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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:

Before the coronavirus crisis, I sold scintillating marketing software. I’m now stuck at home with time to focus on my true passion, soap carving. Yet, after weeks of lockdown and nearly three years of piddling indoors, I’ve hardly picked up my whittling knife. Am I squandering an opportunity to take soap carving to the next level?

—Soapless in Seattle

Dear Soapless,

Look outside. Do you see the virus? Of course not, and that’s spooky. COVID-19 is a microscopic assassin leaping from nostril to mouth tearing up lungs with its pneumonunchucks. Coronavirus reaffirms that ninjas are not just imaginary creatures in romance novels.

Meanwhile, you’re curled up on the floor clutching a bar of soap wondering why you can’t muster the forearm strength to reveal the blooming azalea within. Life is full of distractions and right now there’s a big one gyrating its purulent butt cheeks against your window.

Like many of my neighbors in the Whispering Oaks retirement community, the soap carver’s journey begins with a single stroke. For the next week, set aside five minutes every day to carve soap. Once you feel that waxy stone between your hands, you’ll likely slip into the familiar sudsy flow which first seduced you into this bizarre hobby.

Or not. But at least you’ll log five minutes of meaningful progress which is a step above most of America’s current workforce.

Be well and save a bar for your hands.

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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