Each week, a circa-1982 John Cougar, pop singer and small town boy who is also an immortal, shapeshifter who can transform into any animal he chooses, uses his prodigious life experience to help our readers solve their problems.

Dear John Cougar:

I’ve had some respiratory issues lately, and my doctor attributed it to my smoking habit. I’ve smoked a pack and a half a day since high school, and if I don’t quit, I’m going to die. What’s the most effective way to kick my nicotine addiction, circa-1982 John Cougar?

–Dennis D., Sacramento, California

Howdy to you Dennis, and your good buddy ol’ John Cougar gonna git to yer question there in good time. I gotta get my house in order right now, because I been gone from this here advice column on the shiny electric box for seven dang years! Hoo buddy, time sure does fly, for you sonofaguns and human beings, I mean. As an immortal shapeshifter, ol’ John Cougar ain’t no human man, and every so often, to keep them life liquids a pumpin’ right, ol’ JC has to give himself a proper regeneratin’, down in the Regeneration Station found only in the deepest darkest forest in all of Bohemia, which I can git on over to at a moment’s notice through a time portal in a small town in Indiana. (I was born in a small town.) 

What don’t take no moment though is the regeneratin’; that there dang ol’ process takes seven years to restore ol’ John Cougar to full health, strength, and shapeshiftin’ ability if y’all can even believe it. That’s a long time to you and yer kin, sure, but to the Coug, an immortal shapeshifter, seven years ain’t feel like nothin’ more than the time it takes a smoke a cigarette, of which I smoke 11 packs each and every day. Filterless, as I prefer. But I tell ya, I wrote this here letter back to you right near after I awoke from that there unholy slumber and then spent a couple of weeks as a green-eyed panther, and then a day or two as a parrot. Why a panther? Because panthers are good blood hunters. Why a parrot? Hell, I dunno, I guess I just wanted to see what it was like? Shoot. 

So let me tell you, sonny boy, ol’ John Cougar could go for a smoke right now, so why don’t you wander on yonder to that postal office, pop whatever of them cigarettes you got into an envelope, and mail ‘em over to ol’ John Cougar. Problem solved all around. Next.

Dear John Cougar: 

I can’t stop eating junk food! Every week I buy a fridge full of healthy foods and make a healthy smoothie for breakfast Monday morning, but then by lunch I’m sneaking out to grab a cheeseburger or a chili dog and I’m right back to where I started, feeling unhealthy, guilty, and ashamed of not being able to stick to my diet for more than a couple of hours. Circa-1982 John Cougar, how do I stick to a healthy diet?

Kevin C., Champaign, Illinois

Hey there Kevin, now listen up here real close to your ol’ buddy ol’ John Cougar, cause he, I mean me is about to hit you upside that jukebox-size melon a yers with some tougher truths what more truther than what you’d find this side of “Paper on Fire.” If’n you know John Cougar, then you know his song, “Jack and Diane.” (Seeing what how you is from Illinoise, that’s right near Indiana, where I was born in a small town, and “Jack and Diane” what is the national anthem of Indiana.) “Jack and Diane” is a darn good song if’n I do say so myself, and I’m John Cougar! (I was born in a small town, in a pink house, to boot.) Ready to get yer mind blown right out of your ears again like you was hearin’ “Jack and Diane” again for the first time on the car radio in a ’56 Chevrolet? “Jack” in the song is me, as Jack is sometimes a nickname for John, and my name is John, John Cougar. 

Anyhow. What that no good record company made me do was take out like 30 or 40 verses outta that song that told the whole story on account of how it “ain’t commercial to release a single to them radio stations that’s 40 hours long” and that it “reminded them of Rush.” Hell, ol’ John Cougar loves Rush, cause ain’t nobody has ever come near as close as ol’ Geddy Lee has to describing the events of what’s to come to y’all and yours in the year 2112. (Yeah, yer buddy Ol’ John Cougar has been to the future. I don’t really feel time the same way ya’ll do. Another story for another time.)

If’n they’d let ol’ John Cougar do what he wants, y’all would’ve heard the story about how Jack and Diane (that’s me and a pretty hitchhiker in short-shorts what I picked up on a dirt road) had to fight off an alien invasion, just the two of us, at a Tastee Freez. Why we was suckin’ on chili dogs like I so beyootifully say in the song? Cuz that’s how you sucked out the brains of the evil race of chili dog men what come from space! And what you don’t know is that ALL chili dogs are aliens. So you best keep eatin’ them chili dogs as quick as what you see ‘em, Kevin. That’s how you gotta do your part to save Earth, the best dang planet in the world that’s full of small towns like the one I was born in. I mean, also you could shoot ‘em with a sawed off shotgun if you got one of them handy.

Dear John Cougar:

I keep collecting blades made of the purest silver, and bullets, too. These are not cheap or easy to come by, either. Perhaps I should just throw them all away and give up this silly notion I have that I am the one true hunter of monsters and evil, sworn by duty to the gods and kings to make the earth pure of evil creatures?

Until we meet, perhaps in some kind of Bellum Terminus, thanks, John Cougar, or should I say, Cougarus Rex Immortalem?

–Robert S., Detroit, Michigan

Hey wait a dang ol minute. Y’all say you’re from Michigan. And you’re using Latin words that allude to a final, end times-kinda battle with yours truly, ol’ Cougarus Rex Immortalem, the real name of ol’ John Cougar, an immortal shapeshifter and god among these American fools? Ah, heck, I know exactly who wrote that dang letter, and it surely ain’t no “Robert S.” It’s that ol’ bullshitter Bob Seger, enemy of ol’ John Cougar and all the other immortal being he done went and slain over them centuries. 

Yes, it’s that Bob Seger. Why you think he put on a geetar and started singin’ all them songs? That’s a cover for him to get out on that road and try and try to hunt down ol’ John Cougar, a fellow Midwestern rock n’ roller (I am from a small town), but also his obsession in that he thinks he can kill me with some this n’ that made of the purest silver. Callin’ his band the Silver Bullet Band? That’s just tauntin’ ol’ John Cougar is what that is. He been stalkin’ me for I don’t know how long. And I aint’ gonna call for them teasin’ from some fancy letter writin’. I’m on to, Bob Seger. You a bad man and look like ol’ Kenny Rogers, who was a million men more than you ever could be. When ol’ John Cougar was on the skids and hungry for flesh, he’d toss some old chickens behind the dumpsters at that there Kenny Rogers Roasters in the Bloomington Mall, just for ol’ John Cougar until he could get back on his feet mauling animals again. Did y’all know he provided for yours truly in his will? On the next full moon, ol’ John Cougar gets to eat up all of Kenny Rogers organs in the Black Forest. Now that’s what I call gettin’ a leg up!

Today’s installment of “Advice from Circa-1982 ‘John Cougar’ is sponsored by John Cougar’s Squirt So Good, the best squirt gun on the market, and the only one bearing the name and endorsement of an ‘80s heartland rocker who is also an immortal shapeshifter. Remember our jingle: “Sometimes guns don’t shoot like they should, we make it…squirt so good!”

About the Author

Brian Boone

Brian Boone writes about music, pop culture, and other nonsense. He does more of this kind of thing on Twitter and wrote this swell book called "‪Rock Lists For Obsessive Music Connoisseurs, Zealots, and Junkies‬," which you totally want.

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