Headless Frank...

advisor to the lovelorn, weary, confused, and the overly self-involved

headless frank

Dear Headless Frank:

I’ve been anxiously waiting for you to bring back your advice column. I consider myself to be one of your most faithful readers, and over the last two years your advice has led me to:

  1. Defend endangered mollusks
  2. Feel better about myself for purchasing a toga
  3. Attend a bakesale
  4. Mail the letter I wrote expressing my true feelings to Muammar Ghadaffi
  5. Wear my toga to a bakesale
  6. Start my own collection of patio statues that now includes a headless Margaret Mead, the Roman goddess Venus and Alexander Pushkin, who turned out to be a bust, his poetry notwithstanding.

My question for you doesn’t seek advice but understanding: What is a medulla oblongata?
—Monica at the Mall

Dear Monica—
Yours is the perfect letter to resume my column by explaining myself!

The medulla oblongata is like the marrow of the brain, although it is sometimes ingloriously described as the "hindbrain." Try not to think about that.

I sign off all my columns with "medulla oblongata" to remind readers that the advice I offer comes straight from my marrow, unimpeded by aforethought or intellect. That would make sense—if I had any—because my head fell off.

As a 10-year-old headless statue (of a 13th century saint), my other lobes are, let’s say, on hold. So the guidance I offer comes out of my viscera (which may or may not have saintly qualities depending on the tides and other stuff beyond my control). But this is where I differ from other advice columnists who think, rethink and over think readers’ plights and then invariably tell them to consider counseling.

I see from your letter that you’ve benefited from my past advice. I assure you I will never over think your questions. BUT if you have a problem with your medulla oblongata you might try counseling—preferably together, but if not, then go by yourself. I’m not sure how to leave your medulla oblongata at home, however.

Signing off: Medulla oblongata.