My advice: Be careful about trusting your judgment

“You Want My Advice?” is a twice weekly (Saturdays and Sundays) summer replacement feature of davisw.wordpress.com. I look at questions of ethics, propriety, faith, technology, geopolitics, health, etc., and offer completely inappropriate, irresponsible and possibly even life-threatening advice. Today, we hear from a writer who decided to take a problem into her own hands and do something about it.

Q. In an attempt to stop smoking, I chewed gum all day and suffered from halitosis. I went to dentists and doctors to no avail. My family and colleagues at work learned to keep their distance. It was very embarrassing! Eventually, I discovered it was the aspartame in the gum and the many cups of coffee I devoured each day. After I switched to another sweetener, the halitosis disappeared and has never returned. – How About Me? Aren’t I Something?

A. Sounds like problem solved. What do you want from me?

I’m glad to hear you achieved success in your resolution to quit such a nasty habit. That can be an inspirational and helpful story for others of us who are trying to turn over new leaves at this time of year.

It can be, but it’s not. Instead, it just sounds like you’re bragging about your ability to identify a problem on your own and think it through to a successful conclusion. This is a very bad thing for us in the advice-giving field. People should not be trying to improve or change their lives in any way without the close supervision of a professional. You’ve seen the signs at the health clubs about consulting a physician before beginning any kind of exercise program? They speak the truth.

I’d recommend that you back up all the way to where you started on this journey — resume your smoking, resume your gum-chewing, regain your odious breath – then call up Harpo Productions to get on the waiting list for the Dr. Phil Show. Otherwise, you’re doomed to failure or, at best, a success that’s not nationally televised so no one cares.

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2 Responses to “My advice: Be careful about trusting your judgment”

  1. Jessica Says:

    I think that’s why the question came about. Exposure. National Exposure. So when she does fall back into the vicious cycle…she’s got that little sympathetic glimmer of, “I DID TRY TO QUIT…once before…IT DIDN’T WORK!”

  2. tychy Says:

    i have no respect for anybody who quits smoking – they’re the modern equivalent of a eunach.

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