By Patrick Hruby
Page 2

News Item: A widely circulated online rumor that Kobe Bryant planned to write an advice column for the Los Angeles Times turned out to be false.

Kobe Bryant
Nick Ut/AP Photo
Kobe ponders a tough question ...

First, cold fusion; now this. A pity, really. What might have been? Page 2 has an exclusive sneak peek at Bryant's first column -- which is to say, we made it up…

Dear Kobe,

My husband left me for another woman. I tell my friends I've moved on. But honestly, it's hard. I just can't escape my ex and his new squeeze. Mr. and Mrs. Smith are everywhere. I see them at the video store, in the supermarket checkout aisle, on CNN handing out earthquake relief packets. They just had a baby, and people won't shut up about it. Enough already! I'm single, wealthy, attractive and seeing a terrific new guy. He makes me laugh. Still, I can't help but wonder what might have been, especially since nobody will let me forget. What's a girl to do?

I think I may leave the country.
-- Break-Up Girl

BUG, tell me about it. I used to have a winning relationship, a once-in-a-lifetime championship pairing. But things went sour, and now my ex is throwing down with someone else. Worse still, he seems happy, and people claim his new partner is better than me. Yeah, as if. Who hung 81 points on the Raptors? Not Dwyane freakin' Wade. Cover of "NBA Live" my [expletive].

Point is, it's easy to be bitter. But clinging to old hurts is no way to go through life. Let go. Move forward. Your former flame might be a great catch. But he's no Brad Pitt. So love the one you're with.

To put things another way: Kwame Brown can't play a lick. That said, at least he doesn't show up to training camp more bloated than the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. Know what I mean?

Oh, and if you still need to go overseas, try somewhere remote. Such as Namibia. Lovely weather, friendly people. What's not to like?

Dear Kobe,

I'm a 38-year-old pitcher with an appetite for human growth hormone. I did a very bad thing. When federal agents raided my home, I panicked. I gave them the names of several other players who use performance-enhancing drugs, including one of my best friends in baseball. I threw Latin players under the bus, too. Nobody likes a snitch. How am I supposed to live with myself?
-- Grim Situation

GS, don't beat yourself up over it. Dealing with law enforcement can be quite stressful. In the heat of the moment, who knows what you'll say or who you'll randomly implicate without any prompting? Stuff just comes out. So relax. The real issue isn't squealing to the cops -- it's investigators leaking what you said to the media. Whatever happened to keeping things secret?

Dear Kobe,

All I want to do is make music. But in the biggest gig of my life, I was overshadowed by a guy who looks like Pedro Gomez. I know I can sing. I look great in clingy dresses. Since when is that not enough?
-- Fallen Idol

Katharine McPhee & Taylor Hicks
Richard Drew/AP Photo
He really does look like Pedro Gomez!

FI, don't let a temporary setback derail your dreams. Haters said I'd never make it in the recording industry, either. Then came "K-O-B-E."

I think the work speaks for itself.

Dear Kobe,

Where did it all go wrong? I took her hand. I thought we would get there. This, I swear. Now my wife and I are getting a divorce, and she wants to keep all the money. Not fair. While she was out advancing her career, I was at home doing important things, like forklifting arcade games into our second-floor rec room. That has to count for something. I think I'm entitled to half -- and at the very least, I'm keeping "Carnival King."

How do I get her to see things my way?
-- Newlywed No More

NNN, optimists would suggest marital counseling. Pessimists would suggest a strongly worded letter from the most expensive divorce attorney you can afford. Me? I prefer to keep things simple. The next time you speak with your estranged spouse, just say the following magic words:

"No prenup."

Before you know it, your relationship will be good as new. In fact, you may find an impossibly large pink diamond under your pillow. Trust me. This, I swear.

By the way, "Carnival King" is no "Operation Wolf."

Dear Kobe,

Help! I'm the proud mother of a healthy baby boy. I'm also a complete klutz and new to this whole parenting thing. While walking down the street in New York City, I nearly dropped my son. Then he fell out of his high chair. Before that, people made fun of me when I sat him on my lap while driving. Hello! I was wearing a seat belt! Safety first!

Anyway, I mean well. I love my special little guy. How do I make sure he sees his first birthday?
-- Oops! I Did It Again

OIDIA, first of all, you need a "Baby on Board" sticker. More to the point, why are you letting go of your son in the first place? Hold on tight. Don't share. Ever. The boy depends on you. Treat motherhood like a basketball game. Sure, you could pass to your less-talented teammates. But why? They'll probably miss the shot, or fumble the ball out of bounds, or forget to pass the ball back to you. Then you lose to Phoenix by 30, and Raja Bell's mom wants to give you a hug. Bad idea. A baby needs your undivided attention, the same way the basket needs mine. Capiche?

David Blaine
Kristie Bull/AP Photo
Seriously, why do people get so worked up about this guy?

Dear Kobe,

I've never hacksawed a woman in half. I don't even own a top hat to pull a rabbit out of. Chris Rock calls me a "trickless magician." Yet just by holding my breath, I garnered national attention and landed my own prime-time special.

Admit it: That's my best trick yet.
-- Drowning In Cash

DIC, that's good. But not as good as making 350-plus pounds of disagreeable teammate disappear while convincing the Clippers that you're going to sign with them. Heh. Like that was ever gonna happen.

Dear Kobe,

I was a child star. A teenage superstar. A young man walking on the moon. Then came accusations of sexual misconduct, an ugly court case and a slew of late-night punch lines. Now, I don't feel comfortable showing my face in public. I'm living like an exile in the Middle East. I miss my Southern California home. How do I give my spotty image a much-needed face-lift?

Captain EO wants to come home.
-- Beating It In Bahrain

BIIB, work on your jump shot; 500 runners, 500 pull-ups, 1,000 catch-and-shoots. Day in and day out. Get someone, anyone, to rebound. Heck, a chimp will suffice. While you're at it, make sure your right-to-left crossover is quicker than a mongoose. Don't neglect your spin dribble, either. It's tempting to spend your time sobbing in a hyperbaric chamber, but put in the effort. You'll reap the rewards. Not everyone can score 81 points in a single game -- believe me, I've tried more than once. Yet for the precious few who can, all is forgiven.

In the meantime, come back to SoCal. If Los Angeles turned its back on every famous person involved in messy legal proceedings, this place would be a ghost town.

Dear Kobe,

My approval ratings are in the toilet. I cut taxes on the wealthy, bombed some caves in Afghanistan and dispatched troops to stem the flow of illegal steroids across the Mexican border and into Major League Baseball. Guess what? No one cares. All I hear about is Iraq, Katrina and gas prices. My own party is running away from me. Meanwhile, Al Gore slaps together a PowerPoint presentation about global warming and becomes the next Winston Churchill. Sheesh. Am I really a lame duck? Or do I have enough juice to slam one more upper-class tax slash 'n' burn through Congress?
-- Wobbly In The White House

WITWH, they love you or hate you, it's one or the other. Always has been. They hate your malaprops, your incredulous "what, me worry?" expressions during press conferences and debates. They hate your illegal wiretapping, your preference for ideological conformity over technical expertise. They hate that you're a second-termer. A n'er-do-well faux-cowboy C-student 'Nam-dodging cedar-clearer made good. They hate that you're the Decider. They hate it with all their heart. And they hate that Fox News loves you, for the exact same reasons.

What I'm saying is this: Keep on keepin' on. And get cracking on that tax cut. I could use it. You have no idea how much pink diamonds cost these days.

Dear Kobe,

I help people reach their potential. I turn whole lives around. I have my own theme song. People from coast to coast gaze upon my mighty abs. And despair. In short, I am a god among men. Still, there's something eating me, an empty feeling I just can't shake. It's my hair. My rich, feathery mane. Should I frost it? Go whitish-gray? Natural brown? I can't make up my mind. Is something wrong with me?
-- Fitness Made Simple

John Basedow
JohnBasedow.com
You recognize him now, don't ya?

FMS, in life, change is the only constant. Yesterday's sunny McDonald's spot is today's scowling Nike ad; today's No. 8 is tomorrow's No. 24. Why ask why? Go with the flow. If looking like a Frosted Mini-Wheat makes you happy, then don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Something about your letter seems familiar. Have I seen you on TV?

Dear Kobe,

Consumer prices are rising. Inflation is on the march. An economic slowdown looms. What sort of monetary policy do you recommend?
-- Mr. Fed

MF, you're facing quite a conundrum. On one hand, low inflation juices the economy by allowing consumers to spend money and invest for the future without having to fret about rising prices. On the other hand, curbing inflation requires raising interest rates, which curbs spending and investment by increasing borrowing costs.

Bottom line? Go dunk on Steve Nash. Hard. Sure, he's a little guy who can't jump and couldn't block a shot if you spotted him a stepladder. No matter. Throw one down in his grill, and all of the sudden you're the real MVP. Funny how that works.

Patrick Hruby is a columnist for Page 2. Sound off to Page 2 here.


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