I’ve submitted some great questions to Dr. Know, and have read only lame questions answered lately. I conclude that the column is a clever ruse, like letters to a famous porn magazine of past. Nicely done, but a fake nonetheless.
—Frustrated in Portlandia
Frusto—may I call you Frusto?—I take umbrage at your implication that I make up my column questions out of whole cloth. The answers, sure, but the questions? You wound me.
That said, what strikes me most about your letter is not the opportunity to clear my good name (such as it is), but the delicate, Proustian whiff of hand lotion blowing through its lines like a Kleenex on the spring breeze.
These days, any marginally competent 10-year-old can get 3,000 channels of hardcore screaming through his broadband within 20 seconds. Men my age, though, will forever recall Penthouse magazine’s letters section as their first and best source of grossly erroneous information about sex. (Among other things, it made pizza delivery sound like a much more exciting job than it later turned out to be.)
Most folks believed the letters were faked by the editors. I’ve always assumed they were faked by the readers, with a smattering of actual true stories—albeit ones involving much uglier people than you probably imagined.
In answer to your question, approximately 80 percent of the questions I answer each week come over the email transom, just as yours did. The remainder are texted to me by bored acquaintances, asked in person by boozy strangers at cocktail parties, or shouted at me from the windows of passing cars. So there.
Moreover, thanks to appalling inbox hygiene, I still have every email ever received by this column, and I have no record of any prior question from you. It is not I, sirrah, but you who isn’t real. J’accuse!
QUESTIONS? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org