In our increasingly complex world, we need someone to give us practical advice. 

Dear Mr. Fix-It:

My computer completely crashed. I lost three full-length novels and two haikus. Decades of writing down the drain. Is there any way I can recover my masterpieces? Signed, Desperate.

Dear Desperate:

I worked in IT for 30 years and there’s one surefire way to solve every computer problem. First, locate your power button. Now, turn your computer off. This will reboot your computer. OK, count to ten Mississippi and re-start your computer. Voila! All of your writing is now restored, including the two haikus.


Dear Mr. Fix-It:

My “check engine” light is on and I need to turn it off so I can pass my vehicle emission test. I’m worried that there might be some kind of safety problem, or that my car is polluting the environment. Should I take it to a mechanic? Signed, Clunker Owner.

Dear Clunker Owner:

Are you crazy? Do you have any idea how much car repairs cost? Here is the best way to solve your problem. Locate your car’s power source. In most cases it’s the battery. Disconnect the battery. This will reboot your car’s computer. Count to ten Mississippi and reconnect it. When you start your car, the check engine light will be off. Now, drive immediately to the nearest testing station before it goes back on. After you pass, don’t forget to re-set all your radio stations.


Dear Mr. Fix-It:

My wife is deeply devoted to me, which is perfectly understandable. But it gets embarrassing sometimes the way she gushes about me in public — especially is she’s had a glass of red wine. Do you have any suggestions? It’s not like I can stop being who I am. Signed, Mr. Wonderful.

Dear Mr. Wonderful:

This can be a serious problem, particularly at parties. I recommend you locate your wife’s power source — in her case it’s a glass of red wine. Now, substitute a glass of sparkling water. This will reboot your wife’s emotions. She will still gaze at you adoringly but the gushing should stop.


Dear Mr. Fix-It:

My 2-year-old son, Warren, is out of control. I took him for ice cream yesterday and he was sitting quietly eating his vanilla kiddie-cone. I looked at my phone for one second and suddenly he’s behind the counter, waiting on customers. He is such a handful! Signed, Frazzled.

Dear Frazzled:

It sounds like Warren may be going through his “terrible two” stage. I recommend you locate his power source — in his case vanilla ice cream. Remove the kiddie cone and substitute a sedative, like dry toast. When he gets up from his nap, his brain will be completely rebooted. From now on, he will sit quietly in restaurants, coloring his kid’s menu, or learning his shapes and colors. And I guarantee he won’t work behind the counter at an ice cream parlor until he’s 16.


Dear Mr. Fix-It:

I’m always forgetting my user names and passwords. I can’t access my checking account, make online purchases, or activate my phone because I can never remember which password to use. I’m so frustrated — why do I need to remember the name of my first pet to check my email? Signed, Sparky.

Dear Sparky:

I’m Mr. Fix-It, not Mr. Miracle Worker.

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.