The Non-Expert


Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we explain why it’s best to avoid serial threesomers, where the West Village begins and ends, how to build your résumé, and why you shouldn’t drive. All using goats.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


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In the course of answering readers’ questions in this column, we only occasionally peer over and notice that the Non-Expert’s mailbag is absolutely bulging with our readers’ pleas for guidance. Perhaps these unattended-to questions were ones to which we attempted a witty reply but couldn’t quite get our druthers sorted, and sometimes—as shown in this particular batch of questions—it’s because they deserved that little bit of extra consideration. After all, the most central of dilemmas we face as humans are those that have plagued people since, well, as long as we’ve had problems, which certainly goes at least as far back as when we first asked ourselves, Are you not supposed to give chocolate to a mastodon? And also: Now, how can I hide its carcass?

Inspired by our forebears, this week we call back to some of our earliest forms of problem-solving and, thus, advice-giving, and take part in the time-honored tradition of the fable to help us supply our very troubled readers with equally troubled answers.


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Question: My boyfriend has had threesomes with his ex-wife and another woman and I know this turns him on but he tries to play it off because he knows that I am not up for that. I think I would be extremely uncomfortable and jealous. He says he wants to watch me and another woman. I want to make him happy and on the wire about this topic! Can you give any advice? Thanks, Confused

Answer: It so happened that a farmer was traveling across the countryside, tending to his herd. He missed his wife terribly and hoped that when he slept he might dream about her, but every night he dreamed only of one of his goats.

The next day, the farmer went amongst the herd and found the goat from his dreams, tied it to a nearby olive tree, and led the herd to another spot many miles away. That night he hoped again to dream of his wife, but instead he dreamed of a goat—this time, a different goat from his herd.

The next morning he woke up, exasperated, found the goat from his new dream, tied it to a nearby olive tree, and led his herd away. This continued to happen, night after night, day after day, until he was due to return home the following morning—with only one goat remaining. That final night he hoped to dream of his wife but dreamed instead about his one remaining goat, so the next morning he tied his final goat to a nearby olive tree and returned home, empty-handed, to his wife.

When asked by his wife where the herd was, he explained what had happened, and she said she understood, and she bathed his feet, and they reclined in their chamber. That night the man finally dreamed about his wife, and so the next morning he tied her to a nearby olive tree and departed.

What you need to know: Old habits die hard.

What you should know: But who’s the bigger idiot—the one who winds up tied to the tree, or the one who walks away with clean feet?

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Question: I’m going to be visiting a friend in the “West Village.” What are considered to be the geographical boundaries, or street boundaries, of the West Village? Thank you.—John

Answer: It so happened that a farmer and his goat were traveling between villages. Their journey was taking them many days, and the farmer worried that they may have become lost.

Soon they came upon another farmer, who was also traveling with a goat. The farmer asked the man where the next village was and the man replied that he did not know, but that he was looking for it as well. So they decided to travel together.

Many days later, still having not found the village, they came upon another man, also traveling with a goat. This man, when asked, also did not know where the village was, but said that he, too, was searching for it, and they agreed that if they tried together, they might be able to discover it.

This continued for many months until the farmer was traveling with many men and many goats. Finally one day, the farmer gathered all the men and all the goats and said he was done looking for the village and he was going home. He realized, though, that he had traveled so far from home that he did not know how to get back. The men, unanimously agreeing to his decision to stop searching, realized that they too did not know how to get home. The farmer and the men decided that they would stay right where they were, and that this would be their new village.

What you need to know: That you’ll know it when you see it.

What you should know: The goats are personal assistants, and you’ve wandered into TriBeCa.

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Question: Last year I was laid off, and then I finally found a job in October. But that job (through a temp service) lasted only three weeks, and then I went on to another job for one month and am now currently at another place for one month so far. So should I explain each job in detail on my résumé?—Dan

Answer: It so happened that one day a man saw a farmer washing a goat. He commented on what a strong and worthy goat he thought the farmer had, and then offered to purchase it from him. The farmer said no, that he loved the goat too much to part ways with the animal. The man conceded the point and went on his way.

The next day the man again saw the farmer washing his goat. He noted that the animal was noble and fine and again asked to purchase the goat, this time for double the price he had offered the day before. The farmer again explained his feelings for the animal and declined the offer, and the man went on his way.

On the third day the man approached the farmer to find him washing his goat once more. The man exclaimed how extraordinary it is to find a farmer who loves his goat so much and said he was wrong to have tried to purchase the goat from the farmer. The farmer revealed that he had in fact fallen onto hard times many months before and that he had been hoping a man would come by that day to offer even more money for the goat, because all along he really did want to sell the animal but was looking for the best price he could get. The man said he still wanted the goat, despite the farmer’s subterfuge, but now offered the farmer half the amount he originally offered. The farmer, with no other choice at hand, agreed and took the money.

What you need to know: Sometimes it’s good to keep some things to yourself.

What you should know: Freelance work, it’s a pain.

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Question: If you’re driving, and you’re at a four-way stop, how can you tell who’s got the right-of-way? It seems like most people just go whenever they feel like it.—Mandy

Answer: It so happened that two goats one day came upon a vast lake that had a small bridge reaching across it. The first goat suggested they walk over the bridge, but the second disagreed, noting how old and unstable the bridge appeared. The first goat then suggested they attempt to wade through the water, but the second disagreed, and noted that the lake was known to be full of crocodiles.

Anxious to cross the lake, the first goat walked across the bridge anyway, while the second goat waited on land. Sure enough, the bridge buckled as the goat was halfway across it, and upon falling into the water, the goat was surrounded by crocodiles. With the crocodiles’ attention on the first goat, the second goat hopped into the lake, safely waded across, and got out on the other side.

What you need to know: When opportunity presents itself, act without delay.

What you should know: After that the second goat was said to act like a know-it-all.


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack