The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious (DOPOTO) has long been in the business of pointing out the forest for the trees. As trained professionals in identifying the readily apparent, we sometimes overlook the need for not doing so at times. For example, the answer in the title is the logical reply to someone asking you if an article of clothing makes them look fat. However, furnishing that reply might not be in the best interests of your personal safety. Fat people can do significant damage when they charge in a rage. Besides, the questioner knows quite well they are a bit more hefty that they used to be and are simply asking you to deny that. Being aware of the obvious comes with the obligation to use that faculty with discretion.

Ask many of our staff, who have benefitted not only from their rigorous DOPOTO training, but also the powerful learning tools of black eyes, broken ribs, sleeping on the couch and alimony payments. We here at DOPOTO are only human and as such have generally learned the hard way. So, in the interest of public service and saving our readers a lot of grief, we have compiled a short list of answers to common questions that don’t always call for direct answers. Some do, but discretion is advised and the need to bear in mind with whom you are speaking. Honesty is not always the best policy. Here goes:

THE QUESTION: “How old do I look?”  

THE HONEST ANSWER: “About the same age you looked during the Eisenhower administration.” 

WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: “Around 33 or 34.” (Younger people don’t ask that question so that’s a safe bet. If it is a younger person asking that question the proper response is: “Shut the hell up!”)


THE QUESTION: “Do you want fries with that?”

THE HONEST ANSWER: “Do you think I came to this friggin’ grease emporium ’cause I’m watching my cholesterol, you pinhead?” 

WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: “Supersize me, dude.”


THE QUESTION: “Do you know how fast you were going?”

THE HONEST ANSWER: “Well, Barney Fife, you’re the one that pulled me over for speeding, so let’s assume it was somewhere north of the speed limit. Enlighten me! I sort of knew I was going pretty fast when the G-forces started curling my upper lip and spilled the whiskey all over my bag of weed.”

WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: “No, officer, I don’t.”


THE QUESTION: “Do you know that cigarettes are bad for you?”

THE HONEST ANSWER: “Really? I had no idea! Where’d you hear that? And I thought they were good for you! Dang! Thanks for telling me, I think I’ll quit right now. You’re so very considerate to have pointed that out!”                                                                                                                                                            WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: See above.                                                                                                                          

THE QUESTION: “Want to play some video games?”

THE HONEST ANSWER: “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather just tie me down and stab me repeatedly with a letter opener? I’d enjoy that just about as much as playing your virtual psycho killer video games.”

WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: “Whoa, look at the time! Gotta go. Maybe some other time…”


THE QUESTION: “Who do you think would win in a fight, Ali or Dempsey?”

THE HONEST ANSWER: “Well, let’s see, Muhammed Ali has Alzheimer’s Disease and is past 60, but on the other hand, Jack Dempsey’s been dead for about 25 years, so I gotta go with Batman on this one.”

WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: “They’d have had a great 3 fight trilogy ala Frazier/Ali and Bowe/Holyield, with Ali taking two out three.” (Sometimes nonsense questions are interesting food for thought.)


THE QUESTION: “Even though I’m breaking up with you, can we still be friends?” 




THE QUESTION: “If you could sleep with anyone else you wanted to, would you?”

THE HONEST ANSWER: ‘”In a heartbeat. You want the list?”

WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: “No, of course not.” (Don’t overdo it here, they’ll know you’re full of it.)


THE QUESTION: “What color do you think we should paint the living room?”

THE HONEST ANSWER: “We? We? You’ve got me speaking French here! You know damned well it’s you who always picks out some sappy color and me, not we, who paints the walls I just painted a couple of years ago! Make it turquoise for all I care. Better yet, skip it!”

WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: “You decide, honey.”


QUESTION: “Does this shoe come in my size?”

THE HONEST ANSWER: “No, ma’am, but maybe you should check out the Costume Department. They’ve got a nice selection of those giant clown shoes that ought to just about cover those Sasquatch feet of yours. Barring that, might I suggest a nice pair of canoes from Sporting Goods?”

WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: “I’ll go check.”


THE QUESTION: “Would you rather be rich or be happy?”

THE HONEST ANSWER: “Do I look that friggin’ stupid to you? Every rich person I ever met looks happy as a pig in shit! They’re rich, you idiot! Ask a rich person that question. Maybe they’ll have one of their servants explain that being rich is pretty damned cool!”

WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: “I’d rather be happy.”


THE QUESTION: “Why won’t you listen to reason?”

THE HONEST ANSWER: “Your idea of listening to reason is having me agree with every birdbrain idea that manages to penetrate your thick skull, that’s why! Being reasonable is a two-way street. Besides, I like being unreasonable!”

WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: “I’ll try to be more flexible.”

So, there you have a short seminar on social survival in the confusing realm of interpersonal relations. We here at DOPOTO wish you luck with figuring out human beings. We at the Department have found that to be a lifelong learning curve with no end in sight. Keep trying, but tread lightly.

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