Dear Old Owl, This has been weighing on me heavily. I would go to confession, but I’m not a Catholic and I’ve already gotten too many harassment charges for yelling my problems at old Italian men on the street. Still, I have to get this off my chest. Who better to tell than an anthropomorphic owl that is bound to secrecy? I am a sinner. I have committed unforgivable crimes against my fellow man. 

When I was eight, I put my Christmas list through a paper shredder so I could blame it on my brother Thomas, because I was jealous that he had his own subscription to Better Homes & Gardens Magazine. I cried so hard that I needed an inhaler, and he got his browsing privileges suspended for the week. From then on, I stole each of Thomas’s copies as they were delivered and my parents never trusted his word after the shredding debacle. I watched as he fought at our mailman for forty-five minutes, fantasizing about paddling around in a brand new koi pond. 

When Thomas moved out and got a gazebo of his own, I couldn’t contain my jealousy. I would lurk in his topiary by day and sleep on the sweet planks of pressure-treated pine at night. Finally, when Thomas got in a hedge-trimming accident last month, I told the doctor’s my brother had A positive blood instead of A negative and his body rejected the transfusion. The guilt is intense, but I write this from the tender embrace of a porch swing and know that, ultimately, it’s what Thomas would want. 

How do I move on from this traumatizing experience?

Dear Owlet,

This is a published advice column, dipshit. I may be a mischievous little rascal, but I’m not a madman; there are certain things I can’t get behind. There’s no confidentiality agreement here, you signed your email “cheers, Kevin Wasserberg” and included your home address. You can take your anonymous confession straight to the police station.

Dear Old Owl,

My job is requiring a background check and I don’t know what that entails. How do I make sure they don’t find anything incriminating? 

Dear Owlet, That’s an understandable concern; let me offer you some expert advice on ensuring a squeaky clean record. Step one is legally changing your name; it won’t stop them entirely, but it certainly throws them off the scent. I would suggest “Rob Banks” or “Pon Z. Skeem.” Someone with a criminal name like that couldn’t actually be a criminal, it would be too obvious. 

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of changing your credit cards and monogrammed towels, though, there are alternatives. It is practically impossible to stay off the grid in the modern age, but flooding your employer’s search results will bury anything too suspicious. The most surefire way to get this done is to mass-produce latex gloves printed with your fingerprints and distribute them in major cities. 

My final suggestion is a little more situation-specific. Pop on LinkedIn for a brief stalk and connect with all the family members of your potential employer. Once you’ve built a thriving professional network, you can convince them to help you burn down the neighborhood Chuck E. Cheese and toast the flea-ridden mascot over the open flames. This will create a criminal history standoff, and your employer will be forced to look over your past misdemeanors for the sake of their family. In fact, depending on the connections you forge, this could even lock down a week-three promotion.

Dear Old Owl, I really need your advice. I have always struggled with being my most honest and authentic self, and have put up some pretty high walls around my heart. It took me a really long time to feel comfortable enough with someone to share all parts of me, and now that I’ve finally done it, they’ve started acting differently. Everyone keeps telling me to be vulnerable, but it seems like when I’m honest it makes everything worse. Help a guy out?

Dear Owlet, Kevin, you signed this one, too, dumbass. Why the hell did you add a photo? I literally already called the police.