Wally Nichols

Musician, Writer, Radio DJ, Cartoonist, and Farmer.

Dear Wally…

The Blue Stone Press’ advice columnist brazenly goes where Dear Abby and Ann Landers wisely wont.

‘Dear Wally’ is salty, funny, and irreverent, over the top, obnoxious, sweet, and sometimes pointless.  No topic is off limits and hate mail is occasionally spewed at the paper.  But don’t let that scare you off.

If you have a question that needs answering…

(and that includes “how can I buy this handsomely bound collection of columns for my sister’s bathroom or my girlfriend’s beachbag for only $9.99” )

contact him at[email protected]

And here are some samples:

Dear Wally #105

Dear Wally:

I think I may be a coffee addict.  I literally feel plastered to the bedroom wall in the morning until I have had a few cups.  And lately it’s taking more (and stronger)  coffee to achieve the same results.   Without coffee, there is zero  morning productivity, predictable constipation and all around grouchiness.   I am afraid to quit and afraid to not quit.   I’ve become the ass ,  as it were, chaffing under Juan Valdez’s poncho covered, coffee bean filled  saddle bag.  Here’s how bad it’s gotten:   Starbucks closes at 10pm.  When I drove home late last night I had serious thoughts about hurling a brick through the plate glass window and looting.  And I don’t mean the cash register.

-Got a Problem


Dear Got:

Yes you do.  First piece of advice:  Don’t go busting up a Starbucks.  The coffee in prison is weak and cold and you’ll have to join a gang to get any. 

It is ironic (no?) that I myself am reviewing your cry for help within the walls of an internationally known coffee empire. Let us call it the Mothership. Let us  say it hovers over all humanity  and let us  further say it casts its menacing green and white shadow on us hapless pawns .  Finally, let us say that the place is friggin’  packed.

Let me take you on a trip, not unlike the one the Dickinsian Ghost of Christmases Future did to old man Scrooge. Come with me to this place and consider that there is an empty chair in this madhouse (besmeared with coffee stains) waiting for you if you don’t change your ways.

There’s an elevated amplitude of  energy in this frenetic place.  I’d say a ‘dynamic’ but that suggests presence across a spectrum of highs and lows.  There’s only one speed here, and ma’am, it is hyper.  Clanging plates,  loudly dropped spoons, nervous giggles, fingers impatiently running through forelocks of hair. Pacing, snorting, huffing.  Banal comments about the weather.  Wedding rings being twisted at 60 rpm.  Agitation.     It’s like an asylum.   

And I’m the only one drinking decaf, apparently.

To my left, a young, itchy man mostly sits.  He speaks in choppy, electric  sentences and scans the room like a newly released ex-con.  He clutches a Venti Whacka- Chino and slides it around like he’s a goalie in an exciting air hockey game at little Joey’s Bar Mitzvah .   His right leg bounces up and down under the table  incessantly as if he were pumping the imaginary accelerator of a neglected farm truck to get it to start.   It is impossible to not notice (and not eavesdrop)  as his flailing arm and full body twitches are borderline spastic.  His voice is pitchy and his whine piercing. These are the bite marks of addiction.

If Aliens landed and took him as a specimen, I’d be embarrassed for mankind.

He makes a  scrappy, high-octane  plea to his luckless, well-presented female date insisting The Empire Strikes Back  is the best film EVER.   (No, seriously).  Based on recoiling body language, and a few of her subtle verbal clues (like “I’m sorry, what’s your name again?” and “Ummm , what time do you have?” ) this prowling coffeehouse advice columnist / sleuth can reasonably  deduce that it is a first date.  And thanks to the unleashed horsepower of his mega sized coffee, the unfortunate way the conversation has been unilaterally  hijacked to Hell,  this sleuth can also safely wager this will be a last date.  And coffee is to blame.   Lots of it.  

You hear me??  

Wait.  For Godsake he now looks like he’s playing ‘Whack-a-mole’ at the carnival with his uncontrollably bucking , steel-tipped workboot. 

Cut it out,  dude.  You are making ME nervous.

Over there, at the ‘fixins’ bar, a cross- eyed (bag?) lady leans  the full weight of her upper body on the blond maple countertop.  She mutters to herself and coos to the heavy cream container like it’s a furtive lover as she pulls a lever and coaxes cream  into her mug.  Then she sighs a deep, post coital sigh.   Rightfully so, people are cutting a wide swath around.  This too is the picture of the coffee addict one latte beyond the Rubicon.

In the corner, a large man is holding his belly and groaning.  Diagnosis?  Coffee guts.  This happens when you’ve baldly ignored your limits.  The sloshing inside feels like oily bilge in the bowels of a trawler which is getting swatted around on  the North Atlantic in November.  I can see the damage in his eyes.

Is this who you want to be?  

So learn from the Ghost of Coffee Addiction Future and change your course. (insert rattling chain sound HERE).

Towards that end, I have scratched out a self-help empowerment script which I implore you to use in moments of weakness on your journey to liberation.

You:  “Coffee, go.   I do not need you.   You are dead to me.  (insert Howard  Dean-esque primal presidential scream HERE).   Your  rich, sensual, roasted  aromas repulse me.  Your once comforting womb-like warmth is now frigid and unwelcoming.  The sweet ritual of being with you for a few precious, calm moments at the start of my day  is now tedious and  under it I labor. 

4 deep breathes and then continue with:

“Where I once regarded you with the sunken, red-rimmed eyes of a junkie, I now look at you through bright (insert your eye color HERE) eyes with contempt and disgust. “

 “ I don’t need YOU  to feel alive.  (Keep telling yourself this particular line)


“Coffee,  GO .  I will pick up with your anemic bastard cousin decaf and we’ll make the best of it, even if it means gimping.”

-Good luck,


Got a question for our advice columnist or just want invite him out for a cup of coffee to re-iterate that he has no future as a motivational speaker?  Email him at [email protected]



Dear Wally #106.  Doomed.

Dear Wally:

I just saw the scary movie ‘Contagion’ which is about the rapid and deadly spread of a make believe virus (the virulent Hollywood lovechild of H1N1 and the Asian Bird Flu).  I left the theatre freaked out and reminded that I have done NOTHING to prepare for the disaster, asteroid, pestilence, plague, killer bees, Canary Island tsunami or nuclear apocalypse we are promised .

Each week at the supermarket, I glibly pass the pyramidally- stacked cans  of peas and corn and think, “Naaah, I don’t feel like schlepping 200 cans home right now.  Next time.”

So what do you recommend I do?  What should go in my family’s survival kit?

Concerned, at least for a few days until I forget.


Dear Concerned:

If 200 cans of succotash is what we have to look forward to on the Doomsday menu , then perhaps the alternative IS better…?

I saw Contagion too and it only served to harden my resolve to not EVER make out with Gweneth Paltrow, even if she comes a’ beggin.  For most people, it is just easier to ignore the emergency preparedness protocols and sally forth through life fat dumb and happy.  (Not saying you are fat dumb and happy, it’s just an expression.  Though you may be).  And hope that nothing wicked this way comes.

Pre-child, I never would have considered hoarding supplies.  But now the game has changed and I have a mouth other than mine to feed.    I guess it’s time to preemptively hoard.   As added precaution,  I will teach my toddler to be a crafty street urchin and use those nimble little fingers to pick locks and filch others’ food stashes.

Funny, I do sometimes look at my dogs and wonder if I, an avowed vegetarian,  might be forced to ever eat them if some Sh*t really went down.

(German) Shepherd’s Pie?

My dogs are really sweet but sometimes when they are hungry, I see them give ME a strange look!?  Hunger and panic bring out the worst in people, and dogs, especially if they are glowing from accidentally spilled isotopic Uranium 237.

I would have to worry about all this less if I just up and took care of business.  But I haven’t in any meaningful way.   It , like a few pesky tasks, falls under the category of, “I should just…”  This list also includes   ‘…clean the toilets more frequently.’ And ‘…visit more museums.’

I have an emergency survival kit, which upon receiving your letter, I opened up and examined. Frankly, I was surprised I could even find it.   I will list the contents below, with a brief commentary/ justification for their presence in the pitifully undersized container.

1) Lime Perrier.  Refreshing post apocalyptic cocktail, anyone?  The empty 28 oz Perrier  glass bottle could be smashed against  my dumb head and used as a jagged weapon to fend off the wilding gangs in search of… item 2 below.

(1) Fresh pack of AAA batteries.  Dated July 1989.  Nice.

(1) Can of Shoprite sliced beets.  I don’t like these in the best of times let alone if I’m the last person alive and shivering  in a loin cloth through a nuclear winter.  (Note: Add can opener to survival list).

(1) Plastic fork and knife set , in sanitized wrapper, from McDonalds.   I’m lovin’ it…!!  Wanna keep things sanitized if there’s a global pandemic!   Doubt the bendable knife has enough serration to make it through canine fur.

(1) Old Spice deodorant.  Really?  Was I thinking that it might be good to smell like a rugged sea captain when the aliens come and perform the 7 billion exploratory anal probes on mankind?  (Note: I don’t wear deodorant normally.  Plus I’ll be hiding under a rock).

(1) Metrocard.  This still has $15 on it!  Psych!  I’m yanking it out of the survival kit and putting it in my wallet right now!  F (train) that!   Carpe Diem!  I totally forgot I had it!  Yahooo!

(1) Bic  lighter.   When all of mankind is wiped out, I will make my way to Madison Square Garden, set up my boombox, play ‘Freebird’ by Leonard Skynard in the seat of my choice, and bravely hold up my lighter while swaying.  And I will do this knowing I will not get arrested for having an open flame indoors.

(1) Jar of lowfat Skippy peanut butter.  And assuming I survive, I will share this with the cockroaches as we dance victory jigs on the impact crater rim.  Lowfat?  Because  when the ozone layer is totally gone, and crops are crisping on the vines,   every day will be a beach day—Might as well look my very best in swim trunks!  Good bye mankind (and love handles!).

(1) $10 bill.  Fried with onions, this delicacy will feed a family of two  for approximately 1 day.  A $10 bill? Serious?   (note:  this will fit nicely in my wallet next to the Metro card)

(2) Fish hooks.   (note: no fishing line present.  Well done,  Einstein).

(1) Pair latex gloves.  Probably still a good idea to check my (own?) prostate every 5 years even if I’m the last one alive.  (Note: more fun than an Adam Sandler movie).


Clearly, I have learned nothing in all these years of warnings except that I’m doomed.  I think though, that when push comes to shove, I will be there with everyone else in the supermarket line pushing and shoving.  And it’ll be too bad, because I didn’t take my own advice, which is, fill your survival kit with stuff other than succotash and do it now, before those pleasant shoppers blithely humming along to the muzak version of the Bee Gees ‘Staying Alive’  start chanting the non muzak version.

Good luck!




Ps- ‘Dog breath’  is an insult for a reason…Remember, last resort!!  Woof.


Got a question for our advice columnist or just want to invite him over for something other than succotash?  Email him at [email protected]