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ASK MAX

June 1, 2006 Edition

Dear Max,

Would you like to meet Bagel? Your mom thinks that he is cute!

Alan

Dear Alan,

Finally, someone who speaks my language! Who wouldn’t think a bagel was cute? Yes, I want to meet bagel. Of *course* I want to meet bagel. I also would be interested in meeting croissant, muffin, doughnut, brioche and any other bread products. Krispy Kreme? Twinkie? Max says “Just say no to Atkins and bring on the carbs!”

Now, where and when can this meeting take place? Will you be at my mom’s book signing in Los Angeles? It’s this Thursday, June 8, 7:30 PM at the Barnes and Noble in Santa Monica. I can’t guarantee that I will be there because someone needs to hold down the fort while she goes gallivanting all over the country, but if you bring food I will ask my mom to make sure she gives it to me. A t-bone steak is also a welcome gesture. I’m just saying.

Dear Max:

How do you tell a co-worker that he/she has food in either their teeth or on their face so as not to make them feel too self-conscious?

Wipe your face man

Dear Wipe Your Face, Man:

Such a confounding conundrum! On the one hand, you want to respect that person’s privacy and not embarrass the co-worker in front of others. On the other, you feel strangely attracted to that food. I find myself wondering, how can I get that morsel, however small, to fall on the floor, where I have better access to it (let’s just say I’m a little vertically challenged). In matters of manners, I don’t stand on ceremony too much. Heck, you’re asking this of someone who jams his snout in strangers’ butts whenever he gets the chance … so we dogs are dubious advisers when it comes to etiquette.

Still, I find it’s best to reflect a little on how *you* would want to be treated in a similar circumstance. Would you want to walk around oblivious to the fact that you’re accessorizing the corner of your mouth with a streak of dried mustard or mayo? What if you had an important meeting, a job interview, another futile attempt to get that hot guy/girl from human resources to notice you? I think any awkwardness will quickly give way to appreciation. Then it comes down to delivery. “Yo, you’ve got some s*** on your face” is never good form; but a smiling “Excuse me – you have a little something at the corner of your mouth” can save the day, and perhaps launch a career, a first date, or at least a less humiliating rejection. Of course, there’s always the risk that the ketchup you spot on your boss’ cheek may be an illicit lipstick smear. But it’s all right – you hated that job anyway. And in all your new-found free time, you can read my Mom’s new book, Stupid and Contagious, available now through amazon.com (click here), bn.com, and fine booksellers everywhere. (I may not know much etiquette, but I know who’s buying the kibble around here.)

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