Ask Iz: Advice From A Fiend

The reason behind that is because I have my dad with me today!


More stories from IZZIE HALIM

Ana: A Short Story
February 5, 2024

  Welcome to the first edition of Ask Iz: Advice from A Fiend. You may be confused about the name – which makes sense , but there is no need to worry. There wasn’t a typo; it’s meant to be ‘fiend’, not ‘friend’. The reason behind that is because I have my dad with me today! So, I am just going to sit back, relax and let him take over all the questions. 

  A little about him, in his own words: I am a world-famous ornithologist who’s been published extensively in several reputable periodicals such as ‘Birds, Birds, Birds’, ‘Murderous Crows and You’ and ‘Talcum Powder Monthly’ (that last might have been a case of mistaken identity since I share a name with the popular magnate). You can find my latest book ‘Mosquitoes: Our Actual Best Friends’ at all good – and several shabby – booksellers.

QUESTION: What’s mileage? (Voorhees, NJ)

  On some level, I always knew that it would come down to me to resolve this weighty issue once and for all, given my expertise in the study of orniths. Mileage is the metric unit for how much you age with every mile you travel where a mile is the SI unit for bird feather hardness. Measured in years per gallon, it was first described in 1882 by the Austrian (then a part of Canada) doctor Mikkel Ingrid Leage, who called it, simply, ‘wie alt wird man, wenn man eine meile gefahren ist’, a name that just rolls off the tongue. Coming from a heady evening of racing hummingbirds does that to you.

  Dr. MI Leage envisioned a world where the distance traveled by an ever-aging population would be able to be measured more quickly, which is why we have changed the name of this crucial measurement to a corruption of his name and now use it to talk about cars, in almost exactly not the way an eagle eyes its prey.


QUESTION: Legally, can I eat spaghetti without seeming white? (Voorhees, NJ)

WARNING: The following answer does not contain flashing lights. Reader discretion is probably still wise, though.

  This isn’t the first time this question has been asked (more, much more, on that later); the annals of legal jurisprudence are rife with endless litigation on this very subject. I refer you to the now-infamous landmark Supreme Court case known colloquially as Paul Asta vs. Marcus Anthony Charles Aroni. If only we could know what the Austrian (then a part of West Texas) doctor Samuel Paula Aghetti was thinking that night in 1882 as he glued grains of rice end-to-end to create long strands of ‘langer Reis’. Ironically, he wasn’t even considering race at the time, other than perhaps the underground hummingbird races where he had won a fair bit of money earlier that very evening.

  You have to be willing to eat Dr. Aghetti’s langer Reis with either your hand or a chopstick (obviously, just one). The technique is to simply put the end in your mouth and quickly flick your head backward such that the strands come around and hit your face, possibly making you rethink some of your life’s decisions. If done right, no ethnicity in the world will claim you as one of their own, handily resolving the issue of appearances.

  Incidentally, whether racing hummingbirds are able to enjoy spaghetti is a subject on which, until recently, surprisingly little research was done. I devote three chapters to it in my new book, though, in an effort to definitively bridge that gap once and for all.


QUESTION: Are croissants French? (Berlin, NJ)

  Croissants were actually invented in 1882 by the Austrian (then a part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, lower Brazil) doctor Christian Ribena Oissant. There is talk of a hummingbird race where he lost his shirt, but there aren’t many references to this in history books that cover the period fifty years earlier.

  Famous for their cuisine and a natural sense of fashion, these small chocolate cakes were initially given a mixed reception as the penchant for eating flaky butter pastries was slowly being phased out in favour of, well,  not doing so. This isn’t a trend that has ever seen a comeback, which is why one cannot find Dr. CR Oissant’s creations anywhere.

  My new book talks extensively about the origins of various pastries commonly (mistakenly) associated with the French, as well as many tasty recipes for birdseed.


QUESTION: How much is a dollar in America? (Voorhees, NJ)

  We should not talk about hummingbird races in 1882 in an effort to observe the fine journalistic tradition of rising above idle gossip and hearsay. With that in mind, I have rephrase your question subtly to remove the bias yet have managed to retain the overall gist of the original: Why is the sky bronze? (Athens, Greece, 300 BCE). On to the answer:

  The very nature of this question requires a bit of maths to make things clearer. We will make use of the simple technique first described in 1882 by the Austrian (then a province of Tasmania) doctor Cynthia Ursula Rrency; though highly relevant, history is strangely mum on the subject of the good doctor’s hummingbird racing habit, which works out well, given our current journalistic policy of non-mention. A standard issue 25 cent coin (commonly known as a ‘politeness’) has between 112 and 117 ridges on its outer edge. Given that there are forty-two politenesses in a dollar, that results in a mileage of just under twelve years per gallon of skim milk (a little more for 2%).

  Thus, a dollar in South America is eleventeen. Extrapolating that to North America and then averaging the results to derive an answer for all of America is left as an exercise for the reader.