Each week, or whenever he emerges from his impenetrable, underground stone tomb, 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, draws from his prodigious life experience to help our readers solve their problems.

Dear John Cougar:

My wife says I spend too much time playing video games. She’s probably right. How would I go about cutting back?

Jack B., San Francisco

Back before them fancy robot games on the tee-vee box, everybody went down to the pool hall in the small down what they lived in (I am from a small town) and played them pinball things. I tell you what, ol’ John Cougar misses them days. Groovin’ was groovin’ and pinball meant everything. One day ol’ John Cougar had a high score goin’ on some pinball game machine with pictures of magical elves and trolls and whatnot when suddenly a dang ol’ rat runs up and what bites me on the foot. It smarted real good and I looked down and saw that this ain’t no normal pool hall rat — it was one of them wizard rats you find in small towns a lot. (You could tell because he had on a little tiny ol’ wizard robe and a pointy little wizard hat, rat size.) 

Before I knew it, ol’ John Cougar was shrunk down to the size of a wizard rat then turned into a rat! Shoot, man. I fell into that dang pinball game and had to work my way out of it, defeatin’ all of them pinball elves and trolls what came to life in a series of riddle fights. Ol’ John Cougar got out of course, and when I did, I tell you what I did, I found that wizard rat and bit his neck with my tiny rat fangs and killed it what good. Turned back into a human-type man and made a little tincture out of that wizard rat blood and I keep a vial of it in the vault in my underground stone tomb which ain’t even a little bit penetrable. I dip all my cigarettes in that tincture, so from then on I’ve been building my self up a tolerance to them wizard rats what can never curse ol’ John Cougar again! 

If’n yer struggling to defeat this wizard what is metaphorical, this wizard of the electronic Atari gadget, go outside and hunt yourself a rat. Keeps ya busy, get some exercise, and when yer done, you gonna have a rat, and that ain’t nothin’. (But if it’s wearin’ a tiny ol’ jeans jacket with no shirt on underneath and it’s smokin’ a tiny little rat size cigarette or two, don’t be tryin’ to kill it now, cause that’s just Ol’ John Cougar in rat form on some kind of quest y’all don’t need to know about.

Dear John Cougar:

I’ve been with my girlfriend for about a year. We’re very happy together, and I’m planning to ask her to marry me. The only problem is that her parents don’t approve of me, and have threatened to break off contact with her if she keeps dating me. I don’t want her to have to choose. What should I do?

David L., Chicago

Parents not approvin’ none of the tender love between a young-man-type fella and his lady? Shoot, that’s what ”Jack and Diane” is all about. And ”Hurts So Good,” cause hey, sometimes love don’t feel like it should and it hurts so bad is what is does. Anyway, some time ago, ol’ John Cougar can’t remember so good if it was 1975 or 435 or in that ol’ period before what we tracked time, but I was courtin’ a pretty young thing, but she was a dang ol’ mortal while ol’ John Cougar is of course an immortal shapeshifting bein’ of inscrutable origin and purpose. Well, her parents, fearin’ that I was the devil hisself, wouldn’t let us be together and my heart done broke and her heart done broke and I can’t believe she’d been dead now for 40 or sixteen hunnerd or sisty-five thousand years.   

What ol’ John Cougar is tryin’ to say is that love ain’t bad and life is too short — yours, hers, or boths, to not enjoy getting all up on each other in the backseat of a car or whatnot like in ”Jack and Diane.” So you get with her, and you tell her folks what’s what, and that you love her and that you gon’ treat her right, and then you just make sure you do treat her right. 

If’n you want ol John Cougar to help out, I can turn myself into a animal what is the symbol of love, like an owl, and do somethin’ to change their minds, like fly into their bedroom at night and make the radio play the most romancingest song of all time, ”I Need a Lover.” Them iron concrete walls of their hearts gonna be crumblin’ down, I tell you what. If’n you want me to help in this here fashion, leave a carton of smokes by The Old Tree and ol’ John Cougar will take it from there.

Dear John Cougar:

You’ve got to help me, Cougarus Rex Immortalem! I mean, ”John Cougar.” I have houseguests that just won’t leave! How do I politely ask them to move along without offending them, because at this rate, they’re going to be here until Bellum Terminus!

—Robert S., somewhere in the Michigan Mists

Ah hell, I know that’s you, Bob Seger. Throwin’ around them Latin words and such, and tryin’ to threaten ol’ John Cougar. You ain’t never gonna defeat me, let alone find me. Not you nor your silver bullet bandolier! I ain’t no monster, and you don’t need to be no monster hunter. Stick to singin’ them songs about drive-in movie thee-ate-urs and let ol’ John Cougar be hisself, lest you find your next night move is one into the dark abyss of oblivion.


Today’s installment of ”Advice from Circa-1982 John Cougar’ is sponsored by Centrum Silver For Non-Shapeshifting Werepeople Vitamins, the most complete nutritional supplement available for older humans who are mortal and cannot transform into other animals at will. Remember our jingle: ”Now go fight maturity and don’t let maturity win!”

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