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Sept. 3, 1993: Mr Right: In the Beginning…

It's a need like any other. Some people need it every day, even twice a day. Other people spend their whole sorry-ass lives pretending they don't need it at all. Of course, getting too much is as bad as not getting enough. I used to know this guy who could hardly brush his teeth without getting some from somebody…anybody. But, for those of you who feel like you just can't get enough, here's what I propose: I'm going to give you some every other week.

Advice, I mean.

Allow me to introduce myself: I'm Mr. Right, advice columnist extraordinaire. Most of you have never met me, which makes it that much easier to tell you that I look like Cary Grant (he had two legs, I have two legs), I'm as sensitive as Alan Alda (he wept when "M*A*S*H" went off the air, I wept when "M*A*S*H" went off the air), and I'm often treated with the same respect as President Clinton (he gets asked whether he wants fries with that, I get asked whether I want fries with that).

A little-known fact about me: I usually want the fries.

A former good friend of mine once asked, "Who died and made you Mr. Right?" Nobody died. I just kind of turned out this way. You see, I have this knack for learning from my mistakes, and I've made a lot of them. I made the mistake of thinking Nehru jackets were making a comeback in the weeks leading up to my senior prom. I made the mistake of skinny-dipping in a pond when the fish were biting. (They thought it was a nightcrawler.) And I recently made the mistake of pouring my heart out to someone who, I realize now, couldn't pick me out of a police line-up. But we've all done that, right?

Right. But only one of us gets to be Mr. Right...or, as I was once described, "Ann Landers with cojones." (If you don't know what cojones are, they're right below your nightcrawler.) Personally, I think Ann Landers has more cojones than I do. I think she has more cojones than, say, Norman Schwarzkopf. I love Ann Landers. She's a dear, dear friend whom I've never had the pleasure of meeting. The reigning queen of advice columnists, Ann has it all: wit, wisdom and frighteningly large hair. There's only one thing she doesn't have. For perfectly understandable reasons, she doesn't think like a man.

For equally understandable reasons, I do, and it affects the way I think about things like love, war and remotes. But don't get me wrong, I'm not some kind of man's man. I haven't wasted any lions lately, and I haven't beat any drums. Of course, I'm not a lady's man, either. I tried that out for a while back when I was younger, and it was pretty painful all around. No, I'm just a man, an extraordinarily ordinary man who just happens to have all the right answers.

Which is where you come in: I need questions. Please feel free to ask me about anything that's on your mind - anything. As that former good friend of mine once said to me, "There are no dumb questions, only dumb answers." This was right after a woman had written to me wondering what to do about her boyfriend, who, she said, refused to use a deodorant and smelled like rotten garbage.

"Dump him," I told her. Okay, maybe that was a dumb answer. Today, I would probably say something more environmentally sensitive like, "Wrap him up in a biodegradable plastic bag and dump him."

I'm kidding, of course. I'm actually a pretty sensitive guy when you get right down to it. As we get to know each other, I hope to make you laugh, make you think, even make you mad. In fact, you may want to wring my little neck once in a while. But that's all right: it means you're paying attention. And besides, in your heart of hearts you'll know I'm right…Mr. Right.

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