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Todd Parker hits up literary love stories

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(Editor’s note: An email showed up in my inbox a couple of days ago without any prior notice. In the subject line was “You Suck” and the entire body of the accompanying e-mail read “Here’s something actually good to print in that rag of yours.” Attached was the following.)

What’s up losers? Miss me?

That’s right – the main man Todd Parker has made a brief return from his extended hiatus (said hiatus taking place due to reasons that, upon the advice of his attorneys, I will not be discussing) in honor of Valentine’s Day.

I’ve returned to shower you lamewads with some love. However, since what’s-his-name, the guy in charge of this whosit, hasn’t been active in soliciting letters from the reading public, I don’t have any real-world advice to give.

(Note: You know very well what his name is.)

However, Todd Parker would not leave you hanging. I decided to revisit this all-timer of a Maine Edge classic where I offer my sage counsel to lovelorn literary figures in an effort to help them work out all of their crap.

As you might expect, the resulting work is utterly masterful.


Dear Todd Parker,

So I've been dating this girl for a while - we'll call her 'Rosaline' - and things have been going great. She's really pretty and really nice and she seems like all she wants is to make me happy.

But then there's this other girl.

I don't really know her all that well I just kind of met her at a party, but we didn't get a chance to hang out much before my buddies and I had to jet. I can't stop thinking about her. She's all up in my head and I can't get her out. The thing that really sucks is that I'm not sure if she's into me or not I mean, I'm pretty sure she is, but I haven't gotten a chance to talk to her and find out for certain.

I hate the idea of hurting Rosaline's feelings, but it doesn't seem fair to string her along when I'm into this other girl. What's the right thing to do? Should I break up with her and go after this other girl? Should I try to make it work and forget about the other girl?

What should I do?

Vexed in Verona

Dear Vexed,

Wow you really are an a-hole, aren't you?

Think about what you're asking me here. You're asking if you should totally bail on a relationship with a nice, attractive girl who really digs you so that you can go after another chick? One who may or may not even like you? Hell, do you even know this other chick's name?

Long story short, you're a moron.

Come on, dude use your head. This is the kind of grass-is-always-greener crap that can get a dude into serious trouble. Look, I get it there's always going to be something attractive about the unknown. New and exciting is great, makes you feel all exhilarated, like no one in the world has ever felt the way that you feel. You're probably composing lame poetry about her in your head and junk like that.

But here's the thing YOU DON'T KNOW THIS GIRL!

She could be crazy or boring or stupid or some combination therein. Sure, she might be the be-all end-all that you've built up in your mind, but what are the odds of that? You kids, always grasping for this star-crossed love for the ages horsest.

You've got a girl that likes you and that you like. Why throw that over for something that probably isn't even real? This other chick whose name you don't know probably doesn't even remember you, dude. It's not like she's sitting in her room pining away, crying laments from her balcony.

Just let it go, bro. Why risk what you've already got?


Dear Todd Parker,

I’ve got a lot of questions, Mr. Parker. A LOT of questions. And a lot of issues, if I’m honest with myself. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

From the outside looking in, I come off pretty good. I’m a really good-looking guy. I have all the trappings of wealth – cars and boats and fancy clothes and a big mansion and the whole bunch. But just between you and me, it’s all kind of a scam, a mirage that could disappear at any time.

I throw these huge, ridiculous parties, lavish affairs that are borderline offensive in their opulence. People come from all over the neighborhood, all the way from the city – hundreds of people. All of them think they want to be my friend, but none of them actually know me.

But there’s this one woman. I knew her back in the day, but I’m much different now. She’s all I think about. She’s someone who could actually love me for me, not all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds me. She’s perfect.

The only problem is that she’s married, although my understanding is that he’s an utter cad without a worthwhile bone in his body. My new neighbor – nice guy, bit odd – turns out to be her cousin; he could be the one to reintroduce us, so there’s my in.

Should I pursue this further? Or must I resign myself to being without her forever?

Cracking Up in West Egg

Dear Cracking Up,

Are you actually asking me if you should have an affair with this woman that you used to know, using your neighbor to help break up a marriage? No! Don’t do that! Of course you shouldn’t do that!

The whole “resign myself forever” bullcrap is next-level, by the way. Dude, that’s the way the world works. You went away. I don’t know where you went or why you left, but it doesn’t matter – you left. She moved on with her life. So should you.

Oh, and trying to use the fact that you feel like her husband sucks is lame, too. I don’t know if he sucks or not, but it doesn’t matter – it’s not your business. You don’t get to try and break up a marriage just because the dude is a d-bag. Besides, it’s just an excuse to do what you want to do anyway.

In addition, using your neighbor as a pawn in your weird game is pretty gross too. Does the guy even know that the reason you hang out with him is because of his cousin? That’s just weak sauce, man, not to mention more than a little sociopathic. It certainly doesn’t paint a flattering picture of you, as far as that goes.

I’m not even going to get into what you might mean when you refer to your “trappings of wealth” as “kind of a scam” – that’s more unpacking than I’m prepared to get into. I feel like you might be some sort of grifter looking to land this lady to take her money, if I’m honest, but since I have you here, I may as well continue telling you how off-putting this whole bit is.

Leave her be, man. Find a single lady at one of your shindigs or something; no need to be a homewrecker.


Dear Todd Parker,

I feel like I may have made a terrible mistake, but I'm not sure how to undo it.

Growing up, I was friends with this guy Heathcliff. He and I spent a lot of time together, even though we kind of operated in different social spheres. I'm pretty sure I was in love with him, but I couldn't marry him it was a class thing.

Fast forward a few years and my old friend is back as a wealthy gentleman. However, I'm involved with someone else at this point. Heathcliff doesn't care for it at all and it kind of hurts to see him so upset, but I'm so glad to see him again. My husband doesn't like that Heathcliff is back, which I totally understand. However, I'm also a little peeved because Heathcliff is getting into something with my sister-in-law.

Am I being unreasonable to want to spend time with my friend even though my husband doesn't like it? And is it wrong to want Heathcliff to stop dallying with my husband's sister? It's not that I want to be with him, but he really shouldn't be with her either.

It's all very complicated what do you think I should do?

At a Loss in Thrushcross

Dear At a Loss,

You need to take a step back and reexamine your priorities.

I get it you had your whole youthful infatuation and now he's back and he's probably all dark and brooding and mysterious and crap. Plus he's rich, which clearly doesn't hurt considering your priorities.

So now you're looking at your hubby, who probably looked pretty great when your boy Heathcliff was broke, and you're thinking 'Maybe I want true love after all.' Which, let me tell you, is some bullst. You only want him because you realize that you blew it back in the day.

Big surprise that Hubby doesn't like that the old flame is back in town. You're probably mooning all over him and making a scene. Also it's none of your business who your boy wants to woo. If he's into your hubby's sister, that's his prerogative.

(Bear in mind that Heathcliff could be playing some sort of long game here, going after your sister-in-law specifically because it's going to drive all of you nuts. If so, well he's probably a sociopath and you're better off without him.)

Regardless, you need to take a step back. You're a married woman, for God's sake. Act like it. Get yourself together and act like an adult. You blew your shot years ago and some people just don't get a second chance.


Dear Todd Parker,

I’ve managed to find myself in a bit of a romantic conundrum and I’m not entirely sure how to resolve it.

It started in high school when I met this boy – we’ll call him Edward. Edward was like no boy I’d ever met before, so wise and worldly. A real old soul, you know? Only it turned out that there was a reason that he was like that and that he wanted to be with me that was … weird. I can’t tell you HOW it was weird, because I promised, but yeah – weird.

Anyway, we were together despite the fact that a lot of his friends and even some of his family were totally against it. That almost made it more fun, knowing that there were, like, secret meetings out in the woods to talk about the whole situation. It felt dangerous.

But then there’s this other boy – we’ll call him Jacob – who is ALSO special in a weird way that I’m not supposed to talk about. Different kind of weird, but still pretty weird. And he likes me in this completely different way that is pretty nice and in a lot of ways feels better than the way that Edward likes me.

Both of these boys are special and special to me, but it’s only fair that I choose one and stay friends with the other, even if it means that one is going to spend the next few years being mopey and emo about it all the time.

What should I do?

At a fork in Forks

Dear Fork

Are you forking kidding me with this?

Come on, kid. Pick one. It’s as easy as that. Love triangles don’t work. With very few exceptions, they’re nothing more than a contrived way to develop tension. He-likes-her-but-she-likes-him-but-he-likes-whoever is just so washed. It’s not fair to anyone involved for you to be wishy-washy about it; both of these guys deserve to be treated with respect.

That aside, the fact that you’re so willing to offer up that your beaus are both special and weird is weird in and of itself. Particularly when you won’t go into detail. I mean, you obviously want to tell me, so tell me. It’s so transparently thirsty, a clear effort to enhance your own specialness through your associations.

I’m not going to pick a team here – Edward or Jacob – because frankly they both sound pretty lame, but you definitely have to.

(Actually, now that I think about it, you don’t have to pick either team. You can pick a totally different team. Or no team at all. That’s your prerogative. But you can’t be on BOTH teams – then you’re just a crappy person putting off a hard decision for selfish reasons.)

Anyway – may the best man win or whatever.


Dear Todd Parker,

Me have question, not know who else ask.

Live in jungle for long time. Only friends apes and other animals. Happy.

One day, others come. Others like me. One of them woman. Beautiful woman. Her name Jane. Me fall in love.

Me not know how talk Jane. Not know what she like. Want only make her happiest woman in whole jungle. Not sure she like guy like me. Not sort of guy girl like that go for.

What me do?

Jumbled in the Jungle

Dear Jumbled,

Seriously? What the hell is this s--t?

All right, Encino Man, fine you want to play it this way, we'll play it this way.

You're living in the jungle by yourself, hanging out with, I don't know, monkeys and junk. All of a sudden, this girl shows up and you're looking to throw game at her, mangled syntax and all. I get it, but you're going to have to take it slow. You don't want to scare her away.

Think about it. If you just fall out a tree wearing nothing but a loincloth and grunting syllables next to some vine-swinging chimp, she's probably going to have some questions.

You're probably a big deal in the jungle and whatnot, but here's a hint – put on some pants and keep the talking to a minimum. Regardless, all you can do is be yourself; hopefully, your girl will be into it.

Finally – and I can't believe I get to say this – try to keep the monkey business to a minimum.


Dear Todd Parker,

I've been in love with this girl for years, but I don't know if she even knows I'm alive. Like, literally she probably thinks that I'm dead.

We were really close when we were younger, even though her dad was my boss and she was discouraged from hanging out with the help. She started out all haughty, but she came around pretty quickly; it probably didn't hurt that I would do anything that she asked. We loved each other, but we knew that her dad would never go for it, so I left to seek my fortune.

That was a long time ago. A lot has happened since then. My ship got taken by pirates one of those crews with a name for killing everybody, so she probably thinks I died. But I didn't. In fact, I wound up finding my fortune. Granted, it was by becoming a pirate (one of those awesome masked ones) and stealing a lot of stuff from a lot of people, but still I'm rich!

Only when I got back into town, it turns out that she's getting married to another guy. Everyone knows that her groom-to-be is a jerk, but he's also royalty, so he can be a jerk and everyone just has to take it.

My question is: should I try to track her down and tell her I'm still alive? Or should I just let her marry this guy and be a princess? She'd probably be pretty happy being a princess, but I'd totally quit piracy if she wanted to be with me.


Forlorn in Florin

Dear Forlorn,

A pirate? Really? That's so badass.

As to your predicament, well it's a tricky one, for sure. While it might seem like a no-brainer to tell her that you're alive, you definitely need to think about things. She's had to spend a lot of time getting over your perceived death if you just suddenly reappear, that might be really hard on her. What if she's moved on or changed and thinks that this jerky royal guy is actually pretty cool? And let's not forget, you're still totally a pirate someone somewhere definitely wants to catch you and keelhaul you or whatever it is they do to pirates.

Ah, who am I kidding? True love is true love. Go get her.

You're going to have to be careful, though royal dudes aren't usually super keen about getting cuckolded by masked buccaneers, so tread lightly. There are a lot of weirdos out there who will probably stand in your way as well. You probably shouldn't kill them (you've got enough on your legal plate with the whole piracy thing) but do what it takes to get her back.

Trying to do this alone is nutso, but you're probably one of these asshats who thinks he can do everything better than people who actually are the best at those things. Whatever – you’re a badass masked pirate, you'll figure it out.

Just be the dude that she knew way back when and you'll be fine.

(Editor’s note: Before you ask, no, no one here knows where he is or what he’s doing. Somewhere unexpected doing something unsavory, if we had to guess. We’ll keep you posted.)


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