Summary of My Discontent: Auto Reply

I am currently out of the office and unavailable via e-mail, landline, cell phone, Blackberry, IM, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Friendster or walking up and saying “hi.” Until I return, below are some helpful resources.

For spiritual guidance, please consult Emerson’s “Nature,” Merton’s “Zen and the Birds of Appetite,” or Carlin’s “When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?” 

Perhaps you’re thirsty. Rainbow Blossom sells a refreshing tamarind juice. If you’re in the mood for something stronger, the dirty martini at Seviche is delicious. Is your chi out of balance? Try craniosacral therapy. For feelings of stress or anxiety, turn off the TV and read a good book — maybe Lorrie Moore’s “Anagrams” or Peter Cameron’s “Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You.” 

For cholesterol or blood pressure problems, quit slacking on your exercise regimen. Also, spend some time coloring with a 5-year-old. Oh, and if the IT department says the mysterious substance that was causing your mouse to malfunction turned out to be mayonnaise, there’s another hint for you.

Concerned about your image? Make sure nobody’s been editing your bio on Wikipedia, Dickipedia or Chickipedia. A new hairstyle can work wonders for your self-esteem. Try not to Google yourself too often. 

Are you beginning to lose hope for this world? Take heart: String theory suggests there are as many as 10^500 — that’s 10 followed by 500 zeroes — potential universes. Who knows, maybe one of them will be more to your liking.

Looking for your glasses? They’re on your head, silly. Worried that people secretly don’t like you? Maybe it’s something you said on your blog, wall posts, tweets, Amazon book reviews, YouTube comments, Digg feeds, Nachbar-bathroom-wall graffiti, or story chats. Ah, you’re probably worrying needlessly and — worst case — you can always take solace in the fact that your dog thinks you are magnificent. 

Stuck in a dinnertime rut? Burgers are so last millennium (plus they can kill you). Try the pad kee mow at Thai Smile, the seafood pho at Vietnam Kitchen or the mahi kabob at Shiraz.

Are you interested in exciting product-placement opportunities for future auto-replies? Our operators are standing by. 

If your computer is running slowly, try rebooting. If that doesn’t help, try enabling your cookies, clearing your cache or erasing your history, none of which are as personally rewarding as they sound. Still no luck? Consider lowering your expectations. 

Everybody is entitled to his or her opinion. If you don’t care for Jim James’ falsetto, you’re allowed to say so. Really.

Do you have a nagging feeling you’ve forgotten to do something important? Check your trunk for groceries. If there aren’t any there, it’s probably nothing. 

Need a quick answer? Try Looking for Chuck Norris? Know how I know you’re Gaelic? Because you listen to Bho Dhòrn Gu Dòrn.

Maybe you are concerned about what kind of legacy you’re going to leave. People want to be remembered forever, but let’s face it: Most of us will be completely forgotten just a few years after we die. Two billion people were alive in 1908. How many of them can you name? Repeat aloud Welp’s First Law of Transience: In 2108, nobody will even remember George Clooney, let alone me.

Do you worry that you worry too much? Don’t worry about it.

Are you working on a roots/country love song and need a rhyme for “grits”? Try “spritz,” “armpits,” “idgits,” “acquits,” “half-wits” or “kibitz.” Stay away from “blitzed.” You want a solid rhyme, not a Neil Diamond rhyme. 

Because we live in a highly productive society, there will be about 300 e-mails waiting for me when I return. And because I wouldn’t want the productivity horse to run away with the happiness buggy, I will delete them all. Try to think like a Buddhist and consider this auto-reply your opportunity to practice patience. 

Until I get back, here are a few assignments. First, assuming the maximum daily temperature for Louisville is 41 degrees in winter, 65 in spring, 89 in summer and 68 in fall, write a sinusoidal function that models the temperatures, using t=1 to represent winter. Assume your leaders have sold your children’s future to the oil and coal companies. Show your work.

Next, write a 3,000-word essay on the following topic: If the U.S. were a heavy-metal band, which state would be its drummer?

Oh, and if you’re wrestling with an important decision, remember what Mom always says: Follow your heart.