Dear Buddha,

My boyfriend and I booked a trip to Cancun over a month ago–we did tons of research to find the best resort, and we’ve been counting down the days… We’re supposed to land in Cancun next Tuesday. Only now, with all this swine flu madness, we’re thinking about rescheduling our trip.

We’re both so frustrated and disappointed. I mean, we’ve been really looking forward to our trip! May is supposed to be one of the best times to go to Cancun. If we have to wait and reschedule for some time after the media hysteria dies down, there’s a good chance we’ll end up heading south of the border between July and September–hurricane season!

Seeing as you hail from Mexico, I was wondering if you had any advice. Should we just stock up on face masks and hand sanitizer, hop on the plane, and enjoy the near empty beach? Or should we wait it out, cross our fingers, and hope that hurricane season isn’t as severe as the current media storm?

Kiki Dupont

Dear Kiki,

Shame on the media for once again fueling mass hysteria, and essentially making a mountain out of a molehill (or in this case, a black plague out of a flu). Mexico has always been–and still is–one of the most ideal vacation locales. And let me temper your concerns by reminding you: there’s ALWAYS something for tourists to be wary of when visiting my beloved homeland, be it drug wars, corrupt policemen, or the infamous Montezuma’s Revenge. If you keep all of that in mind, what’s a little piggie flu on top of it?

I say you go ahead and get on that plane Tuesday. If things escalate while you’re south of the border and you’re not allowed back into the United States, the worst you’re looking at is a (forced) extended vacation! And if you do make it back home at the pre-scheduled end of your trip, you can expect many of your friends, family, and colleagues to treat you like a leper in the midst of a flare-up, but what’s a little shunning gonna hurt the all-around glow you’ve acquired during your week at the all-inclusive?

Enjoy your trip, as scheduled. Just one last piece of advice–and if you’re anything like me, this will be the most difficult pill to swallow: keep your tongue to yourself.

Via con dios,


Dear Buddha,

I totally blew off my New Year’s resolution and have yet to shed the weight I put on over the holidays. I keep meaning to go to the gym, but every time I get ready to leave my apartment, something really good comes on television and I end up back on the sofa, sitting through mini-marathons of “Rock of Love” while eating a box of Entemann’s cheese danish in my workout clothes. I just can’t seem to get my act together.

With swimsuit season just around the corner, I’m starting to get really anxious. My husband wants to take me to Ft. Lauderdale for our wedding anniversary in June, but I’m worried that after a winter spent wearing loose fitting clothes and insisting on having our marital relations only in pitch darkness, the sight of my flabby beach body will have him running for shelter beneath a coconut tree during a wind storm.

Do you have any suggestions for how I could shed the weight fast?


Fupa Wochalski

Dear Fupa,

Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary! This is a time when you should be celebrating what you have, not fretting over what you wish you didn’t. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, I say. Rock out with your gut out. I do. So you’ve got a little muffin-top. Well you know what? Muffins are delicious.

Don’t fall prey to our society’s impossibly high standards of beauty. Those rail-thin models in all the magazines are unhappy and underfed, which means that their DOGS are most likely unhappy and underfed. Not all chihuahuas shake, you know–just the ones that live with models. You, on the other hand, sound like you’d make an excellent dog companion. I don’t know what a cheese danish is, but I’m guessing a good portion of it ends up in your lap and/or on the floor when you’re shoveling it down your gullet, and any dog would be happy to be around that. So, dear Fupa, my advice is this–get a dog. We don’t care how big you are, just as long as you don’t sit on us.



Everyone knows the Buddha is enlightened. He is wise and gleefully plump. Rubbing his belly will bring you good luck. No, I’m not talking about the Buddha that spawned an -ism, I’m talking about Buddha the chubby chihuahua, my four-legged companion for the past six years.

Aside from his occasional rage blackouts (I blame over-breeding), random, uncontrollable licking fits, and the tendency to pee a little out of excitement when his favorite people come to visit, he’s quite sagely. I feel it is my duty to share his wisdom with the rest of the world, and in so doing, I can only hope to preserve and support the fragile seedling that is our collective psyche. Buddha’s here to help.

Buddha ponders existence in his kicky turtleneck sweater

Buddha ponders existence in his kicky turtleneck sweater