Today, I was looking through my old, old archives, searching for a picture I needed. And suddenly I was down the rabbit hole of 2001-2007. First of all, I think I have gotten dumber as I've aged, because some of the things I wrote back then were pretty good. And secondly, I came across something I had forgotten about: The Lin Chao Motherly Advice Column. This was basically a thing where I answered questions people would write in, using the voice of my very frank, very fat-phobic mother-in-law. I also wrote it in her accent, using a literary device known as Chinglish.

So basically I was racist against my own family. I know! I hang my head in shame. But y'all, some of the letters and responses were pretty funny. I've selected three for you to read, enjoy, and then judge me by.


"Thankful for Thank Yous" writes:

Dear Lin Chao,

When someone gives you a thank you gift, do you have to send a thank you note for the thank you gift? It's kind of like thanking the thanks, but I don't want to be rude.


Dear TfTY,

What? No! That is craziest thing I ever hear. So what if you send thank you for thank you? Then other person feel obligated to send thank you for thank you for thank you. Then you involved in crazy etiquette cycle, and you never have a peaceful moment again. Then you become depressed, probably get diagnose with Seasonal Affective Disorder, and have to sit under Gro-Lamp, eating ice cream and crying. See where over-worry about etiquette get you? Fat and sad. Too many manners a dangerous thing.


Lin Chao


Stephanie writes:

Dear Lin Chao,

I stupidly listened to Pamie and AB's advice and tried the Oxygen yoga show "Inhale." Yes, AB did say that it was a little strenuous, but I don't think either of them prepared their readers for the sheer workout that hour of yoga gives you. My ribs hurt. My legs hurt. My pinky toes hurt. The pain is making me learn about every SINGLE muscle in my back. Because they all hurt. What can I do to stop the pain? I'm addicted to this damn show now.

Dear Stephanie,

Why you want to stop pain? You think life not about pain? I tell you something about pain -- it hurt. But how you ever expect to be rich or thin or successful (like me) if everything easy? I say you need to embrace so-called "pain"... and maybe take a little muscle relaxer if you not sleeping at night. Nobody say you have to tell about that.

Pain is good. Pain make you better person. Pain make Steve Ross laugh at you a little, but only out of making fun. No more whining: Pain make you happier in long run. Say it to self. Learn it, live it, love it. Maybe one day it love you back.


Lin Chao


Yvonne writes:

Dear Lin Chao, I have a boyfriend I have been living with for two years. We split rent and bills 50/50. Do you think that's right? Shouldn't he pay for everything? And what happens when we're married? Am I still supposed to pay for half of everything? Am I not being a modern-day provide-for-yourself woman, and if I need to provide for myself, why not just be single?

Dear Yvonne, I don't know if you trying to make joke or not, but Lin Chao worry you might have mental handicap. Maybe you having trouble with grand mal seizure, or you eating too many potato chip and it affecting mental capacity?

Why you say these thing? You supposed to be with boyfriend because you LOVE him. If you not love him or need him, get out fast.

Why should he take care of you if you have attitude like that? And if he take care of you, you still probably never think it enough. Even if he take care of you, you just complain, because you spoiled!

Nobody ever say man have to take care of you and pay for every little thing. I buy Mr. Chao fancy watch the other day, and he so happy he go out and buy ME watch! See how that work? So be happy. Or be single. Or be modern-day-grow-up, which mean you quit compaining about having to pull own weight. It's no burden, only your choice.

I only hurt because I love. I do.

-Lin Chao

Can we just all agree that, at times, Lin Chao was pretty wise? And then let us never speak of this again.

PS. If you ever tell her about this, we are FINISHED.

AuthorAB Chao
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