Tag Archives: phobia

I need some advanced economics advice about birds, bushes and squirrels. Can you help?

Stupid Advice people, I understand that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. But what should I do if I have two birds in my hand and there’s a squirrel in the bush? Please answer quickly as this is happening to me right now. I typed this on my phone with one hand and I’m very scared of squirrels.


This is a simple question of economics. The value of any given bird is based upon the limited number of available birds as a whole.The more birds there are, the less each bird is actually worth. If you have 2 birds in your hand, and there are none in the bush, then the birds’ value is going to rise infinitely. In a large scale economy, we would need to count the bushes and birds in the bushes but for our purposes here that’s irrelevant.

Now let’s talk about the squirrel. The squirrel is clearly a foreign currency. The bird price is based on the avian market and the squirrel price is based on the mammal market. This is where things get tricky, because one squirrel is actually worth about 15 birds when the market is down, like it is today.

So, to do the math, two birds in your hand with none in the bush means that the birds are infinitely valuable but since there is only one squirrel in the bush and that squirrel is not in anyone’s hand, the squirrel is worth infinity times 15, which is way higher than regular old infinity times 1.

That’s not the real question here. You’ve posed a question about economics, but there’s a deeper, more personal question that you haven’t come out and asked us. On the surface you have given us a question about avian currency and economics structures but what I think you really want to know is:

Why are you afraid of Squirrels?

Squirrels are the kindest and fluffiest animals on the planet coming in only second to bunnies. They are known for their mass storage strategies of legumes in trees and bushes. The tail of the squirrel is known as a sign of virility in more than 50 cultures. Basically, squirrels represent everything that is good about the world.

For you to be terrified of a squirrel tells me that you yourself might be, or are related to, a great evil. Based on this knowledge, and the fact that I happen to be a certified online black belt in battle church, I think that we should never meet, as I will be forced to exorcise you on the spot. That means I will douse you with holy water and beat your wet head in with a Bible until you accept squirrels into your heart.

My best advice to you is to avoid me, because no matter how much the birds in your hands are worth, I can and will perform a kung fu themed exorcism on you.

No need to thank me!


My four year old has a phobia of Christmas trees. What do I do? -Anon

Geoff: What do you do??? NOTHING! Count your lucky stars! Unless you’re Jewish or Muslim and you have to support some other waste-of-money gift event annually, you should cancel Christmas in your house and take a nice vacation in the Bahamas with all of that money you just saved.

In fact, I’m going to use your experience as advice for other parents. If you start while your kids are young, you can avoid ever having to deal with the mall on Christmas Eve because you forgot to get the new Sponge Crabs on a Tubby Turtle talking toy, or worrying that the drunk mall Santa is going to grant your kid the wish he never made.

Here’s the annual plan to freak your kid out of Christmas and double your yearly vacation fund:

Year 3: Apply a base coat of fear. Buy or make yourself a Santa-based jack-in-the-box. Make sure that as you turn it you are humming Christmas tunes at half their normal speed to make them more creepy. When Santa/jack pops out, make sure you show complete fear, as kids learn to react by watching how you react. Also, make a Santa puppet that has a small tack in its mouth, and whenever it comes out, make a sad face and prick the child. Don’t make him bleed, you don’t want to go to jail, but do it just hard enough to make him cry a little.

Year 4: Solidify the foundation. Things are ramping up now. The little squirt is starting to think and talk coherently which means that he’s thinking and talking to other kids as well. It’s all cute, but you have to make sure you have a solid foundation of Santa-hating laid out over this year or you could lose control of the situation.

This is the year you start using serious psychological warfare on the little consumer. Sometime in August, buy a Christmas-style tree. Don’t call it that, just call it a “tree for the patio.” In the middle of the night sneak it into the 4-year-old’s room and shake it violently while doing your best T-rex/Michael Jackson combination impersonation. Make sure he doesn’t actually see you. Do this until November and then get rid of the tree.

Year 5: Seal the deal. This is the final year you should have to worry about this. Once you get through this year the phobia should be so set in that you’ll never have to stress about Christmas again.

For the first couple of months, pepper conversations with talk about Santa losing his mind and stalking young children until he finally eats them. Make sure the little kid hears you but doesn’t know you’re talking to him. Then, sometime in the May/June time frame, start leaving shreds of red cloth on his door hinges and window sill. Also, leave some unexplained long white hair near his bed. Buy a Santa costume and walk by his slightly unopened door through the night as he sleeps.

As you go into Fall, start talking about how there are missing children in the neighborhood and that Santa seemed to be involved somehow. Then, while the kid is at school, install a strobe light and a fog machine in his closet. Mount the creepiest Santa doll you can find on top of a catapult aimed right at his bed. (ProTip: Go to Etsy if you can’t find a creepy enough Santa.)

As he falls asleep, turn on the smoke. The smoke will seep out of the closet and he’ll notice. Then, flash the strobe so he gets flashes of creepy Santa. He’ll be screaming at this point, but it’s not the time to back down. In for an inch, in for a mile. Turn the strobe on constant flash and fire the Creepy Santa Catapult right at his head. While he’s freaking out run in to the room a grab the Santa so he has no tangible evidence of the deception.

There you have it! How to never worry about Christmas again…

Also, why I’m legally restricted from having kids.