right," he said. "This better work."

It didn't work and I was beaten to a bloody pulp. Just kidding. Several days later, Carlos cornered me and said the girl told him that he was very nice. I was one for one. I haven't given much advice since because "Diff'rent Strokes" was cancelled shortly after the incident.

What does this tale have to do with anything at the University of Arizona? Well, the other day, ASUA announced that the ASUA Helpline was getting cut. Sure there are a billion helplines out there, but once the ASUA Helpline is gone, there will be a void. I've decided I'm the man to fill that void. Last week I began to advertise my Somewhat Helpful Hotline which is designed for people with trivial problems.

I'm a trained professional, but not certified. I watch more than two dozen sitcoms a week and I've seen "Tony Robbin's Personal Power" infomercial five times. Now is the hotline helpful? Here's transcripts of actual calls the hotline received yesterday. Keep in mind, I'm learning:

Jon: Hello, Somewhat Helpful Hotline.

Voice #1: Yes.um.I have a problem. You see.um.how do I say this? Nobody likes me, everybody hates me and I'm gonna go eat mud.

Jon: Your voice sounds familiar. Who is this?

Voice #1: It's Dr. Ma.Lee Roy. Dr. Lee Roy Horowitz. There's this newspaper called the Daily Wi.Wildebeast and it's out to get me.

Jon: Just wait. I know who this is. I've told you to stop calling. Enough is enough.

Voice #1: No, please.hear me out.

Jon: This hotline is for students, silly administrator. (Jon hangs up.)

Jon: Hello, Somewhat Helpful Hotline.

Voice #2: Yes. I gotta problem.

Jon: Let's rap man. Lay your troubles on me.

Voice #2: OK. Wherever I go, people poke me in the belly button. I'm standing on a street corner and people poke me. I'm waiting at the bank machine, people poke me. While I'm in classes, the lecturers just walk up and poke my belly button. I'm sick of it.

Jon: Why do you think people poke you in the belly?

Voice #2: Because I'm the freakin' Pillsbury Dough Boy! They know if they poke me in the belly, I'll laugh. Jerks. I'm tired of this "popping fresh dough" gig. I'm gonna end up popping someone in the nose soon. I'm a thespian, man. Didn't anyone see me in my early movies like the "Dough of Death?" I was brilliant as the vicious yeast infection.

Jon: Be happy you still have a job. Think of all the food mascots who have faded into oblivion. Twinkie the Kid. Mayor McCheese. The California Raisins. The list goes on.

Voice #2: I feel much better. Your hotline really does work. I'm going to call it again and again.

Jon: Hello, Somewhat Helpful Hotline.

Voice #3: Ohmigawd! I just guzzled down most of my 32-ounce Coke Slurpee!

Jon: Oh no! Why do you think they call them Slurpees? You're suppose to slurp them!

Voice #3: If only I had known sooner! AAAGGGGHHH! Cold.head.ache. Too much.Pretty.pretty.angels.(Phone goes dead.)

Jon: Hello, Somewhat Helpful Hotline.

Voice #4: Hi.um.I need help. I have a class in Harvill that meets every Tuesday. I entered the building last Tuesday and I've been lost ever since. I don't know where I am in the building. I'm scared. I'm starting to believe I'm never going to get out.

Jon: Have you seen anyone who you could ask for directions?

Voice #4: No. The last person I saw was an old English guy. He came up to me and said, "Dr. Livingston, I presume."

Jon: I can't help you. I'm sorry.

Voice #4: No, please. The horror.the horror.(Phone goes dead.)

I'll admit I'm still working out the glitches, but I think it could be big. Who knows maybe after this hotline, I could get a syndicated column. Appearances on "Hollywood Squares." One day I may even appear on "Geraldo" as a psychological expert. But until then I am sitting by the phone waiting to take your call. The phone calls are free, but I reserve the right to tell all my friends what you say and make fun of you. Hey, I can't change overnight.

Jon Burstein is a journalism and political science senior. Like it or not, his column appears every Tuesday. You say potato, he says poe-ta-to. You say tomato, he says toe-ma-to. You say orange and he walks away in disgust.

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