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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 have a friend, let’s call her “Becky” because that’s her name, who routinely FaceTimes to ask if I can tell if she’s gaining weight. I’m an honest person, but I don’t know how to tell “Becky” that it’s obvious she has gained the ‘Quarantine Fifteen.’

—Nervously Weighting



Dear Nervously,

You are not responsible for informing Becky that her waistband is spreading faster than COVID-19 in Branson, Missouri. It’s not your job to confirm that quarantine has both flattened the curve and fattened her curves. Becky doesn’t need your validation to realize she no longer fits into her face mask.

Eating is a normal response to stress and to avoid overdoing it, Becky needs the support of a human friend (rather than banana bread).

I can empathize with her stress. I’m an at-risk demographic due to my age and the lung I lost during a high stakes poker game back when Las Vegas wasn’t run by a box of liberal cream puffs. As such, I’ve been exploring a few quarantine stressbusters you can suggest to Becky as an alternative to slurping Crisco:

1. Canning. 

Flip botulism the middle finger by preserving jars of your favorite fruits and vegetables for your grandchildren to throw out after you die.

2. Watching Yoga. 

My favorite YouTube yogis are well-groomed Latin men, speaking to me respectfully as they contort themselves. Worth it.

3. Organizing Protests. 

Create a Facebook group called “Liberate Omaha” (you can liberate any American city). The description should read: “Fight the quarantine. Bring flags for freedom!” Don’t forget to set the location to a government building with steps and the date to next Tuesday morning. It’s a wonderful way to shake the snow globe from the comfort of your home.

Next time Becky calls to ask if her face still fits on your screen, respond by complimenting her shimmering complexion and ask what she’s doing to support both her mental and physical health. That’ll certainly be a more supportive response than, “Ack! A talking walrus!”

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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