In Which We Cannot Recall The Excuse

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to


Lately it has felt like conflict with my girlfriend, Alana, has come at the most difficult times. She seems to confront me on all kinds of issues just when I am at my lowest zenith.

At these moments I try to explain that I am having a bad day, or I am not receptive to being criticized at that moment, and things just explode from there. Is there anything I can do to make Alana understand when I am not ready to have an argument?

Artis L.


Someone very close to you can pick up on your weakness and general instability. It probably reminds Alana of some other fault she finds in you, and activates her own anxiety.

Choosing the time and place of a battle is by far its most important element. Some people like to postpone conflict; just as many prefer to address it the moment it arrives. Alana probably feels better once she resolves her issues with her, but you actually end up feeling worse, since nothing is resolved for you.


I’m feeling super despondent over Trump’s victory. I don’t understand how so many people can vote for such a disgusting person. I really don’t even feel like waking up tomorrow and I have no faith in America.

Darlene C.

Dear Darlene,

Life is probably a simulation, and consider President Trump a test.

Real talk though the president is most likely no more powerful than Rupert Murdoch or Les Moonves. At one time Christina Aguilera considered the presidency, but then recanted. Yes, there is a Republican congress, but the Supreme Court is still packed with liberals. David Souter was one of the most freewheeling gentlemen I have ever met.

A political party thrives when it is out of power, forced to find new leaders and philosophies that resonate with the population. Eight years of Obama has kept other Democratic leaders out of the spotlight, and it is now time to see what they have to offer. Properly used, any depression can also be a period of rejuvenation.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

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