Dr. Know: October 2013

Casino locks, on-the-job costumes, & off-limit topics

Horseshoe Casino is open 24 hours a day, right? I say there are no locks on the casino doors because it never closes. But this guy I know says they have to have locks on the doors because, you know, it’s some kind of law. So do the casino doors have locks or not?
—Waiting to Wager

Dear Waiting:
Wait to wager no longer. Bet the farm. The family business. Your oldest child. Your baby’s shoes. Your bottom dollar. Your soul. The ranch. A million. You win. Big. The bright (she regularly reads this important civic magazine feature) young Horseshoe employee in charge of fielding annoying questions from the potentially dangerous public says that there are, in fact, no locks on the public access doors, explaining helpfully that, as you thought, being open without interruption until the end of time pretty much obviates the need for them. The Doctor, who has been in the unfortunate position of pricing out public access doors, knows that big-time locks are crushingly expensive and figures that Horseshoe management saved enough
on locks to buy that eye-popping sign on Gilbert Avenue.
And that guy you know? I know him, too. He always thinks there’s some kind of law about everything. He’s such a putz.

To “build team spirit,” our manager encourages us to dress thematically for special occasions (green sweaters for St. Patrick’s Day, Reds jerseys on Opening Day, that sort of thing). My young colleagues seem to enjoy this, but I’m a 60-year-old woman and I do not. To avoid this, I worked from home on Jimmy Buffet Tropical Shirt Friday and called in sick during Oktoberfest Lederhosen Afternoon. But Halloween is coming, and I can’t escape detection when everyone else is masquerading. How to handle the local fascination with on-the-job costuming?
—Buttoned-up and Beaten Down

Dear B and B:
Several ways to go here. The Doctor, who is every bit as revolted by morale-boosting and team-spirit-building as you, will hold your hand every step of the way.

  1. You can easily hide behind religion. The Doctor has a pious kinswoman who considers Halloween to be sacrilege, and she is far from alone in this God-fearing metropolis. When asked why you are not going along with the crowd, you simply stiffen your back, narrow your eyelids, swallow your lips, and say something along the lines of “I do not wish to be struck by divine lightning.”
  2. Dig into your wardrobe for your worst fashion error from 10 or so years ago. Put on the whole outfit (the Doctor is guessing there is a lot of electric blue involved), trowel on a dangerous amount of stage makeup, and when asked, explain that you have costumed yourself as a local news anchorperson.
  3. Wear the most expensive business getup you’ve got. Stick an old Girl Scout pin or other mysterious ornament in your lapel. Explain, when asked, that you are dressed as a Destroyer of Economies. Your brighter associates will agree that you have successfully impersonated a banker and immediately regret springing for that surprisingly costly Wicked Witch of the West or Batman costume.

When we moved in last summer, the folks next door invited us for a cookout to meet the neighbors. Struggling to make conversation with a patio full of unfamiliar faces, my husband mentioned a local issue he’d been reading about in the morning’s news: the streetcar. Chaos ensued as rancorous residents sniped at one another. Now we’re afraid to talk about anything in the company of strangers. Help!
—I’m New Here Myself

Dear New:
The Doctor is guessing that you are living somewhere within the Cincinnati city limits, as the antipathy to the streetcar in the vinyl siding belt is so uniform and intense that there would have been no dissension. Your clueless husband would have resembled a kebab within nanoseconds, pierced by every available BBQ skewer. Nor is it likely that you have moved into Westwood or Mt. Washington, both of which style themselves as closely as possible on the surrounding townships. So are you otherwise enjoying Clifton? We suggest sticking to safe and satisfying subjects such as your children’s SAT scores—unless they are not safe and satisfying, in which case you should talk about how sad it is that the city has not pledged to spend whatever it takes to put a Trader Joe’s on Ludlow.

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