Dear Cal: Can you help me with……….

Published 11:23 am Tuesday, March 15, 2016

There’s something magnetic about working in a newsroom. I guess because we deal with such a great cross-section of people and organizations – business and political – we are bombarded with inquiries from our readers dealing with a wide-range of topics.

I’ve been saving a few of the more interesting questions received over the past six months or so with the notion of publishing them here in this space. So, without further ado, here’s a batch of “Dear Cal” letters:


Dear Cal: I recently graduated from nursing school and have landed my first job at a local hospital. The starting salary is great – $40,000. That’s a lot of money for a young, single woman. My dilemma is, should I start paying back my student loan or start investing in my retirement plan?

Hesitant in Hexlena

Dear Hesitant: The biggest question here is not what you owe on your student loan or whether or not you should begin investing for your future. Rather, young and single with a $40,000 bankroll – where in the heck were you when I was single?


Dear Cal: What’s the deal with gas prices? They’ve been going lower and lower over the past year…but then, last week, boom…a near 20-cent hike in one day.

Perplexed in Potecasi

Dear Perplexed: It’s called the old “Supply-and-Demand” theory – if you demand it, the gas companies will gladly supply it, at whatever price they deem fit. In addition, the gas companies have stated the latest hike is associated with what they call their “summer blend.” I didn’t know there was a different blend for each season. If there is, then why weren’t we burning a summer blend this past winter – the warmest winter ever in the history of the National Weather Service?


Dear Cal: How do you gauge success?

Guessing in Gatesville

Dear Guessing: Success is measured throughout the life cycle. As early as age four, success means not peeing in your pants. By age 12, it progresses to having friends. At age 16, success is obtaining a driver’s license. By the time a person reaches age 20, success is gauged by sex. From 35-to-50, success is ruled by money. By age 60, sex again enters the success equation followed by – age 70: having a driver’s license; age 75: having friends; and age 90: not peeing in your pants.


Dear Cal: My girlfriend has recently jumped on the health food bandwagon and wants me to join her. I’m an old-fashioned “meat-and-potatoes” guy. I want to keep my gal happy, but my idea of food isn’t baked, skinless chicken breast with a side dish of celery, but rather a 16-ounce T-bone smothered in onions along with a huge order of french fries. Please help me save our relationship.

Sleepless in Severn

Dear Sleepless: Try this – ask your girlfriend what do cows eat? Her answer should be corn or some type of grain. Then ask her where corn is grown. Her answer should be in the garden. What grows in a garden, you should ask. Vegetables will be her answer. With that, inform her that eating steak is simply nature’s way of interjecting wholesome veggies within one’s system. French fries are also a vegetable since potatoes are grown in a garden.


Dear Cal: My wife says I drink too much beer and that beer is bad for me. Is that true?

Puzzled in Powellsville

Dear Puzzled: What, that you drink too much, or is beer bad for you? I can’t address your quantity question, but I am an authority on the latter. For centuries, scientists have labeled everything on Earth as either animal, mineral or vegetable. Beer definitely does not fall under the animal category and I’ve never seen a symbol listed for beer on the periodic table. Therefore, beer is a vegetable and, as I just informed Sleepless in Severn, we all know that veggies are good for you.


Stay tune for more letters in the coming months.


Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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