Fromage a Trois.

Hello there everyone. I’ve retreated to my man cave for a while to work on book two. To entertain you in the meantime, here’s one of the College Survival Guide columns I used to write for the local paper.

Dear Pat,

I recently had a rough relationship with a friend.

Actually, I was punch-drunk in love with the guy. We were on the verge of dating and did typical things like talking for hours on the phone, hanging out together, flirting, and beyond.

Everything was going great, but no one was making the first move even though we had talked about dating. When he finally asked me out, I later found out that he already had a girlfriend and was playing me the whole time. As you can imagine, I was angry with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns.

Anyway, the next time we hung out I desperately wanted to ask if the rumors were true, but I never did. As the day went on, I kept thinking about all the lies this guy had told me and couldn’t imagine how anyone could be so heartless. Well, he kept making fun of me about one thing or another and I finally snapped. At the time, I was holding a one pound block of Colby cheese and this guy wasn’t quick enough to take cover. I had no intention of severely hurting him, but I’ve never seen someone go down that hard! I nailed him right in the kidney so it took him a few minutes to recover. I felt pretty bad afterwards, but he was feeling better the next day.

So now that the story is out of the way, I can ask you my question. Should I feel bad now that this guy has a giant bruise and will probably be peeing blood for the next month?


Only in Wisconsin could we have a problem like this: cheese-related domestic

Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few Wisconsin laws on the books relating to cheese-specific crime. Wouldn’t that make a great CSI spin-off? “This week on CSIDairyland: our heroes struggle to unravel a baffling second-degree lacticide….”

First, I have to say that this letter cracked me up, Kristin. The funniest one I’ve gotten in a long while. This is because it contains the two fundamental elements necessary for comedy:

1) Something horrible happening to someone else.

Mel Brooks said it best, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.” There’s something buried deep in our brains that makes us enjoy the traumatic suffering of strangers.

It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but it’s true. Think of every joke you’ve ever laughed at. 99% of the time what makes you laugh is something horrible. If a joke begins “An American, a German, and a Norwegian go fishing….” You already know the end. We end up laughing at the Norwegian because of his stupidity, or because something horrible happens to him. Or both.
Don’t believe me? Think about every Loony Tunes cartoon you’ve ever watched, or any episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Still, don’t believe me? Check this out.

Case closed.

2) An element of the ridiculous.

Ridiculous things are funny. Like a monkey wearing a dress, or a clown having sex, or an English major with a job. In this letter, the ridiculous element is a girl is kicking a guy’s ass with a chunk of cheese: pure comedy gold.

I mention all of this because the humor of this letter really obscures the issue. So let me present a different, humor-free scenario:

There’s a guy and a girl. They hang out, flirt, “and beyond” doing the relationship dance. Later, the guy finds out that the girl already has a boyfriend. She’s been lying to him and leading him on, and generally taking advantage of his trusting nature.

So the next time they’re together, the guy is seething mad. He keeps it under control for a while, but eventually a comment makes him lose his cool. So he takes whatever is in his hand: a coffee mug, a wrench… whatever. Then he hits her with it. Hits her so hard that she falls down and can’t get up for several minutes.

Now the question: should the guy feel bad? Seems pretty straightforward to me.

So yeah, Kristin, you should feel bad. Because, when all’s said and done, you took something non-violent and made it violent. Someone hurt your feelings and you hurt their body. And ultimately, it doesn’t matter that he’s a guy and you’re a girl. It doesn’t matter if you use a wedge of gouda or a baseball bat. It doesn’t matter that he seems to be, on all accounts, a total prick. That’s just not a good thing. Feel bad. Apologize.

Now I’m not saying that what he did was any better. He abused your trust, and, in my opinion, that warrants him a severe, figurative, ass-kicking of some sort.

Unfortunately, you’ve forfeited your right to creative revenge by opening up the can of whoop-ass on him. Too bad, I could have written a great how-to get revenge column for all the jaded lovers out there. Oh well.

Oh Survival Guide, how I miss you….

What do you think, folks. If I offered to write new advice columns here on the blog, would anyone be interested? Let me know in the comments below.

Be good,


This entry was posted in BJ Hiorns Art, College Survival Guide. By Pat65 Responses


  1. Althalus
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 9:33 PM | Permalink

    As long as it doesn’t interfere with book two, I saw the more Pat the better!

  2. pangalactic
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 9:34 PM | Permalink

    I’d love to see those kind of advice articles. But split them into Good Pat and Evil Pat like some of the old Survival Guide things; that stuff is gold.

  3. Cory Emerson
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 9:34 PM | Permalink

    Haha, that was good, Pat. Um, as for writing an advice column on the blog, I know I would really enjoy it, but I’m jut afraid it would delay the publication of Wise Man’s Fear. If you could write it and have it not affect your Kvothe writing, I’d be fine with it. I’m just kind of sensitive with over doing blogs because of how long its taken GRRM to write, and he updates his bog every four seconds.But if you can find time to do it. Go for it. It’ll give us something to do while we wait. And you know we can never have too much of your writing.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 9:58 PM | Permalink

    A new advice column would be swell. It was my favorite part of every thursday during my first two years of college. Keep them coming.

  5. Casseopia
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 10:19 PM | Permalink

    If you write it, Pat, I will read it and will more than likely enjoy it.

  6. sparkly_jules
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 10:30 PM | Permalink

    As an English major without a job *ahem*, I say yes; I would like to see more columns, even fresh and new ones.Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to crying into my beer.Jules

  7. James
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 10:33 PM | Permalink

    While I’m anxiously awaiting WMF, any little pat-fix I can get until then will ease my jitters.GO FOR IT!

  8. John
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

    A new advice column would be amazing, especially if you kept it as a humor column in reality ;)

  9. Anonymous
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 11:17 PM | Permalink


  10. RaynDragon
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

    I’d say “Yes! What fun!” but I already had to deal with the ravings of my uncle over Thanksgiving who responded to my news about your blog with… umm… politely put – desire to see the next book come out sooner, rather than later. He is without internet and has an over-abundance of beard and is the one who gave me your book in the first place, so I will cast his vote out of respect to my beloved elder.But… if it wouldn’t interfere with the arrival of the next book on the bookstore shelves… It’d be totally cool by me!

  11. Sailor Matt
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 11:34 PM | Permalink

    When I was a sailor, life was simple. The rules were clear, authority was paramount, and having an opinion was highly discouraged.Now that I’m a civilian, I’m totally lost. I could really use some guidance, Pat. A civilian survival guide would be swell.

  12. Fifer
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 11:48 PM | Permalink

    Course. Although, to second, third, w/e, everybody else, only if it doesn’t interfere with The Wise Man’s fear.But other that that I would love a Pat writing fix to keep me going until April.

  13. Brad
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

    I say “Hell Yeah!” to the advice column. I have fond memories of sitting in the Fine Arts Center in Point reading your article. Brings a tear to my eye even now… the “I-can’t-breath-I’m-laughing-so-hard” kind of tears.

  14. Kalligenia
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 12:14 AM | Permalink

    Yes! Ooh, yes!

  15. Captain Joe
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 1:37 AM | Permalink

    Yes! A hearty, hearty yes. New advice fresh from the man cave would more than complete any of my days.Advice on the best way to cook frozen dinners would help a lot, actually.Cheers to book two!

  16. Taur' Ohtar Sereg Wethrin
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 1:39 AM | Permalink

    Heck yes!

  17. Anonymous
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 2:25 AM | Permalink

    An advice column would make me smile. Even if it was written by mean pat.

  18. Anonymous
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 2:38 AM | Permalink

    its especially funny when people cause their own pain

  19. Steven Weyerts
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 3:29 AM | Permalink

    Posting experimental Top-Ramen recipes wouldn’t hurt. Three-hundred and sixty-five. One for each day of the year.It would be a smash-hit.

  20. Steven Weyerts
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 3:33 AM | Permalink

    Or you could just kick people in the nuts. And film it. I hear that works.

  21. Anonymous
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 3:46 AM | Permalink

    Pat, an internet based advice column will bring into your life some of the strangest and most disturbing stories you’ve ever heard. I personally guarantee it.

  22. Jana
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 4:44 AM | Permalink

    I’d love an advice column! Because everyone knows that sometimes Dear Abby doesn’t really cut it. I especially love your Good/Evil Pat columns :)

  23. Anonymous
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 6:01 AM | Permalink

    go advice column!

  24. caranorn
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    Heh, definitelly do this as long as you keep writing on the book as well. It’s terrible how some of the old advice column entries you posted here fit my current life (nice guy who is the girl’s best friend but she goes for the jock, and now a maddening “ménage à quatre” (yes, three guys migrating around the same girl, but hell is she worth it)). Maybe you could give me some advice, how to get rid of those other two guys without appearing to be cruel;-).

  25. marky
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

    I hate to agree, but hell yeah on the comedy problem solving. Although, I usually find there isn’t a problem that can’t be solved without a blow torch and a pair of pliers. What’s the script with thinking some ginger guy kicking you in the baws is funny? It happens in Scotland on regular bases, and it’s far from funny. We have our own special hospital for it. There are no beds, just comfy chairs with slings attached.

  26. Jedi Poet
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    I’d love to hear you advice….like should I get a Kingkiller tattoo on my the outside of my forearm or a Valaritas tattoo? sincerely dying to get inked in Colorado while being sleepless there too.

  27. Zach
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

    I agree with Althalus. Pat’s humor is wonderful but I’d rather see book two sooner if I had to pick.

  28. Kim
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

    I would love for you to write more advice columns, I love the Survival Guide!!I think you’re a talented enough man that you could find a way to juggle working on something like that in addition to your other responsibilities. :)

  29. Trafnam
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

    I wouldn’t be interested. This has nothing to do with my actual feelings, but I think someone has to be a little contrary – if for nothing more than to maintain a sense of balance here.

  30. Anonymous
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 7:23 PM | Permalink

    yes, yes, by all means yes!

  31. Scott
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 7:55 PM | Permalink

    Absolutely! I love schadenfreude!

  32. ripshin
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 10:33 PM | Permalink

    I don’t know Pat, advice columns can get tedious sometimes…I’d rather you just keep giving us tastes of your writing through glimpses into your life. That’s the real reason I read your blog in the first place. Of course, if we had a more conducive “forum” to digest and expound on the advice you gave, I could be persuaded that it would be a worthwhile endeavor…but I think you already know my thoughts on this…ripWF: pudindea – A linguistical amorphism used as an imperative meaning “put it in there”.

  33. ripshin
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 10:36 PM | Permalink

    I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist posting once more, and for the sole reason of giving another WF, which is too good to pass up…WF: imeter – Apple Inc.’s new unit of measure for length/

  34. C. Nelson
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 12:29 AM | Permalink

    You know, that has to be one of the best advice columns I’ve seen. Which is maybe saying something along the lines of “this is the best chicken nugget I’ve ever eaten!” when you compare advice columns to written things in general, but still. You’ve got the funny, and a very good approach to the immediate problem and to the gender aspect of the question the writer didn’t even realize was there. I’d be up for more!

  35. Brandon
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 2:20 AM | Permalink

    Hell yes! Learn me some life, oh mighty Pat…God knows I’m one dude who is wondering around clueless in this world. Especially about women.BLG

  36. Malikelm
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 4:33 AM | Permalink

    Oh God yes! Everytime i read one of these it makes sense that terry pratchett is your favorite author.

  37. Angela
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    Wait a minute! *I’m* going to be an English major!!! *quakes with fear* NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!Please! You can’t leave me without advice now that you’ve told me of my bleak future! What will I REALLY do when I sat around at a coffe shop pretending to write? I’m DOOMED… doomed… d.o..o…m….e…..d. . ! . .WV: undcula- extremely difficult sexual position requiring a dracula blow up doll.

  38. Kip, wants a monkey.
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    TIme for Kip’s input. Yes it would be interesting, if you kept it separate from the Blog. Then Years down the road you can stuff a book with it and sell it as a little collection. If your career keeps consistant, it might actually be a lucrative venture. Not to mention a famous author giving people advice on their problems, you would have a nice corner market Pat, and be giving something else back to the world, in the form of humor and advice.Pull something like Dan Savage from Savage Love. Do one entry a week, containing about 4-5 letters, it shouldn’t take you more than a few hours to do it.By the way buddy, I don’t think anyone has asked you this. How are you feeling, you were saying before that you were basicly depressed, did the fundraiser help?I worry that you might get too deep in over your head with side projects and drive yourself into depression or anxiety further. Also everyone who donated (including you Pat) remember to fill out the forms necessary to get your tax deduction, it means more $$ you can donate next year.My Word verification is the most EPIC ever: plordioit just rolls off the tongue.

  39. Kip, Food, Wine = awesome
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    BTW, Steve, Google “Ramen” and go to the Official Ramen Homepage. It is awesome. I have 2 recipes published on there myself.

  40. jer_
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

    At this point, it’s just piling on, but YES!

  41. Josh
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

    Pat, I just wanted to stop by and say thanks. For the book (which I continue to keep reading over and over again), for the opportunity to donate, for such an awesome blog, etc. I had totally given up on the idea of actually getting anything–figured that I could just count it towards the good on my cosmic karma scale. Then I just got a package from you today! Sadly it wasn’t the “Patrick Rothfuss Beard Starter Kit” I was hoping for but I was still awesome. Congrats on such a great turn out, I eagerly await the next part of the trilogy.In the meanwhile I’ll be popping the tiny little bubbles in the wrapping. Mmmmmmm, bubblewrap. WordVer: PERSUP (actually a military term for a pay/personnel support site, something I know since it’s my MOS)

  42. Anonymous
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

    I would love to read more of this stuff here ^^

  43. Amanda
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 11:38 PM | Permalink

    I WOULD LOVE MORE ARTICLES.I’ve been dying this past semester without my weekly College Survival Guide.but… if it meant Wise Man’s Fear would be delayed… then I will respectfully decline the offer.

  44. Angela
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 2:20 AM | Permalink

    I just felt I should share this with all of you. Every time I watch it, I think of Pat Rothfuss. It gives me a chuckle. will mourn for commercial man’s beard.

  45. Louise
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 2:25 AM | Permalink

    Marky…that may have been the funniest thing iv read ever. Lol.Yeah, I just finished reading The College Survival Guide, and a column would happily while away the time I should be asleep. :D

  46. ChrisM
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 6:51 AM | Permalink

    I’d definitely welcome an advice column, this one made for epic lulz. And I’m sure Pat wouldn’t even suggest it if he thought that it would interfere with book 2. Looking forward to seeing you in Pasedena, CA!!

  47. Greg Keys
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

    I think it would be a great idea. I know a lot of people are going mad with desire for the new book, and I think that going back to your “roots” might give some fresh inspiration! I know I would definitely read anything you post…and who knows, maybe you can finally explain to me the enigma that is my wife. You do seem to be doing well in the ladies department

  48. Eric
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

    At least she didn’t hit him with Stilton. She’d be facing manslaughter charges now.

  49. Anonymous
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 7:10 PM | Permalink


  50. Maarten
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

    I went through all the comments and I guess an advice blog would be appreciated…Getting back on the girl’s story and your advice, which was good, but incomplete. I was wondering about this. She “found out” that the guy was cheating on his girlfriend with her, right? How did she do that? She clearly calls the news “rumors”. WTF, if I was dating a girl, and she would hear rumors, and after that I would be peeing blood for a month… damn. That would really “piss” me off. And maybe even more important, why didn’t she confront the “cheating bastard”? I mean, you could always try to talk/ask first and play ball with a piece of Gouda later… Or am I missing something?

  51. Jessica
    Posted January 9, 2009 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

    Yes, please, that would be great!

  52. Hans Gao
    Posted January 10, 2009 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

    Everytime I come to this blog and I see that there are no new posts, I cheer, because it means that Book 2 is just a little closer to being done.

  53. Vae
    Posted January 10, 2009 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

    yes. please! anything written by you would be a complete blessing. plus, the survival guide sounds quite fun! i can’t wait for book two though…

  54. bryan
    Posted January 10, 2009 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

    Hey, congrats on the Nebula nomination.

  55. Anonymous
    Posted January 11, 2009 at 12:15 AM | Permalink

    I feel as though I have been missing out on something ! Give us non-wisconsiners a chance to receive your sage advice! The vote is yes, please.

  56. Brian Igelchen
    Posted January 11, 2009 at 3:03 AM | Permalink

    Pass deg Pat, jeg er norsk! :P(Watch yourself Pat, I’m Norwegian.)Waiting patiently for your next book~

  57. Anonymous
    Posted January 12, 2009 at 7:28 PM | Permalink

    Do it! but like almost everyone else said…we want a book more.

  58. Angela
    Posted January 13, 2009 at 4:59 AM | Permalink

    BAH! You should know exactly how much you are affecting my life, Mr. Rothfuss. I am completely addicted to your blog! To prove my point, here is a little peak into my life.I’ve read nearly all of your posts now. (A month of winter break, don’t judge) A good number of those included items from your satiric advice column. Well, now I’m back in college and my first assignment for honors English is an *opinion* piece. An *ethics* opinion questionnaire, to be exact.Just look how it’s turned out. Here, I’ll give you an excerpt.“6. You should not try to change someone you are in a relationship with.I strongly agree. Trying to change someone is like trying to plug an American hair dryer in an European outlet. It’s difficult and un-enjoyable. Sure, it might fit for a while, but sooner or later, you are going to end up with an electrocuted hand and a handful of ash where your house used to be. That said, asking for what you want usually gets results. Then he or she is doing all the self change while you relax in a pool of guiltlessness. . .9. You should not lie to protect a friend who is deceiving his or her partner.I strongly agree. They assumed the relationship risk whenever they began doing whatever it is they hypothetically began doing. Also, I do not need to lose karma points by lying. I am saving up for a tree afterlife. Yep, that’s right, afterlives are handed out liked stuffed animals at a fair.10. You should tell a friend if his or her partner has made critical remarks about him or her.I agree…sorta. If there was a more neutral answer, I would have chosen that. Relationships are like motorcycles, only designed for two people. Thus, I try to stay out of my friends’ love life‘s. If (let’s assume he) is slandering (let’s assume her) to large groups of people, then I would tell her. If he has come to me (and I try to discourage this. Really, believe me, I do.) to talk about their problems so he can fix them/vent, then I would not tell her. I would guilt trip the hell out of him, though, for putting me in an awkward position and not manning up enough to tell *her* what he thought.”Sarcasm all the way with a sprinkle of vulgarity.All I can say is…thank you! Also, I’ve nominated your book for our class to read and write our final on! Already, I am swaying my friends to vote for your book. Four votes, that’s probably half of the class.I promised if we did get to read your book that I would try and contact you for questions, key points, blarg. This semester is focusing on ethics in literature. So, I will be emailing you if I can get the book chosen all mafia style.Oh, and what kind of gifts are you looking for that you haven’t gotten yet? I want to be able to show off a cool signed edition to my class…

  59. Laura
    Posted January 14, 2009 at 4:51 AM | Permalink

    Um…. Am I the only one who doesn’t find “Kicked In The Nuts” to be hilarious?Good send-up of hidden camera shows, perhaps, but not funny in itself. Just me.“Ounfi.” No clue what that is, but I’m naming my next cat after it.

  60. mummbles
    Posted January 18, 2009 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

    The advice would b great p but… book II would be even better. Ive alredy read book I twice dont make me read it again! please!

  61. Steven Weyerts
    Posted January 20, 2009 at 3:59 AM | Permalink

    ^ I’ve read Day One four times. Seriously. And I’m going to read it again — and maybe, if the wait is too long, once more — before Day Two’s release.Word verification is “Hogalp.” I have no idea what that means, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that it’s a mountainous swine.

  62. Cassie B.
    Posted January 21, 2009 at 3:44 AM | Permalink

    Its crazy, i didn’t know you wrote that. i actually started reading the college survival guide in the bookstore and started quoting it! My friend has this weird thing about gypsies, so I had to get it for her :)That being said I like Kvothe better, so I am begging you – BOOK 2!

  63. Nathan
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 12:15 AM | Permalink

    Yes please!

  64. Rin
    Posted February 1, 2009 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

    You are such a talented writer, and after reading this piece of “advice” I would love to see more.

One Trackback

  • By Moyashimon | Neurotic Chihuahua on January 22, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    […] of cheese.  She wanted to know whether she should feel bad.  Here’s part of Rothfuss’ response: There’s a guy and a girl. They hang out, flirt, “and beyond” doing the relationship dance. […]

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