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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 am serving a life sentence with three cereal-addicted deviants who spent the morning walloping each other with couch cushions and screaming in shared psychosis that the living room is lava. I want to divorce my children. Please help.

—Longing For Social Distance


Dear Longing,

Children are a blessing and a curse. They’re a blessing in that if they stay alive, stay in school, stay out of prison, get a job, avoid scandal, and aren’t insufferable asshats, they may buy you yarn once you’re impounded in an assisted living facility. Otherwise, they’re a curse.

Raising nine children was the greatest accomplishment of my life, second only to the 1976 Montreal Olympics where I worked as a popcorn girl and caught an errant javelin before it shish kebabed John Glenn.

I’m thankful that evolution designed children to be adorable during their most vulnerable years because I never stopped cherishing them despite the persistent shrieking and defecation. The fun continued when my kids became sentient, and I became both a prison guard and a hostage negotiator (as well as a spigot of unconditional love).

They say it takes a village to raise a child, not because there are so many helping hands, but because there are so many prying eyes who will snitch on you for leaving your babes at the UPS Store.

You’re not alone in your frustration. The mixed emotions of parenthood form an unbroken daisy chain connecting you to the earliest parent who walked away from the opportunity of feeding their petulant child to a pack of saber-toothed weasels.

Next time you catch yourself daydreaming about the peaceful tranquility of a solitary prison cell, take a deep breath, remember you are the thankless hero in your kids’ lives, and try to have fun cleaning up that lava.

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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