Timothy Tidwhistle Illustration by Kevin Townson

Want Some Advice? Deal With It…

Who is Timothy Tidwhistle?

Timothy Tidwhistle is an assumed name, but rest assured he is a very real person – a very real person named David Mahoney. Here, in his own words, is a bit more about the man behind The Paper’s advice column:

I have been here since god invented dirt. I have a degree in art history and a master’s in ceramics. Obviously, I have done tons of therapy. I also studied to be a therapist, until I realized I couldn’t go out of town whenever I wanted because that would cause abandonment issues with my clients. Therefore, I stopped doing that. Your job cannot interfere with your private life. And if it does, quit. You know, we’re not here that long. We only get a little time.

I have been married twice. If that doesn’t give you some insight, nothing does. I have two children and two grandchildren who I adore. I do think it’s easier if you only have two. If you have a big bunch, I don’t care what anybody says, it’s got to be hard to love that many people. There are bound to be some a-holes. There are a-holes in every family. If you have a family without any a-holes, you are blessed. Truly blessed. God gives us friends to make up for our relatives. Don’t forget that. But if you come from a fine, wonderful family – and there are a few of them, not a lot – you have been blessed more than the rest of us mortals. But so what? Have a good life.

I don’t think advice columns are meaningful. I just did this as a hoot! I have a problem: When I was young, I had filters. But after being in the military service, my filters were gone. Just gone. I think that’s part of the point of boot camp – it just takes everything away so that you’ll be submissive to orders. And after you get out of there, you don’t take orders from anyone ever again. It’s a freeing environment, in a way.

But I was quiet, shy, and scrawny. I was thin before it was fashionable. And then, when it was fashionable, I happened to put on weight. What a waste of a life in the stylistic world! I could have been Twiggy! Who is that English one who did all the cocaine? Kate Moss? However, I don’t like drugs. I do like booze, thank god. It’s a good thing if you know how to handle it.

If you can’t find humor every day and laugh, you’re wasting your time here. And you aren’t here but for a billionth of a second. If you think of all of the people that have been here, all the people that will come after us, all the people that might be on other planets, how many other freaks there are in the world – the best thing to do is to go with the flow. Remember, you’re not important. You are just a speck in the cosmos. Adiós.


Dearest Timothy,

Could you settle a debate my friend and I are having? Filing your nails in public: totally fine, OK if done quickly and discreetly and only to fix a potentially painful snag, or fully horrible disgusting behavior reserved for complete animals?

No, you don’t file your nails in public. I don’t even care if you snag one. You do not brush your teeth in public. You do not wipe your ass in public. You do not get your file out in public. Why don’t you just give yourself a pedicure at dinner? Just throw your foot up on the table and start filing and picking and trimming. If you don’t have clippers with you, just bite them off. Spit them on the table. Don’t even worry about putting them on the floor.

No, you do not do anything with your nails in public. They don’t shoe horses in restaurants, they don’t shoe horses in cars, and they don’t shoe horses in the office. You must be one hell of a big horse.


My mother-in-law is a dear, sweet woman. We generally get along well and I like being around her (lucky, I know!). However, here is my quandary: She wears clothes that are much too young for her. It’s like she never updated her style from her early 20s. She wears clothes that are too tight, too revealing, and far too short. I’m embarrassed for her! Is there any way to help her update her style, or should I just keep quiet?

Touchy, touchy subject. You’re just going to have to leave the old hussy alone. I mean, she obviously thinks that she is still a sexpot and that she is still sexually attractive to people when she’s probably not. It’s probably disgusting. There is nothing worse than an old woman who goes to the music festivals in the parks, drinks some beer, drinks some gin, and gets out there and does the hootchie cootchie. Your time is over. You’re supposed to be a lady, even if you weren’t when you were young. We’ll forgive you for your nasty past, but, for god’s sake, stop shopping at Forever 21. There is nothing worse. You are not a young girl!

Alas, there is nothing you, as the daughter-in-law, can do because it will just make everything worse. If she hasn’t changed by now, the old biddy is going to be buried in a miniskirt and a support bra with her belly showing. Ugh, she probably even colors her hair and wears enough makeup to make Liz Taylor in “Cleopatra” look like she’s going au naturel. Does she wear really high stacked heels like the Kardashians? You know, it used to be that only strippers wore those. Honey, hold your tongue. There’s nothing you can do.


There aren’t many people that I don’t like, but the ones that I don’t like I really don’t like. You know how this city is though – you still see people all the time, whether you want to or not. Does one need to be the bigger person and be kind when they see their nemesis out and about, or is it OK to give them the side-eye (or flat out ignore them) when you inevitably see them?

You have to rise above it. You might not like them, they might not like you, but in a social situation, you must give them the big, fake smile and say, “How are you doing?” And you must at least try to mean it. Otherwise, you’re not a social animal and we will need to have you taken in to a dog trainer to be socialized. When you’re not in their presence, you can say all the nasty things you want. Get it out of your system. But you have to realize that maybe they don’t like you much either. How many of those people that are friendly to you and say hello to you really don’t like you? I bet there are a few of them that would really like to put your ass in the grave. Remember that.


I don’t know if there is a polite way to convey my problem, so I am just going to go for it. I work in an office full of men and they are constantly leaving remnants of their bowel movements in the toilet. Constantly. First of all: What is wrong with people? And second of all: Is there any way for me to get them to wise up to their awful habits without having to look them in the eye and talk about their number twos?

This is such a scatological question! It’s disgusting. I hate it when people even talk about their bowel movements! It’s one of the few things that you should never, ever talk about. Ever. Does a bear ___ in the woods? Yes, he does. And it does it there so that no one has to see him. You might step on it if you walk through the woods like a dumbass, but you shouldn’t have to see it in a bathroom. Ever.

No. I would go on a rampage. Bring it up at the office meetings. Put a sign above the toilet: “Please flush the toilet after using. Or I will cripple you.”

The thing about it is, you cannot stand back and let these awful, ill-mannered, horrible people do that to you. It’s disgusting. And you are being a victim! No! Start a campaign! Walk up and down the office halls with a sign, “FLUSH YOUR SH–! OR I WILL CRIPPLE YOU!” Recruit people to your endeavor. There are other people who don’t want to see it, maybe even some of those men! It’s not OK. Now, if someone occasionally got so involved in selling stocks and bonds that once a year they forgot to flush the toilet, that would be one thing. But if you keep encountering it – no. Tell the office you’re going to have a DNA analysis run on a big turd and, when you find out who it is, you are going to file a complaint with human resources, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency. And you’re also going to – don’t forget – cripple them.

Deal with it.


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