Not a member? Sign up now
Life Advice From Zach Galifianakis
The hirsute comedian solves your problems in his usual level-headed fashion.
by Zach Galifianakis
I think I understand what dogs are saying. I don't have a dog, but there are a lot in my neighborhood. Is this possible or am I crazy?
— Jed Resick, Brooklyn, NY
You could really help a lot of people if this is the case. Is it not worth exploring? Meaning, shouldn't you volunteer yourself to a university study on the subject? You must take this seriously. I feel like my family dog, a golden retriever named Zorba, would have loved to have a human translator. Looking back, I imagine it would've gone like this:
ZORBA (in a translated bark): I ain't interested in fetching no more tennis balls.
ME: Throw some more and see if he gets it.
ZORBA: I got to figure out how to get into the house. I feel a cold front moving in from the west.
ME: Zorba's coat is so thick, he is fine out in the snow.
ZORBA: Jesus Christ, this family is thick. How long do I have to bark before they let me in the basement that is only two degrees warmer?
ME: I am going to take you to the apple festival, Zorba, so everyone will want to pet you and you can wag your tail to show how happy you are.
ZORBA: That tail wagging is a nervous tic. I got some sort of dog diabetes going on and you mistake it for happiness. Does it not make you wonder why my testicles are the size of bocce balls?
I really should see a dermatologist, but I just don't have the time (or health insurance). What's the difference between a good mole and a bad mole?
— E. Jackson, Melbourne, FL
Location, really. It all depends on where it is. One on the eyelid is not good. One in the mouth is not good. The anus is not a bad place to have one but showing it off causes a problem. A good place is on the face. A small one on the cheek is classy and expresses a worldliness that you do not get from a wart. If you do have one on the face, make sure that it is hairless, seeing as haired moles went out of fashion after the Renaissance but are still fashionable at Renaissance festivals. I once had a mole on the right side of my chin as a youth and my mother decided to freeze it off, fearing that it would grow into something that looked like a burnt silver-dollar pancake. I regret that thing is gone. It defined me. I was eight years old but because of that mole I could get away with smoking a pipe and no one would even care. So, location.
How did the wishbone become the wishbone? It's kind of gross that it's in the turkey's neck. Maybe you could start a tradition with the wish potato peel. That sounds more humane and animal friendly. People's wishes should not depend on a turkey's mortality. What do you think?
— Emily Hache, Dudley, GA
I agree that using an animal's body part for your own hopes and dreams is a bit cruel. But the potato idea is one of the worst sentences I have ever read in my adult life. It makes no sense. How are people going to make a tradition out of that? First, a lot of people like eating potato peels. I certainly do. Second, even if people got onboard with it and society agreed to this, you would see revolts in the streets out of frustration over exactly what the physical mechanics are of manipulating a potato peel. Do you rip it? Wave it around? Place it on someone's forehead and say to yourself, "All I wish for is to make all my Camry payments this year?" I need more specifics as to how to pull this off. It is a horrible thing you have come up with and I shall go find and kill a turkey and make a wish on its neckline that you offer a full apology to potatoes and, frankly, turkeys for what a stir you have caused.
If push comes to shove I'd choose green, but I really like more of a bluish green. And you?
— Olivia Rabe, Charleston, SC
Your name reminds me of the type of green I like: olive. Olive green is the greatest of colors. Blue-green reminds me of an NFL team that nobody likes.
How on earth does one change one's name without a social security card? I've been getting the runaround from the government and thought I'd try an alternative source for guidance.
— Ralph Fines (but not the Ralph Fiennes), Beacon Hill, MA
Dear Ralph Fines,
Ralph, you have a good name. Ralph. Fines is not bad either. What are your plans? If I were you, I would simply add an "s" and an "e" to your already last name. Ralph Finesse could become a motto for a sports club you decide to open. But let me give it to you this way: do you think Mr. T, Shelia E, Hulk Hogan, Captain Kangaroo, or Teddy Roosevelt ever needed approval from the American government to change their names? No, they just did it. Start calling yourself something and insist your family, friends, and coworkers start calling you exactly what you want. Trust me, it will catch on. For a while I was calling myself "Adam Zapple" and people liked it. They respected it. Only later, when I decided to get into show business, did I decide to change it back to Zach Galifianakis.
Want to meet the bearded wise man of your dreams? Check out Nerve Dating.
From the book CARE TO MAKE LOVE IN THAT GROSS LITTLE SPACE BETWEEN CARS? by The Believer © 2012 The Believer, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Vintage Books, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.