Ask Troppo’s Love Gods: Of Tupperware and Terror

(posted on behalf of The Receptionist)

Somehow it’s always me who ends up doing the work around here. As Dr Troppo’s receptionist I seem to have a never ending series of chores to perform. Clearing out beer bottles and pistachio nut shells from under his desk, washing cigarette butts out of his coffee mugs and calming clients after they’ve emerged from one of his experimental therapy sessions. Honestly, it never ends. Now he wants me to write up this week’s Love Gods problem. Well here it is:

Dear Love Gods,

Last Friday when I was leaving the house to go to a Tupperware party, my husband threatened to shoot me. Ever since he came back from the veterans’ hospital in a wheelchair he’s been bitter and suspicious. Whenever I put on make up to go out of the house he accuses me of cheating on him. “Ruby,” he moans, “Don’t take your love to town.” The other day when he thought I was out of the house I heard him say “if I could move I’d get my gun and put her in the ground.”

What should I do? I still love my husband and don’t want to leave him with nobody to take care of him, but I don’t want to get shot either.

Yours, Ruby.

If you want my opinion she should wheel him out into the street and leave him there with a cardboard sign around his neck: “Will threaten women for food and nappy changes”. But nobody ever asks me. So it’s over to the experts.

Dr. Troppo

Ms Ruby,

Please be aware that my receptionist was not offering you advice. Neither I nor my receptionist accept any liability for any use you may make of her comments.

After discussing this matter with my lawyer I have decided that the other Love Gods would be in a better position to assist you with your problem.

I wish you the best of luck. Please do not attempt to contact me again.

The Receptionist


Since Dr Troppo is busy sitting in his office drinking cheap Mexican beer with a woman he refers to as his lawyer, I suppose it’s up to me to deal with your problem.

I’m guessing that you met your husband while you were working at the veterans’ hospital. At the time it must all have seemed very noble and romantic. But despite the fact that you gave up your life to cook his meals, wash his sheets and wipe his bottom, he treats you as if you were his personal property.

It’s not hard to guess what’s causing this problem — it’s that country music he’s listening to. Not only does it drive people to suicide, it fosters appalling attitudes towards women.As Amanda Marcotte writes:

Country musics maudlin history of misogyny has gotten only more teeth-grindingly awful over time. Vintage country that was nasty to women at least had a assholish vibe to it that made it more interesting to listen to. Lately, though, every time I hear some sort of sexist country song, it has this Nice Guy® whiny tone to it that makes me want to gouge my eardrums out.

I couldn’t agree more. Country music ought to be banned. Immediately!



You say this feller of yours has got a gun, and he’s bitter and suspicious?   That doesn’t sound good.  Nope.  Not good at all.  Ruby, there’s no  connection between you and me that this bloke of yours could trace is there?  I mean – you haven’t mentioned my name in any of this I hope.  That’d be a breach of professional ethics you know.  I wouldn’t take kindly to that.  The consequences could be fearsome if it did turn out that you had let any of this slip.   I want you to know that.  I need you to understand that before we can proceed okay?   Good.

Now Ruby – the first thing you need to understand is that you are living a cliche.  I’d hazard a guess that you’re stuck somewhere between the second verse and the middle eight.  That’s where all the drama generally is.  How this particular drama resolves for you I cannot say – I’m not familiar with your case, but unless this is one of those endless tales, then your particular drama will be dealt with one way or the other by verse three. On the plus side you don’t have long to wait.  On the negative – well – either he or you could be dead or you both could be dead  (lets not talk about what might happen if you’ve mentioned my name). 

I’m not normally a fatalist – but I’d have to say Ruby that in your very unique situation the outcome is virtually programmed in.  I’ve flicked through my back copies of Psychology Today looking for a solution but found nothing.  So what I’ve got to offer is highly speculative.  I’ts never been tried before and it requires some major sacrifices on your part.  In fact you’ll require a sex change operation. A very quick one.  You’ll have to trust me on this I’m a scientist. Now here’s how it works. 

Songs are just vibrations in the air – and there’s millions of them floating around everywhere.  (As an interesting aside it’s not butterflies in the Brazillan rainforest that starts those mighty Hurricanes, its Dub).  So any moment now there’ll be a stray lyric from another song drifting along near you.  It’ll be one that I’ve aimed in your direction.  Sorry about the selection but its the only one that I could think of on such short notice.  You’re going to have to make a leap for it.  Are you Ready?     Jump  Now!

Did you think I would leave you crying, when there’s room on my horse for two.   Climb up hear Jack and don’t be crying.  I can go just as fast with two.


About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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16 years ago

Dear Ruby,

Consider changing your name to Lucille, and then alls you need do is pick a fine time to leave.

The Devil Drink
The Devil Drink
16 years ago

If he’s so jealous, Ruby, it’s likely to be because he’s guilty about something. He might be your man, but is he doin’ you wrong?
Try asking at the corner saloon about him lovin’ Alice Bly, and don’t forget to take your .44.

16 years ago

Try hosting a Taser party at your home. Taser parties are rapidly replacing Tupperware parties in the US.

Once your man is surrounded by a bunch of lovely ladies wielding Tasers, he’s sure to take the hint and shut up.