Category Archives: Advice


name: Chump
query: On a similar topic as� Malcolm’s query, how does one get over a girl with whom he was once involved? After a long relationship and then an entirely too long gray period of breakupedness and unbreakupedness, how does one just get on with his life? Especially prudent when the girl has a new flame. Lend some advice scientists.
Only too happy to do so. The fact is that we of the W.A.S. have on many occasions been in the very situation you describe; we’ve therefore been able to perfect a curative process that ferrets out destructive behavior and encourages healthy healing. It’s fairly general, because in assembling this we meant for it to be applicable not just to Michael, Keith, and Chris, but to you, Chump, and to the countless other dudes and dudettes who so wisely come to this website seeking romantic advice. Here is the 4-step process that is “guaranteed” to help you get over this girl.

  1. You must wean yourself from the addictive practice of peering in through a window from some night-clothed hedge or tree limb as your former beloved performs amoral acts of carnal assimilation on her new crush atop the expensive new sheets she must have bought between now and the last time you were with her, last Tuesday. You must also not review the tapes you made of them coupling on other occasions. Or at least, don’t watch them over and over — if you find yourself immediately rewinding a tape as soon as it finishes, not even pausing to pop some corn, then you are unhealthily obsessed with what’s on the tape. If you have transferred the tape to DVD so you can skip rewinding altogether and seamlessly loop the video, you are unhealthily obsessed with the tape. If you have made a collage of particularly juicy moments from each of your dozens of tapes and tried to work some sort of narrative into the visual quilt through the use of voiceovers and CGI, then you are unhealthily obsessed with these sex tapes, but you are also a budding and potentially very gifted pornographer who should by all means follow his muse.
  2. You have to stop calling her. Not completely; that’s not what we mean, and you know it. It’s the late night calls, the ones where you fail to identify yourself and then sit in silence listening as she gently reminds you — though compassion daily gives way to frustration — of all the reasons it wasn’t working and had to end, and that besides she’s really into this new guy because they connect on a level the two of you never did (you’ve seen it happen) and don’t you want her to be happy? — those calls you need to stop making.
  3. You need to quit the thing with the hooker, whatever her name is. At first it may have been palliative, sure, but it has become very destructive and it must stop. We know what you’re thinking (we’ve been there too, remember?). You’re thinking, at least subconsciously, that for you while strolling Sunset Strip late one night on your way to get donuts to just happen upon a hooker who looks a lot like your ex… well, that’s fate stepping in and offering you a helping hand. And that this hooker, from behind, could be your ex’s twin-slightly-older-sister… sure, fate is good, fate is kind. But at this stage you’re malingering, Chump. You’re using the crutch well after your foot should have healed. You even told your ex that you’d met someone that reminds you of her, which is a sick thing to say considering the facts, and only ended up biting you in the ass when she congratulated you with heartfelt sincerity. Besides all that, we might as well tell you that a blood test will reveal that your hooker friend has been giving you a veritable cornucopoeia of added value for your $60.
  4. If you’re ever going to get on with your life, you’ve got to start seeing new people. We know how hard this can be, but once you’re over the hump, you’ll really appreciate what a difference it can make, how much it can make you feel that you’ve moved on. Now look, we know you’re bad at this, and that’s why we’re going to go ahead and advocate your mild inclination to pursue things with that girl, the friend of a friend, whom you had sex with that weekend last October when your (now-)ex was out of town. So you called her last week, the two of you got together and had a few drinks, and you excused yourself early in the evening, citing an early morning the next day. In fact, of course, you were sighing big relief as you strolled home; this girl was every bit as unappetizing as you remembered, every bit the “fuck only when plastered” type, and you’d be damned if you were going to sink that low just because you were going through a tough time — the fact is, you suspected that taking such a nose-dive in quality from your ex to a new girl would almost certainly do your sense of self-worth more damage than good. You’d be surprised. First of all, you’re paying for sex right now, okay smart guy? Think about that for a second, digest it. You are PAYING. For sex right now. So just relax, get down off your high horse, and think practically for five minutes. Now: you’re going to be 27 in September — 27! It’s time to act a little more grown up, a little more French, about all things sexual and romantic. Looks aren’t everything, you know this. Did you also know that personality and likeability aren’t everything? Well they aren’t. A lot of the time, Chump, “everything” is just having someone to share a taxi home with at the end of the night so you don’t have to think about what’s missing. Because technically, nothing’s missing — there’s a warm body beside you, night after night, and you can go to brunch with her on weekends, and you don’t have to see her during most of your waking hours because you’re at work, so who cares if she’s not beautiful and witty, or even at all sexually attractive and nice? You want W.A.S. to take away the pain, Chump? You wanna move on with your life? Here’s the prescription: Call that girl back, the ugly one you cheated on your ex with. Go out with her this weekend. Get drunk and go home together. In a month, move in together. Two years from now, start over. And repeat. And repeat. When you find someone you’re not absolutely itching to leave after two years, and she feels the same, check each other’s pulse. Still alive? Get married, buy a house in Azusa, have kids, some pets, some cars — boom, you’ve moved on. You’re done. And late, late at night, when your family slumbers and snores in carpeted rooms around you, and all the grinding distractions of your midlife days are terrifyingly absent, and you feel your heart’s as empty as the streets outside… well, you’ve always got those tapes.


name: Malcolm
query: i am falling for a girl and i think feels the same way about me. we’ve been hanging out steady for the past 3 months and i have really strong feelings for her.
the problem? she has a boyfriend… so as awkward as this sounds hear this: she has been with this highschool sweetheart of hers for 3 years and they currently live together, but from what i have gathered from her they plan to stop going out once their lease is up this summer and that they will remain friends. so technically they are going out, but at the same time its as though this doesnt apply since they plan to move on…
so i’m having this party saturday and i want to kiss her or attempt some sort of move, what should i do ?

There is a rich artery of rock & roll that runs like an aorta through this world, energizing and hardening all who dare acknowledge it — on Saturday, Malcolm, you will tap into that artery; you will drink long and greedily; you will be blind to what lesser men call obstacles, righteous in your penitence to the god of desire, and all the concerns you’ve noted will burn away in the heat of your first long kiss with this girl. Her cuckolded buddy will find a new life for himself, too, a happier, humbler way to finish out his days. Meanwhile you and your ladyfriend will fly like two arrows entwined, striking true your target, sending down feathers and tattered sheets and springs aloft.
trust us,
the We Are Scientists

Soraya, Amy, Andie, Jody, Lauren, Dan

Well, the hotspring of advice requests has run dry of late, for reasons that we can’t really understand. Are you people no longer interested in Right Living, the We Are Scientists way? Or what? In any case, there are few things we love more than saddling our high horse, so just because you’ve stopped asking doesn’t mean we’ll stop answering. But you’ve forced us to go elsewhere for inquiries. In this case, to the January 2002 issue of YM, which is a magazine we love to pull out from under the mattress on lonely nights or languid weekends.
query: I’m 13 and have been asked to a boy-girl sleepover. I’m afraid my parents will say no. How can I convince them to let me go? -Soraya, 14
Really the only way you stand a chance with this one is if you can somehow make your parents believe that the depths of your depravity are such that forbidding you from going to a lousy boy-girl sleepover would be an irrelevant gesture bordering on the absurd. Tell them you’re regularly doing drugs, acting in porn films, robbing liquor stores, beating homeless people, selling military secrets to the Chinese, and adding extra butter to recipes for baked goods. They will have no choice but to see that a little sleepover with some swingin homies stands a slight chance of further tainting your chastity.
query: Is it true that once you use a tampon, you’re not considered a virgin anymore? -Amy, 14
Absolutely. In fact, the use of a tampon is the only reliable definition of non-virginity. You’ve had oral sex? You’ve had anal sex? Some say you’re still a virgin, some say you’re not. We say unless you’ve had to staunch your body’s natural flow of menstrual blood using a cotton absorption device, you’ve never experienced the kind of physical giving-of-the-self-to-another that we talk about when we talk about sex.
query: There are always cold sores on my mouth, and I hate them! What can I do? -Andie, 16
Andie: Why don’t you kill yourself? Seriously, it sounds like things have pretty much hit rock bottom for you. How could life possibly be any worse? You could be starving, you could live in a country where stepping on a landmine is a constant possibility, you could have abusive parents, and still you would be better off than you currently are. Jesus Christ. Get some perspective, is our first piece of advice.
Our second piece of advice is to try augmenting your diet with a B vitamin supplement. Insufficient B-12 (thiamin) in your diet can be the source of dryness and irritation around the soft tissues of your mouth and nose. A Lysine deficiency may also be causing your problem, so take a 200 mg Lysine gelcap twice a day for two weeks and see if there’s any improvement. Good luck!
query: There was this boy I had a crush on who was always complimenting me, so I asked him out. He said, “No, I don’t want a girlfriend right now, but I think you’re really cool.” Recently, his friend, whom I sort of like, asked me out. I don’t feel like giving up on the first guy, because I still think something could happen. What should I do? -Jody, 14
Jody: We fault your approach at least partially. If your quote is accurate as you wrote it, you must have not simply asked the guy out, but said, “Do you want a girlfriend?” This may be a little forward. Consider taking it a little slower. Desperation is unattractive in 14 year olds.
query: I’m 17 and my boyfriend is 15. Our parents and friends claim he’s too young for me. How can we show them that age doesn’t matter? -Lauren, 17
Dear Lauren: Yawn. Who cares?
And here’s the lone question from a guy, who accidentally addressed this most sensitivie of guy-queries (we’re all too familiar with this one!) to a girl magazine read by a nation of his female peers…
query: I think my penis is small, and I’m embarrassed to change clothes in front of anyone. How do I know if it’s normal? -Dan, 16
Don’t worry! We checked with a doctor and he told us that the average penis size for boys 12-18 years old is .5 to 1.5 inches when erect. So you’re normal, right? I mean, you fit within that range, right? Whatever you are, friend, that’s normal. Normal for you. The other kids at your school may have received high doses of radiation while in their mothers’ wombs, which accounts for their gigantic four and five inch penises, but just wait til they die of brain cancer at 33! Then who’s laughing? You are, Mr. Tiny-Cock! You! Ha ha! Beautiful day!

Chaka Mfana

name: Chaka Mfana
Dear Friend,
I write to seek your cooperation as my foreign partner and your assistance to enable us to own properties and invest in the stable economy of your country. I apologize if this mail does not suit your personal or business ethics.
My names are Dr.Chaka Mfana. We are making this venture proposal to you in strict confidence. As senior civil servants in the South Africa Government, the South African civil service laws(Code of Conduct bureau)forbids us to own a foreign account.
The money we have in our possession is an overdue payment bill totaling Eighteen Million, Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars (US$18,500,000.00) which we want to transfer abroad with the assistance and co-operation of a company/or an individual to receive the said funds, via a reliable Bank Account.
If you will like to assist us as a partner, then indicate your interest after which we shall both discuss on the modalities. All other information to facilitate the remittance of the funds will be revealed to you in due course. For your assistance, you shall receive our share of the entire sum will be 30% amounting to Us$5.55Million of the US$18.5Million, 60% amounting to US$11.1Million for us and 10% amounting to US$1.85Million will be used to settle taxation and other miscellaneous expenses in the course of transferring the funds to your account.
Please indicate your direct telephone and direct fax number when replying this business proposal I will� call you when necessary. If you are not interested, please also indicate so that it will enable me to contact other foreign partner with recommendations to carry out this deal.
A swift acknowledgment on the receipt of this mail will be appreciated. Thank you and God bless you.
Best regards,
Dr.Chaka Mfana

Dear Chaka,
Thanks for finally getting back to us. It sounds like most of the details are starting to come together. We can hardly believe it: this thing may actually happen!! Crossed fingers all around!!
Chaka, one thing has never been totally clear: how many people are you? You say, “My names are Dr. Chaka Mfana,” which could easily be a charmingly outdated phrasing meaning something like, “My given name and surname are Chaka and Mfana,” but then you identify yourself as “civil servants” in her majesty’s secret svc. or whatever, and the confusion swells and takes hold, trunnel-like, leaving us wondering if there’s like three of you and all of you are named Dr. Chaka Mfana, which maybe is not such a rare name as it sounds.
Anyway, that’s just curiosity. Down to the business at hand, because there is one rather serious misgiving we have that must be discussed: You guys say you’re in possession of “an overdue payment bill totalling Eighteen Million, Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars.” Now, are you sure that’s not money that you owe to somebody else? “Overdue payment bill” — that sounds like a late phone bill or credit card bill or something. So anyway, drop everything and just take another look at your “overdue payment bill” and make sure it’s actually money you have and not money that is desired of you. Because that could change everything. That could throw a big ugly wrench in your plan.
But so, assuming you determine that you are in fact holding $18.5 million, then let us get down to the modalities. First of all, the split, to us, seems a little unfriendly. Are you and we not partners in this venture? You guys and us guys? You three Chakas and us three scientists? So fifty/fifty seems more like the thing, seems more like — as is sometimes said — “the ticket”. Consider it. It’s simply more just, Chaka. Everybody equal. It means fewer weird vibes. Fewer 9 milli’s brought to the big meet-up, or whatever you want to call it. The rendez-vous. What the fuck ever. Chaka, seriously, if it’s going to be you pecking us to death over picayune details, we’ll just opt out right now. We’ll pass your offer along to one of our masochistic friends — we have tons.
SOOO, Chaka… fuck, where were we? Fuckin’ Chaka. Look, man, men, whatever — we’re in. Let’s do the damn thing. But we’ll tell you what, it’s going to be simplified. Hear us out. Simple is sexy, Chaka; think about dresses. So here’s the simple plan: mail us the money in a envelope, we’ll accept it and sit on it till you can get out here, then we’ll split it up and raffle off the prizes. Chaka, can we suggest FedEx for this? Seriously, don’t slip your 18 largest into a manila folder and tape it shut and mail it South African Post — that’s just crazy. No, no matter how bad it looks to your constituents, you not using the local service, you need to go FedEx. Tracking could end up being key. Imagine, Chaka, that it’s like day 13 — you mailed the 18.5 thirteen days ago — and it still hasn’t arrived. You want to be able to tap for the instant solution. It’s worth the extra 20 bucks. That can come out of the 10% miscellaneous expenses sliver of the bundle.
Okay, all is set. Chaka? Courage. Courage, man. You are about to put 18 and a half million dollars into a post box and walk away — this will not be easy. Fortitude, Chaka. Steely resilience. Beady-eyed malice, Chaka. Whatever gets you through. Get mean, Chaka. Get fucking angry. Rally your strength, rally your Chakas, steady your hands, and lets make. This. Happen, Chaka.
Hey, and Chaka? See you when you get here, old friends. Old guys. Old service ministers of our heart.

Lisa, Malcolm, Candy

name: lisa
query: Me and my sister are trying to convince my mom to buy us a drum set and a
bass.? What are some good ways for convincing?

Dear Lisa and sis,
Here is a sample conversation in which you convince your mom to do as you wish:

“Hey, Mom? Have you ever heard of Chris Cain and Michael Tapper?”
Mom’s face flushes and she smiles shyly. “Chris and Michael… wow… Yes, um… yeah, sweetie, I have. Why… why do you ask?”
“Well, Janie and I think they’re the best. We think about them all the time, and we both get a funny tickly feeling in our stomachs when we look at pictures of them. We think it’s perfessional adu-…ad-…. aducation?”
Mom’s eyes are closed; one hand is pressed to her cheek and the other slowly moves across her abdomen. “Adulation. Oh, Lisa… oh, honey… god, I had forgotten about those days…”
Mom is running her hands through her hair and gently moaning / humming ‘coming clean’ under her breath.

In this mood, she’ll do anything, if we know your mom.
name: malcolm
query: dear scientists,
?? i have nintendo.
um… how can i get from no sco to norcal with the least monetary spending
possible? (provided there is no abducting or killing taking place)

Dear Malcolm,
Congratulations on the Nintendo. That would make a pretty nice t-shirt:

i have nintendo.

If by “no sco” you mean Nova Scotia and by “norcal” you mean Northern California, which seems a safe enough bet, then probably the way to make your passage at the absolute minimum cost to yourself — like, if you’re looking to really pinch pennies, here — would be to try to book a really, really, really, REALLY cheap flight on Orbitz or Hotwire or something. We’d try that.
Alternatively you could abduct and kill some people and search their persons for, like, coordinates to a wormhole that leads from NoSco to NorCal. Ah, but then that clearly violates your conditions. Hmm.
Well, how big are you? And do you have good balance? We already know you have an excellent way with people. Here’s where this is going: You could become a flight attendant. See, not only would you, as a flight attendant, get free flights, but you’d also get to (ahem) JOIN THE MILE-HIGH CLUB. Probably fifty times over, in fact. Which would leave you relaxed, if not rested, when you touch down at SanFran International hours before W.A.S.’s next sell-out show at The Pleasuredome, or The Pepsi Arena, or The Stork — wherever we happen to be playing.
In conclusion, Malcolm, we have chosen your career: it is to mind the friendly skies and engage in a cramped galavant or two with every toothsome stewardess lucky enough to talk her way onto a crew with ‘Musky Malcolm the Priapic’. For thus will you come to be known by those callipygian nymphs who have long endured vertiginous views and a narrow workplace with the faith that one day, as they passed from galley to aisle, someone like you would fold open that door, reach out from the lavatory and pull them into a 30.000 foot closeted embrace.
name: Candy
query: Do you “hook-up” with fans at/after/during your concerts?
Dear Candy,
If by “hook up” you refer to the thrilling audiopathic connection that arcs like a ghostbuster’s proton beam between musician and audience member during a performance, then absolutely, we hook up, big time.
If you’re talking about something sexual, then holy s–t, you should see some of the s–t we do.


Hi!� I am hopig you will be of service to me.� I am trying to find out what something is made of.� I get hair extentions and my stylist has a new medthod for the extentions. however the new treatment is extremetly costly. too costly. ( even for her to buy the hair..� ( if she knew what the piece that holds the hair strand together was made of, she could have it made herself.� Do you know of such a company that will analyze this piece for her / us?� or can you do it?� Please let me know.� It is very important to her to find put just what this is made of. it feels like the thin part of a horses nail. sounds weird I know.� thank you for your help [)) -ed.]
Janet ____
Holy shit, Janet!
Holy shit, we would love to do the analysis you require. Please give us the contract! (How will you beat our bid on this contract? Our bid of “free”?) Frankly, analyzing mystery compounds is something of a passionate hobby for us; we are a band first, yes, but most weeks our time sheets would probably show more man-hours spent on analyses of enigmatic substances than on anything related to music. In fact, we spent much of this morning analyzing a disgusting grey/green ball of nastiness that we found in the bathtub drain…(beat)…turned out it was Amanda Peet’s career!
But seriously, Janet, we take this job very seriously. Let’s put our thinking caps on and take a look at the clues. Now, you say that this new method of extending hair relies on a “piece” that “holds the hair strand together”, something like “the thin part of a horse nail”, apparently. There are three major methods of hair extension: Heat-sealed synthetic extensions (the ‘Dome’ method), Pinch-braided synthetic extensions (the ‘Hairpolice’ method), and Temporary loose extensions. I think we can throw out Temporary loose extensions for obvious reasons — that’s clearly not what the hell you’re talking about! Since Pinch-braided extensions rely on the use of a single length of thread or string incorporated into the 4-way plait at the top of the hair, it’s ulikely we’re talking about that shit right there either. No, we’re almost certainly looking at the Dome method, in which your own hair is braided with synthetic hair for about half an inch with a 4-way ‘box’ braid, which braid is then wrapped in more synthetic hair and heated to create a seal that can last months (hot tip: don’t have a Prostyles C2 heat clamp handy? Try applying rubber cement to the braided/seal area and lighting it on fire–save time by doing all the hairs at once…works like a charm and it’s fun! Make sure a friend has a camera and a tape recorder!)
So your stylist has some sort of new material that she can use to seal the extensions, but it’s very expensive and she’d like to circumvent the middle-man and buy straight from the supplier? We know exactly the stuff you’re talking about, and it’s expensive for a reason: it’s horse nail. Needless to say, horse nail is singularly difficult to harvest, especially the thin part, which is what you need. The fact is that the prices your stylist is probably looking at (somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000/bucket is standard) aren’t the result of a greedy intermediary, but rather because horse nail is super, duper rare. We recommend that you just pony up the cash — the stuff is worth every penny. Advantages include:
Strength: extensions will last years and are so strong you can tie pool balls to the end of every strand, if you want. You can tow cars or swing from bridges.
Smell: a pleasant scent, musty, powerful, evocative of chestnut or horse.
Taste: mouth-watering flavor; sharp, well defined, with a robust finish and plankton-y aftertaste.
What else can we say? Get out there and get some horse-nail extensions!!! Get a few of ’em!! We’ve all got ’em and love ’em!, did we mention that? C’est vrai!
Bon soir,
we are scientists, the


hey kids, i just woke up from an awfully bizzare (yet i believe somewhat telling) dream about you all. so it started out that we were in california and were heading back to the east coast. well intersetingly enough we were all on the same flight into BWI. well it ended up that chris never made it on the plane but keith and michael did. and i felt somehow responsible for this, but keith kept reassuring me that it was solely the fault of an old lady who had way too many bags. the plane ride started innocently enough, the three of us talking,�perhaps about keith’s�nappy mullet like hair extension. and then they landed the plane on the side of a mountain because some people were being roudy and the flight attendant was all “we’re not going to start this plane again till all of you settle down”. so everyone went back to their seats but when the plane started again a few guys got up and started fighting and somehow everyone knew it would end up�escalating to�guns and bloodshed so they landed the plane again and in chaos and panic instructed people to leave through the emergency exits. of course i assumed i was all alone from this point on, every man for himself type of thing, but keith grabbed my arm and together we all escaped.

sounds like a good ending, but there’s more. so we hopped a plane to thailand.�after a very awful and bumpy ride (we were flying so low we were next to the cars on the freeway) we ended up in thailand where there was a homeless begger and keith instructed me to give�the thai woman�a dollar because he only had a five. so i did. and then i woke up.

any suggestions about what this might mean?� by the way, rockin’ show at the grove house. i’ll definitely see you when i’m back on the east coast.
fondly, leah
Telling, indeed. We think it’s safe to say that this dream represents an unwillingness on your part to face up to a harsh reality you’re currently dealing with — possibly disease has put a crippling wrench in your plans to hike the Appalachian trail; or your dog has died and you can’t quite bring yourself to stop playing frisbee with him. There is obviously something that your consciousness is having an awful time coming to grips with, and the turmoil has manifested itself in this escapist fantasy. Let’s do a blow-by-blow.
First of all, Chris loves few things more than plowing through old ladies in the manner popularized by offensive linesmen. So much the better if they’re huffing around a bunch of bags, because this produces a nice bowling-pin effect — bags everywhere, contents of bags everywhere: dried flowers, lipstick, chocolates, pewter jewelry, napkins, fossil molds, candle holders, origami swans. All over the floor. Fake teeth splashing across the floor like ivory skittles. Verily, the notion that an old lady laden with bags would be an obstacle to Chris (and not a target) is absurd. It’s absurdist, really.
Next: Keith’s nappy mullet-like hair extensions? That’s just… that’s just ridiculous! Who…who told you Keith has hair extensions? I mean… did someone actually tell you that, or or or, uh, or was that just you being, y’know, uh, fanciful. Or what. Okay so but not that it matters! At all, uh… cuz, yeah, the point is that obviously — OBVIOUSLY — Keith doesn’t have hair extensions! Or hair plugs, mind us. Let us emphasize that: Keith doesn’t have hair plugs. Nor has he ever had them.
Moving on! Planes do not land on the sides of mountains when people are rowdy! How many times will we have to make that point on this web-page before people get it? PLANES DO NOT LAND ON THE SIDES OF MOUNTAINS WHEN PEOPLE ARE ROWDY! That would be way too dangerous to even attempt! The fact is, the only way a pilot would ever attempt to set a commercial jet-liner down on the side of a mountain would be if everyone on board were being just totally calm and well-behaved. Not only does it require intense concentration to pull off such a landing, but also, landing on a mountainside is a reward, you follow? As in, for top-shelf behavior only. A pilot would no more do a mountainside landing for a rowdy passenger than one would hand over some nice fresh poison to a misbehaving rat.
Finally, your fevered reverie ends with a scene that flies in the face of reality with a carelessness that makes the rest of the dream seem downright plausible: Keith tells you to donate a buck to a homelss thai woman? The idea that Keith would give or cause to be given to a beggar some measure of comfort — whether monetary, culinary, or even verbal… wow… that’s, like, an insult to the assumption that the universe is anything more ordered than a haphazard collection of random actions dictated by some totally chaotic anti-will. An anecdote: during our recent tour, we stopped over in San Francisco, where, while strolling the lovely, spring-scented streets, Keith was approached by an old homeless fellow who asked for a nickel toward buying a sandwich. Keith silently walked past, and minutes later related to Michael and Chris that he had refrained from gushing vitriol at this “filthy urchin” only because he had feared that opening his mouth would result in his stomach unleashing its recently consumed contents, so horrified had he been by “the demon’s unforgivable trespass.” Michael and Chris sort of grudgingly agreed that to vomit in public like that would have been unfortunate and embarrassing, to which Keith replied that he didn’t give “two homeless kids” if people saw him throw up; what would really upset him is if “the knave” had got at his lunch. Michael and Chris had to ask for repeated clarification, but they finally came to realize that, indeed, Keith had felt that unfurling his lunch would be tantamount to offering the beggar food, a possibility which Keith abhorred even more than withholding verbal abuse.
And so, Leah, your subconscious mind has woven this intricate tapestry of lies. But it’s crucial to note that they are obvious lies. Everybody knows Chris loves to trundle the elderly; everybody knows mountainside landing is a privilege, not a punishment; and certainly everyone knows that Keith hates the homeless more even than he does French film. And why is your subconscious doing this fabricating? Why is it allowing itself to be caught red-handed? Because it wants you to know that it knows; it knows about how you’re failing to face that difficult reality (dead dog, no trail hike, not going to law-school, etc.), and it is doing it’s best to shame you into being a bit braver with things.
We hope we’ve helped, Leah. We know we’re right; we just hope you’re ready to hear the truth. The awful truth.


dear scientists,
in less than 72 hours i will be on a plane for tanzania (NOT tazmania) for an entire semester, away from the bubble that is the claremont colleges. i’ll learn to speak swahili and have a homestay with a tribe. i’m getting a wee bit nervous. they made me buy all of this camping equipment, and let’s just say that i am not known for my “roughing it” capabilities. being the world-travelers that you are with all of those big, multi-billion dollar tours, do you have any advice for me on how to survive such a long trip and not step on any cultural toes?
a devoted fan,
p.s. if i can get a picture of a tribesman wearing a we are scientists t-shirt, will you guys play a show between the 16th and the 19th of may when i will be in new york on my way back to sunny san diego? i’ve never been to NY and that would be really cool…
p.p.s. some of your songs will be travelling with me on my pitiful low-memory mp3 player. feel honored.
Tawny bo-Bawny,

Tazmania, eh? We�ve heard good things. Good things about Tazmania, boy. Yes sir. Seriously, rest easy. Consider yourself blessed not to be going to Beirut or Tanzania or something.
First, foremost, most important thing to remember: put people at ease. And how do you do that? In the manner demonstrated by this little note�s salutation: append a rhyming �nonsense� version of your foreign buddy�s name to the end of her actual moniker, bridging the real and the rhyme with �bo�, �fo�, �lo�, etc., depending on how you�ve spelt (rhymes with svelte) the invented portion of the new nickname. Let�s try a few together.
Exercise A. You meet a man, name o� Pierre. He is a Frenchman of almost boundless romantic appeal. ALWAYS, the right thing seems to be coming out of his mouth at the right time (you get the feeling that if your sleeve caught fire, he would produce a generous outflow of flame-quenching French spittle, so reliable is his right-thing-at-right-time characteristic). You are seduced and �lain to the satin�, as the French say (there is no meaningful English translation). After a fortnight of intelligent, gallic lovemaking, you are at the breakfast table with Pierre and his mother and father, who are roughly your age. For whatever reason, a moment of awkwardness � unprecedented in your short history with Pierre � drifts over the McCroissandwich-littered table. Perhaps dad makes a pass at you. Perhaps you accept. How to engineer a d�tente? �Oh, we�re all being so silly! Let us laugh again, as we have so often before this moment done! [Note that you should speak in the tone-deaf grammar of a foreigner, that they might feel at ease with you.] Let us rejoice in the company of each other, in the wealth of familial comfort that is here! Oh, Pierre bo-Bierre, never would I assent to the laying of me by your father to the satin! Do not be silly, Pierre Robespierre [go ahead and freestyle on the rhyme at this point, and if you can bring in popular cultural references relevant to the addressee, all the better].
Exercise B. During a layover in Lisbon, en route to Transylvania, where you are studying abroad, you meet a young woman who fits, at least superficially, into your demographic. After nearly 12 hours of lonely travel – if you include the drive to LAX – and a hermetic, friendless two and a half years of dereliction at college in Claremont, you are CEO-greedy for a little conversation. How to break the ice: �Excuse me, but would you mind my asking your name? � Ah, Janet, is it? Janet. Janet lo-Lanet. Janet � stop me if this bothers you � Janet fo-Fanet. Heh heh. Funny. That�s funny, huh? Janet fo-Fanet. Funny. How �bout this one: Janet cro-Cranet. Heh heh. Janet� Janet splo-Splanet. Gah-haaa! That�s rich.� Voila. You�ve got her attention, guaranteed. Now make friends. �Janet� is a good example because it shows how you can do some pretty interesting permutations. �cro-Cranet�, for example, or maybe �bro-Branet�. We don�t recommend straying very far from �bro-Branet�, however. At �bro-Branet� you�re already pretty far afield. For example, �splo-Splanet� was obviously too out-there. You saw how Janet reacted to that one. She looked like a very controlled person who can usually supress her emotions, who has just got a big gulp of expired, tofu-chunky milk and, though she�s trying to be polite and control any showy gagging or vomiting, is nevertheless pretty obviously experiencing tremendous revulsion. Janet sto-Stanet.
Other than that, Tawny, we�re not sure what to tell you. Except, maybe, that you will be going into this adventure with a distinct advantage over the average neophytic traveller: your admiration for and familiarity with the we are scientists. WAS, you may not realize, is the basis for a surprisingly extensive, predictably heart-felt global fellowship, a fellowship that, frankly, we never intended. Because we�d be lying if we told you this fellowship has increased the value of our defense contracts. WAS has always suggested and practiced violence as the best way to derail a conflict. But the point is that wherever you go, you�re going to find WAS fans, as sure as you�ll find wind, fire, and Coke brand snack drinks. On arriving in your semi-permanent new home, consider joining the local chapter of the WAS fan club (note: in many areas of the world, words resembling �worship� liberally pepper the meetings of such clubs; don�t let this seeming extremism, which is actually just a cultural difference, bother you � what they mean by �worship�, Americans and Europeans tend to describe more casually as a powerful sexual lust). Volunteer for one of the less-desirable offices, such as Purely-Platonic Friend to The Band; you will thereby immediately gain the respect and gratitude of your new community.
Lastly, may we suggest that you keep in mind the following helpful aphorisms, which each of us has tattooed both forward (for the world) and backward (for the mirror) on our chests:
The width of our chests has, to an extent, been a factor in determining the maxims we choose to follow. So has almost total moral lassitude. But that is not to say that we�re anything less than 100% behind the wisdom and usefulness of these four concise and witty prescriptions.
Good luck to you, Tawny. You will be fine. Confidence here at WAS HQ is high. Bets have been placed, and � without putting any pressure on you either way � let us just say that we will make out handsomely if you survive this journey. Again, no pressure, but, so you know, our winnings will be maximized if you return alive, yes, but without your legs. Without either leg, Tawny. Keeping specifics to a minimum, let�s just say that we�ll be generous with you if you�re generous with us, Tawny. So, something to think about.
we are scientists
p.s. � show us a photo of a tribesman boasting our t-shirt and we will do everything in our power to book a show during the specified period. Should we fail, we�d be more than happy to give you a private show consisting of us popping your favorite WAS album onto the CD turner and lip-synching a couple of songs, maybe even miming some guitar strumming and drum-beating and kazoo-blowing, for those solos.

Elisabeth, Annie, Jessica, and Sarah

Dear Bestest Band Ever (a.k.a. We Are Scientists – that’s you; I aren’t scientist, neither I, nor I),
Driving east on Foothill Blvd, near your old rocking grounds, we wanted to put in a super special cd to brighten our rainy evening. But, we couldn’t find Safety, Fun and Learning (in that order). So we took out our back-up copy of SFL(ITO) next to our flashlight, jumper cables, and flares. Twenty seconds into “Over and Out”, we four Claremont women/chicas were so inspired by y’all, we abandonned our idea to form our own band and decided to play Chinese Firedrill instead. This seemed like a reasonable alternative because
a) we’re lazy.
b) we’re too lazy to list the other reasons.
Now, this was a fun-filled learning activity. Granted, it was not safe. It was especially not safe because it was raining, dark, and we were confused about Chinese Firedrill ettiquette.
Can you tell us whether you should switch seats or return to your previously occupied seat after encircling the vehicle??? Maybe this will help us be more safe next time.
We’ll Chinese Firedrill with you anyday,
Elisabeth, Annie, Jessica, and Sarah
E, A, J, &S:
Let us be the first to recommend that you not engage in chinese fire drilling ever, ever, ever again. Do you want to talk about an incrediby dangerous activity? Okay: ha ha, yay, chinese fire drilling, chinese fire drilling, chinese fire drilling, yeah. Let us go on the record as heartily recommending an evening of unprotected sex, shared needles, and half-odds russian roulette next time you’re looking for a little action and leaning toward a chinese fire drill. The medical journals and the IntroNet (TM) are lousy, absolutely lousy with horror stories:
� The fellow who, during a chinese fire drill, tripped and fell through a sewer grate (he was whisper-thin) � by the time his friends fished him out nearly an hour later, he had missed an important appointment to see about a job. As a result, he did not get that job. He did get another job, but not all of these stories have happy endings…
� The young woman who, during a chinese fire drill, fell into a sinkhole and died.
� The small baby who took part in a chinese fire drill and ended up in a seat other than his car-seat � in the shotgun seat, actually � and who, as a result, kept slipping out of his seat and into the floorboards whenever the car slowed (his diaper was plasticky and slick). He had this to say of the situation, “This is the shits! This is for the birds! Ai mi!”
� The cat who participated in a chinese fire drill and got hit by a passing car.
� The dog who tripped during a chinese fire drill and, tragically, was the object of much ridicule and scorn and even cuffs on the muzzle from an abusive owner.
Here are several things that are safer than chinese fire drilling:
� Walking around in Brando’s living room with pork-chops sewn into the liner of your jacket.
� Time travelling back to The Nam.
� Werewolf jokes if you are a stand-up comedian playing to an audience of the scruffy scoundrels.
Here is a diagram of your typical round of chinese fire drilling:

Girls, if you care anything for life and the finest things it has to offer (WAS, fame, cigarette boats), consider dropping this dangerous habit altogether.
w to the a to the s

Forlorn in California

Dear members of We Are Scientists,
I’m in desperate need of advice. However, I
believe that there are many women in need like I am
and this particular predicament is not unique enough
to gain the very much sought after We Are Scientists
However, for the past few days I’ve experienced
something that has caused quite a lot of confusion and
anxiety for me. I’ve been having these extremely
elaborate, explicit and exquisite dreams featuring a
particular member of the band, “We Are Scientists.” I
can’t explain the origins of these very detailed
dreams… I also would assume you prefer I omit the
details of these dreams as I know this is a family
Of course, I assume this may never reach the
actual web page…. however, what am I to possibly do
with such a thing? I’m starting to rather enjoy these
dreams and don’t know exactly how to go about handling
them… I don’t believe that traveling to each of
your shows and living them out backstage is quite
plausible, nor feasible. I’m very confused and
frustrated. Please help scientists.
Forlorn in California
(also known as: Califorlornia)
First of all, it’s important for you to realize that this sort of thing is PERFECTLY NORMAL for a girl your age. Frankly, it’s a little disconcerting to us that your parents or healthcare provider haven’t yet had that little sit-down talk with you, about the birds and the bees and the We Are Scientists. If they’re not going to handle this, then it’s up to us, we guess.
Having this manner of dream about We Are Scientists is part of growing up and becoming a woman (it’s part of becoming a man, too, by the way, so any guys who are reading this can stop worrying). Let’s take a look at the charts, shall we?

Stages of Puberty

1 Age Range: Usually 8-11
In Stage 1 there are no outside signs of development, but a girl’s ovaries are enlarging and hormone production is beginning. She enjoys We Are Scientists, but only “for the music.”
2 Age Range: Usually 8-14. Average: 11-12
The first sign is typically the beginning of breast growth, including “breast buds.” A girl may also grow considerable height and weight. The first signs of pubic hair start out fine and straight, rather than curly. She notices an acute increase in her own interest in We Are Scientists, but writes it off as an “appreciation of their sweet guitar licks and soaring harmonies.” Still, she can’t help but notice Michael Tapper’s strong jaw and rippling biceps.
3 Age Range: Usually 9-15. Average: 12-13
Breast growth continues, and pubic hair coarsens and becomes darker, but there still isn’t a lot of it. Her body is still growing, and body fat is developing. Some girls get their first menstrual periods late in this stage. We Are Scientists becomes a core interest. Posters are plastered on bedroom walls. T-shirts are donned. Chris Cain dolls are toted about in patented WAS Keith Murray-shaped backpacks. We Are Scientists, meanwhile, purchase their third mansion on the Maltese coast.
4 Age Range: Usually 10-16. Average: 13-14
Pubic hair growth continues. Underarm hair is likely to appear in this stage, as is menarche. Ovulation (release of egg cells) begins in some girls, but typically not in a regular monthly routine until Stage 5. This stage also marks the onset of incessant yet wonderful WAS-related dreams. Oh, those dreams! She begins to dread her waking hours, when WAS is so far away, and not wearing a matching set of lime-green thongs.
5 Age Range: Usually 12-19. Average: 15
This is the final stage of development, when a girl is physically an adult. Breast and pubic hair growth are complete, and her full height is usually attained by this point. Menstrual periods are well established, and ovulation occurs monthly. Interest in WAS decreases dramatically, and is often replaced by an appreciation for firearms, musical theatre, and prop-based comedy. “What the fuck,” is our question here.
So, yeah, Califorlornia. We’re guessing you’re, what, 13 years old? Maybe 14? Give it a year or two. Soon, you’ll be ignoring WAS like all of the other girls, rushing past us to grope at the hem of Carrot Top’s red velour sports coat.
we are scientists