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Pythia Defool’s advice column, “Ask Roger,” was a mainstay in the Chattanooga Tribune from 1976-1983. It was later renamed “Ask Pythia” following the landmark Supreme Court Case, Lady v. Florida, which granted women the right to have their names appear in print. Dear Pythia is a revival of her classic advice column and is composed in beautiful downtown Tampa Bay. For advice, email

Dear Pythia:

I need to stock up for quarantine but don’t want to contract the Coronavirus from a fellow shopper. What can I do to ensure people keep their distance while I’m buying food and paper bags (in lieu of toilet paper)?

— Scared Shopless

Dear Scared,

My second husband, Harold, was an equestrian proctologist. When Harry would come home from the horsepital he smelled like he’d had his hands up a Clydesdale’s ass, which was usually the case. Needless to say, I know a thing or two about social distancing.

If other shoppers aren’t giving you the space you need to avoid the fastest spreading virus since R. Kelly’s college tour, then try deploying some of these social distancing tricks:

  1. Flatulence. Stench is one of the strongest dispersion tactics at our disposal. What does a skunk feel like? Science doesn’t know because they’re so damn stinky. Same goes for Sulphur Anchovies. Never heard of them? Now you know why. Fart openly and without mercy.
  2. Windmilling. Watch out Jane Fonda! The newest exercise trend to hit Trader Joe’s is windmilling your arms like a used car salesman’s inflatable giant. Be the windmill to Coronavirus’ Don Quixote. And if that doesn’t work, pepper spray is your Sancho Panza.
  3. Pepper Spray. Immobilize one bag-boy and you’ll be flying solo on the International Personal Space Station.
  4. Spastic Outbursts. Create profound fear (and personal space) by screaming expansively at the frozen strawberries, “YOU’LL NEVER FIND MY GRAVE, MARGERY!”
  5. Free Hugs. You can’t be threatened if you are the threat. For this DIY project you’ll need an 18″ x 24″ piece of cardboard, a Sharpie, and the commitment to proclaim with open arms, “Take hugs, not drugs!”

Good luck and remember that even when an invisible menace isn’t bearing down upon us, you still deserve some personal space.

Dear Pythia

Pythia Defool was conceived during the Dust Bowl and now lives in the Whispering Oaks retirement community just west of Memorial Park Cemetery in Tampa Bay. She’s excited to contribute to The Prompt.

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