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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 procrastinated my holiday shopping and am now stressed out. It is now after both Christmas AND Hanukkah, but I’m still paralyzed by my indecision and lack of ideas. I want to be a thoughtful and generous source of joy but instead I am consumed by self-loathing. Any motivating advice?


Mary Christmas


Dear Mary,

‘Twas the night before Christmas when the mood grew unpleasant. The room with a tree was lacking in presents. The stockings were hung with nothing inside. Maybe you’ll claim St. Nicholas has died? The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while you paced the house full of tinsel and dread.

Given your circumstances, you may be wondering if this is the year to give the gift of kind words. (“Having you in my life is the greatest blessing for which no material item could ever possibly compare.”)

Hogwash, Mary! People want things, not words! They don’t even want the words that come with the things! BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED? Blechhh.

Who said “the greatest gift is no gift at all”? The world’s loneliest miser.

Pause the self-loathing, get out your Mastercard and buy, buy, buy! This economy is not going to spend itself. A good gift will delight the recipient, but a great gift will surprise and delight the recipient. (A bad gift is a subscription to Good Housekeeping.)

Without further ado, here’s my Great Gift Giving Guide for 2020:

  1. Protective personal pod and flatulence container
  2. Long shoehorn so you can put on your shoes while standing on a ladder
  3. Currency from North Korea in case they end up winning
  4. Chia Pet of Sophia Petrillo from “The Golden Girls”
  5. 1500 ladybugs because they eat pests, and the future is female
  6. “The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire” VHS (it’s calming)
  7. Black lipstick to dissuade sailors from kissing you
  8. Bacon flavored soda for when you cannot find your dentures before breakfast
  9. “City of Angels” sequined pillow
  10. Ronald Reagan 1980 presidential campaign flag
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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