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The Entirely Naked Truth

Welcome to the Mailbag on Monday (on Tuesday), where we are just putting the finishes touches on our new book, The Other, Even Better Secret.

Our book confirms the premise of the runaway bestseller The Secret – that you can achieve most of your fond wishes and heartfelt desires simply by politely asking the Universe to give you what you want. Believe me – I know this first hand. How do you think Peter MacKay wound up falling into that deep pit and landing on top of Richard Gere, Fran Drescher and everyone who’s ever bought a Josh Groban CD?

But this new book also reveals the other secret – that the Universe is tuned to respond not only to your needs and desires, but also to your musical requests. Plus: it can pick up your take-out food and, if you ask nicely, stand in line for you at Starbucks. The Other, Even Better Secret: the perfect gift for anyone who bought The Secret but was a little depressed that there was nothing in there about the Universe making their bed for them.

Onto the questions. You can submit queries at scott.feschuk@macleans.rogers.com or through the Sympatico email link above.

Dear Scott: Maybe this is old news to you, but I just found out that Osama bin Laden has a big crush on Whitney Houston – to the point that a few years back he plotted to kill Bobby Brown and move in on his action. And yet Bobby Brown remains alive! Could it be that Bobby Brown and Bobby Brown alone holds the key to outsmarting and triumphing over the terrorists? – C.E., Edmonton

Unless the key is being impoverished and constantly baked, probably not. Besides, the U.S. State Department has gone on record as saying the whole rumour about Osama wanting to make it with Whitney is utterly baseless. I know it’s weird but we’re just going to have to get used to the fact that bin Laden simply wants to kill Bobby Brown for the same reasons we all do.

Dear Scott: OK I admit it – I actually watch the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. I feel like I’m the only one. Sometimes I expect her to call me by name, as in, “President Bush vetoed the crime bill in the Oval Office today, Gary.” But I swear Katie is good at her job and it’s a good newscast. Seriously! What can she do to get increase her ratings? – G.H., Hamilton, Ont.

• Let moustache grow in – begin calling self “Walter.”

• Let crazy grow in – begin calling self “Dan.”

• Maybe get that Rosie O’Donnell on there to start telling them Iraqis what’s what.

• Buy two million TVs – tune them all to self.

• Work in a steamy subplot about about hot doctors and nurses making out.

• Every time she says “White House,” one article of clothing comes off.

• Goodbye video, hello puppets!

Dear Scott: Now that we have solved all the ‘could cause an election’ issues, we have the Cadman thingy. If the insurance industry was willing to offer a large policy on a very sick Mr. Cadman, what would they offer me? Can I get in on that action? I’m kinda old (a teenager when the Leafs last won the Stanley Cup) but I don’t drink or smoke or have fun (not since the Leafs last won the Stanley Cup anyway). I’ve never been on Survivor and I don’t watch the Idol shows, so my sanity is not completely up for grabs, unless you ask my wife. And besides, if the good die young, I ‘coulda’ been a politician and live forever. – R.W., Calgary

Alas, you overlook one crucial element: the key to attracting an offer of sweet, sweet candy from the Conservative party is having something that Stephen Harper wants. Chuck Cadman had a vote in the House of Commons. Stephen Harper wanted that vote. So you’ve got to reflect for a moment and try to figure out what you have that Stephen Harper might want, like maybe some charisma or a trim waistline.

Dear Scott: I need your help. My kids love the soundtrack to Hairspray. They listen to it all the time without any thought to the trauma they are inflicting on people like me. Against my will, I constantly find myself singing the words to Good Morning Baltimore. Please please please make it go away! – P.M., Waterloo, Ont.

This sounds serious. OK, here’s what you need to do. It’s going to sound radical but, clearly, desperate measures are required. Go to this YouTube link. Press play. Then sit back and watch as Janet Jackson attempts to teach a simple dance step to… Larry King. Try getting that out of your head: I don’t know that there’s been anything more bizarrely fascinating put to video since the screen debut of Andy Rooney’s eyebrows.

Scotty: Have you heard about this German company [the company’s name is OssiUrlaub] that’s offering a flight for nudists only this summer? Maybe there’s something wrong with me but instead of thinking about how maybe there will be some really hot naked people on board, I instead think about how awful it would be to be one of the people on the very next flight, after the nudists get off, and leave God-only-knows-what behind on the leather upholstery. – C.A., parts unknown

First of all: eww.

Second, I say it’s about time nudists caught a break. They’re desperate to attract the young folk to the ways of nudism, and maybe the opportunity to peel it off at 35,000 feet will do the trick. Think I’m exaggerating the problem? The American Association for Nude Recreation – which a) represents clubs and resorts with more than 50,000 members, none of whom ever have a pen on them, and b) actually exists – estimates that more than 90% of American nudists are older than 35.

For instance, a quick Google search reveals that at the Solair Recreation League, a nudist camp in northeastern Connecticut, the median age among members is 55. The median reaction among visitors is “desperately averting one’s eyes.” The median exclamation heard on the beach is, “Jesus, Walter, give us a little warning before you bend over like that.”

Solair is trying to revive its fortunes by altering its fee schedule. A yearly membership is $500 for people older than 40, $300 for people younger than 40, $150 for college students and zero dollars for anyone whose nudity doesn’t call to mind the image of distressed leather or the paintings of Salvador Dali.

A news article noted that, “No one is quite sure why nudity, at least the organized version promoted by the AANR and similar groups, is such a tough sell for younger people.” Actually, I have a few theories on that:

1. Thanks to the Internet, young people can now, at the click of a button, get their fill of grandmother-based crotch.

2. Five hundred dollars for a membership?! When you can take off your clothes for free down at Old Navy and get a complimentary lunch in jail?

3. Chubby dudes not in any way attired.

For these reasons, and many others related to unslightly thigh rashes, official nudism seems destined to remain a tough sell. But that doesn’t mean the sick, hippie freaks are going to give up. “I hope to get the word
out to younger people that hey, it is OK, and here’s a safe place to be, a very accepting place,” one top nudist said. “Unlike any other place in life, people actually look at you when they talk to you.” Anything to avoid making eye contact with… that.