I’m anticipating an outcry of protest and indignation from all my Liberal readers (all several of you) by my next pronouncement…

I am a fan of Ayn Rand’s books.

(Ducks down under desk to avoid flying verbal and written brickbats of anger and outrage)

Lemme’ know when it’s safe to come back up…

FYI, a “brickbat” is defined as “a remark or comment that is highly critical and typically insulting”. (Sounds like my ex-wife.) For years I thought a brickbat was what the coach made me swing back when I played Little League baseball, ‘cause that’s what it felt like…most seasons, I was lucky if my batting average equaled my weight. I had an arm like a cannon, a glove like a vacuum cleaner and a bat like a fly swatter.

For those of you who are residents of LiberalLand, give me a moment to explain why I am a reader of the late Ms. Rand…she mostly wrote really big, fat books that took like a gazillion years to read, which for me meant that I could stay involved in one book for an extended period of time and not have to change subjects, figure out new plots or learn about any new characters that I might not like. (My copy of her 1943 novel The Fountainhead is 726 pages long and my “large mass-market” paperback version of Atlas Shrugged is well over a thousand.)

She obviously had a lot to say.

Okay, that wasn’t the real reason I was a fan of Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum (her real name)…actually, I just liked what she had to say about self-reliance and egoism.

I freely admit that I’m not sophisticated enough politically to comprehend all her ideas about opposing collectivism and statism and favoring laissez-faire capitalism and non-stick cookware; she sometimes gets all esoteric and deep with her philosophy of Objectivism, the general idea of which I understood, the details of which went past me in a great gust of literary hot air.

Objectivism, her own personal philosophy of how to live a clean, moral and thoroughly boring life, is explained by WikiPedia as “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity and reason as his only absolute”.

Let’s dissect that statement, shall we?

“Man as a heroic being”: yeah, I can see men as heroic…any husband who has ever had to answer the dreaded “does this dress make my butt look big?” question from his wife/partner without stepping all over his manhood is heroic in my book.

“…with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life…”: I know a shitload of people out there whose ONLY and EXPRESS purpose for living is the pursuit of their own happiness, so yeah, I get that. (See Donald Trump.)

“…with productive achievement as his noblest activity…”: now this concept I have some minor problems with…if “productive achievement” is at the top of the heap of noble activities, where does that put compassion, love, working for the betterment of humanity and trombone playing? Besides, if this is the criteria, then I personally know a boatload of my fellow Publix associates who are destined to live lives of utter failure, given the amount of time and effort they spend trying desperately not to do any more work than absolutely necessary. (We have an employee at the Publix grocery store where I work part-time who has made an art of the above; she wanders the parking lot playing around on her cellphone feverishly when she is supposed to be gathering shopping carts, she ducks into the ladies room with a frequency that is shameless doing what in there I couldn’t say, you see her going upstairs to the breakroom several times a day when she has no business being up there, or just wandering the store with a vapid look on her face when she’s supposed to be working, and the worst of it, she does these things right in front of the rest of us, like we’re too stupid to see and understand what she’s (not) doing. She wouldn’t know productivity if it walked up and kicked her in her big butt. I won’t mention her first name, but it rhymes with the state that has Annapolis as its capital.)

“…and reason as his only absolute.”: sorry, Alisa Zinovyevna, but we’re talking America here, right? Reason? Really? 62,984,828 people voted for Donald Trump in 2016…reason? You mean like common sense? You gotta’ be kidding me.

More on Ms. Rand and her books next week; now it’s time to use one of my copyrighted and famed “non-segue segues” and move right along to the real subject of today’s post…advise on dating in the time of coronavirus.

You see, I get letters and texts and emails and PMs on FB and smoke signals and secret decoder-ring messages from my readers (both Liberals and Conservatives, although the questions I get from Conservatives often seem to involve sheep, vibraphones and 55-gallon drums of Lime Jello), seeking advice on how best to navigate the swirling rapids of dating and relationships in this era of lockdowns, masks, social distancing and a disease that makes gonorrhea look like a hangnail.

And so, to proceed…

“Cap’n John:

                I’ve penned essays, articles, books and an occasional thank-you note but I’ve never written to a sea captain who puts out an “advice to the lovelorn” column before; I grew up in post-Revolution Russia, and the Commies didn’t believe in love. Sex, yes, but love? No, no way, too bourgeois. So I’m now living in America, land of the free (lunch) and home of the Atlanta Braves, and I am having no luck whatsoever finding a reasonable, heroic man with whom I can settle down and raise a family of Libertarians. I’ve tried dating services, hanging around at the local John Birch Society chapter meetings and I even thought about attending the “Singles Nights” at the local church, but I’m an atheist and I don’t think “believers” are objective. Can you give me any ideas on where I can find the Conservative of my dreams? I looked at the atlas, shrugged in frustration and decided to write to you…please help me, Cap’n John.

                I Sure Hope Fountainhead Is Some Kind of Unusual Oral Sex Involving Water”

Dear “Head”:

                I just hope you’re never as disappointed as I was when I streamed the movie Babes In Toyland on the Internet recently, thinking it was a, err, you know, a porno. Well, hey, given the title, what would you think? “Babes” in “Toy”land? WTF? If that’s not the definition of “false advertising” than I don’t know what…it’s an animated Disney movie, for the love of vibrators. Geez. (Insert winky-face here.)

“Dear Cap’n John Krissongs:

                I’m a single woman in my late 20s and an editor for a book publishing firm; I lead an active life, am better than average looking and have no visible warts. (Keyword…visible.) I’ve had some experience with relationships in the past, all unpleasant. I’m in the market, but the choices seem so poor; where are all the attractive, heroic studs that I read about in the “romance” novels I edit? Where the hell are the Caleb Burlys or the Justin Hairychesteds in real life? I’m tired of living in a fantasy world populated by men that are handsome, loving, considerate, moderately clean and a figment of someone’s else’s imagination. The author Ayn Rand once said that “A creative (wo)man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others”, and believe me, I don’t want to beat anybody, although if some studly dude out there wanted to give me a light spanking because I’d been “naughty”, that would be okay. Where do I find the man of my fantasies, Cap’n John?

                Ellie the Editor, Manstarved in Manhattan”

Dear “Ellie”:

                Two words, Ellie…”deuterium oxide”, also known as “heavy water”, which because it contains both a proton AND a neutron, makes it twice as heavy as regular water. I realize this information probably won’t help you find the “man of your fantasies”, but if you ever hook-up with a nuclear physicist, it’s a good starting point. (I assume when you mentioned “a light spanking” that it didn’t include a hairbrush or a cane, otherwise I would have to edit out that part of your letter, this being a family blog.)

“John Krissongs Cap’n:

                We are frankly puzzled as to why you refuse to honor this debt we’re trying to collect…”

Okay, never mind that one.

“Dear Cap’n John:

                I have a friend named Justin Hairychested (not his real name, which is actually Al Catraz…oh, I wasn’t supposed to tell you that, sorry), anyway, my friend suggested that I write to you about a problem I’m having with finding and attracting women of the opposite sex…where the hell are they? I’ve had blind dates (one was a real nice girl, but the dog kept getting in the way) and I’ve done some Internet dating, I’ve been to all the “singles’ bars” in the area, I’ve even tried Singles’ Bronco Riding Night at the local rodeo, all to no avail. I’m a hetero male in my early 30s, have all my own hair and teeth and no physical deformities (that show), I’m financially okay and I believe in productive achievement as the defining point of my life, well, other than my weekly “coffee enema”, which lately has become the real focal point of my life, and I need some advice: how do I find Ms. Right, when all I keep running into is Ms. Take?

                Just Call Me Freddie Folgers”

Dear “Freddie”:

                You’re kind of a sick fuck, aren’t you?

Okay, according to the clock down in the corner of my computer monitor, it’s 162 words past my being done, since I typically try to keep my posts at or below 1500 words total…I’m allowing for attention span, both mine and my readers.

I sincerely hope that this open and frank discussion of problems that single folks face in today’s world has given you some meaningful insight into your own relationships.

Yeah, right.

Love and bookmarks,

Cap’n John

Post Script…1704. Geez, no wonder I’m tired…