The Fight to Stamp Out HBB
Gradualism and the DTV Changeover

Jim and Pam and Ray Goth


Deep within the comment section of a certain prior post, whilst I’m being pummeled from the right by religionist whining, and from the left with atheist blather, comes a plea from Ray Goth, an occasional correspondent. I’m to help him salvage his love life!

Hey Tom,

This really has nothing to do with this post, so...yeah...but, I figure you're older and wiser [he got the first one right] than me; and we've had some fairly in-depth conversations, so, why not?

I'm in a pretty messed up situation with this girl. Morally, ethically,'s just bad. But, it's so right, and I know that we're really right for one another, in a way that I've never felt in any of my previous relationships. Like, all those cheesy 80's and early 90's romantic comedies...for the rest of my life, if nothing works out with this girl, I'll think to myself "There goes my wife..."

But it's a really messed up situation...What do you do? I mean, I guess I'm asking from the point of view of not having you say "Wait and pray about it," because, I feel like that's where I'm at anyway. do you go about your life when you know something is so right, that you want to be with someone for the rest of your life and are so completely happy and comfortable with them and being so unsure that it's ever going to work out for entirely external factors?


Ray Goth

I get this kind of request all the time and, frankly, it’s a great distraction from my important work here at the Whitepebble Religious Institute. Moreover, helping out with someone’s relationship difficulties is foreign territory for me since my life with Mrs. Sheepandgoats has never been anything but 24/7 marital bliss. Time was when I would fob a query like this off on an assistant, perhaps Tom Pearlsandswine. But Pearlsandswine recently read an article critical of Charles Russell, and he has defected, saying “how can this be the truth?!” I met him at the Institute door and tried to reason with him but he told me: “Go to hell!”

So now he believes that, too. Very well, Ray. I’ll do what I can in person to help.

You have to pay attention to the chemistry between Jim and Pam of The Office, particularly during seasons one and two. In the first season, Jim pines away every episode for an unavailable Pam. In the second season, it’s exactly the opposite. The writers of that show are not just funny; they are astute, and have a good grasp of how men and women respond to each other.

Season 1: Jim loves Pam. He cutsies up to her all season, horsing around, playing tricks on the co-workers, and so forth. He probably wouldn’t even be at this silly job were it not that he wants to see her. Pam likes him a lot. Does she love him? It sure seems so, but she’s engaged to Roy. Now, Roy is an inconsiderate lout - we all know it. He probably does love her, but he takes her absolutely for granted - one possession among many, and runner-up to drinking buddies, car and sports. How many years has he stretched out this engagement? She deserves better - why did she ever agree to marry this clod? Most likely, (strictly my guess) her dad is just like him. A woman (and vice versa) will often be drawn to someone like her father because that’s the pattern she’s seen all her life - it’s the only type of man she can relate to, warts and all.

Having strung us along all season, Jim tells Pam he loves her madly in the final episode. Well, it’s about time, you weak-kneed idiot! Now, surely, all will be well. But no! Pam is disquieted and confused. She’s not admitted to herself any feelings for Jim. What’s the point, since she’s not available? She’s got to marry Roy.

Season 2: “It’s over,” Jim says to himself. He put his cards on the table. She said no. There’s nothing more to be done, so he leaves town, taking that job in Connecticut. Guys do things like that, especially guys that make inordinate fuss about facts and logic.

Fact: He said he loved her.

Fact: She said no.

Conclusion: Case closed. Leave town.

But - the moron - anyone with the slightest understanding of women knows the case is not closed. Pam simply needs time to adjust to the idea, that’s all. Throughout the second season, she pines away for Jim, who doesn’t have a clue - even though he’s been transferred back to the original office - because, in his mind, the matter is settled. He’s even got himself a new girlfriend - might as well move on in life, he reasons. Meanwhile Roy self-destructs, as we all knew he would.

The point, Ray, that you have to be persistent. And patient. Just because she doesn’t come around immediately doesn’t mean she never will. Men and women process thought and events differently. Not only must you be persistent, you must be willing and able to hear her out, to make her concerns yours. That does not mean you have to fix them! Men are always thinking they have to get in there and fix things, but understanding a situation and her feelings is better than fixing it. Women often want listening more than fixing. Of course, if she’s tied to the railroad tracks with the train approaching, you might want to fix that. But in general, listening is your best move. And whatever you do, don’t show yourself obsessed over sex! Women - for the life of me, I don’t know where they get this from - often think that men “are only after one thing.” If this is truly Miss Right, you must rise above the instinct. Sex does not make faulty relationships well.

Actually, Jehovah’s Witnesses, you likely know, are among that vanishing breed that reserves sex for marriage, and considers it off-limits elsewhere. We needn’t go into that here, only to say that sex relations creates an enormous emotional bond, which muddies the waters as to seeing the other person clearly, and is a source of major frustration if a person is not prepared to follow through with continued commitment. Even if one imagines they are doing it just for sport, that is no guarantee the other thinks that, or that one or both party might change at any time. As the ad used to say: “it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.”

And, as the geezers from the old country will still say (to their daughters): “why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free?” But this is a vanishing lifestyle these days. Once it was the norm, even if it was not always strictly adhered to. But, in our day, Jehovah’s Witnesses and a handful of others are pretty much the only ones still attempting to live thus.

Now, a couple of caveats to the Jim and Pam scenario:

1.) When I tell you to be persistent, I am taking you at your word (and my general impression) that you are a good guy, an attitudinal cousin of Jim. If you were a lummox like Roy, “be persistent” is the worst advice I could give. Miss Right would justifiably hate me for it. But guys like Roy seldom ask for such advice. They are already convinced they are God’s gift to women, and they are unmercifully persistent, much to any sensible woman’s disgust.

2.) There is a bell curve for men and a bell curve for women. When I say that “women are this” or “men are that,” it is understood that there is great variety in individuals and that they might rest anywhere on their bell curve, even to the point of reversing roles in some areas where both persons sit toward the edges of their overlappinng curves. For the bell curves, while they may overlap some, are not the same. They are different, and it is the averages I have described. There really is a “men from Mars, women from Venus” phenomenon.

3.) Jim and Pam are storybook characters. Yes, the writers are astute, but it is still fiction. Are you really the kind of guy Jim is? Could I even depend upon you to take Miss Right to the Kingdom Hall regularly? (wait….strike that….that’s for another post)

Worrisomely, you admit to having messed up morally, ethically, and whatever. I mean, it’s good you admit to it, but worrisome you have done it. Of course, we are all human, and who hasn’t, to some extent, shot themselves in the foot before? What are we to make of your confession? Typical man! huffs Mrs. Sheepandgoats: he gives no details and just expects you to read his mind! (Note: I am not prying here. cl took a similar statement of mine as an invitation to dump a busload of anti-Russell, anti-NWT tripe on me!) You have messed up. So you have some fixing to do - not of her, but of yourself - and you must persuade her that the fixing is genuine. And it must really be genuine. Are you ready for a permanent relationship? Alas, I have no way of knowing from here.

Relationships take work. Ideally, you start off with someone close enough to your heart that real love can develop. But that will not negate the need for work, self-examination, and ongoing communication to keep the relationship growing and healthy. Unfortunately, we live in a quick gratification society in which, instead of working through problems, people are inclined to conclude that the relationship was “not meant to be” and run off looking for the perfect soul-mate, who they once thought was the person at hand, but no longer do. My guess is that atheists would be especially susceptable to this kind of reasoning, since for them the clock is always ticking, the end draws near, and this life is all there is.

Ray, I hope within this mass of words there is something you can run with. As for me, though ours is a culture obsessed with youth, I’m sort of glad to have reached the age in which personal dramas are all sorted out, in which one has come to know oneself - who he is and who he isn’t - and perhaps offer something to another generation (who won’t listen). Not to say that all things have gone swimmingly in my life; some have, whereas others have sort of fizzled, but the point is that it is done, and one can move on to another stage of life.

It may suffice simply to show Miss Right this post. That may solve all your woes. Or she might break the laptop over your head - it’s a tough prediction from here. Or she might dump you altogether and try to schmooze up to me! But it won’t do her any good. I am married to the gracious, lama-loving, blog-tolerating Mrs. Sheepandgoats. Besides, I am older than your Miss Right by half an ice age.


Tom Irregardless and Me               No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash



Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'



Hey Tom,

I appreciate it. Can't say I've actually seen The Office (I don't have cable and have generally avoided television for a couple years - i think I'm pretty behind popular culture, but oh well). I appreciate your insight, though it isn't much different from what's been going on in my head or other people have said.

And as for the morally/ethically/whatever...that one wasn't so much anything that I did as what she's done to me...and I'm not sure if I'm just being stupid in being so patient and accepting. I mean, I know I must have some masochistic tendencies to have gotten into blogging in the first place, but, I dunno. I want it to work out, and she says she does too...I don't know what all music you listen to, but thematically, I feel like I'm in a Tom Waits song. More specifically, I feel like Nick Cave's "Into My Arms" was written specifically for me. If you get a chance, I know it's secular music, but give it a listen. If nothing else I think they both capture some very real human emotion in an amazingly concise and poignant way.

Anyways, thanks again. I'm at that point where I'm ready for all the drama to be over (well, I have been for a while), but external situations seem always a little out of my control.

So...yeah, I'm basically at the "wait, be patient, see how it works out" stage. We'll see. Thanks again.


Tom Sheepandgoats Harley

My next post, due in a week or so, will show what I think about television. I'd never heard of The Office until a year ago. But my kids thought (correctly) I would like it and got me started with DVDs of the seasons mentioned.

On extremely rare occasion I will put aside the Kingdom Melodies songbook and take in some secular music. Actually, we just returned from hearing Emish at Johnny's Irish pub,
a 5 piece Celtic/Rock band with a lot of energy. Plus, the setting is informal; the group is amiable, and the lead vocal circulated around to chat briefly. I was going to stick the group in the post somewhere as a tonic to cure any relationship difficulties, had you not already posted this comment with its query about music. Other than that, I have a "music" category on this blog. My favorite post is "At the Bob Dylan Concert," 5 posts deep in the category:

Waits I have heard of, but am not familiar with his music. Maybe I can track him down.

The moral/ethical stuff is on her part, is it? Careful. Everyone messes up, I understand. But it is difficult to change yourself. It's damn near impossible to change another person. Perhaps she is young and yet growing up. But that in itself is also grounds for caution.


Well, I can certainly relate to the post. I spent 8 years of my life trying to be patient and win over the woman I thought I loved. At the time, I truly did love her.

There was lots of drama: a fiance who was out of the state (and eventually out of the country) pretty much all the time. She was possessive and also selfish in many ways. Yet she did accept me for who I was and I felt like she was all I could ever need or want.

I could have officially had her, but I deferred rather consistently. In my case, I wanted her to choose me, not just surrender to me. I wanted her to break it off with Mr. Fiance before I would take her. It felt right to me that way.

In the end, I grew up. I realized that she didn't really want me, she wanted the toy that she thought was me. She wanted someone to manipulate. I knew this because as I disagreed with her on minor points, she would get more and more agitated.

I am not trying to say that anyone's special someone is the same mine, nor am it saying that I know anything about any one else's situation (I am basing this off of a show I have never watched), but I am saying that patience will eventually bring the whole thing to a head. The answer will become painfully obvious when both people are both ready for it, whatever that answer may be. Its the waiting that is hard.


Hey Tom,

Yeah, people are always trying to get me into tv shows. I have watched a little of Heroes and enjoy it, but I haven't had time to commit to any other long-running show. I catch Mythbusters or some shows on the Food Network occasionally, but that's about the extent of it. People have been hounding me about The Office though, and I know at least one has said "Oh, you're so like Jim! You should watch it!" So, maybe I will.

If you're interested, here are two links to Tom Waits on the ole' Youtube:

"Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" :


"Alice" :

He definitely sings about the seedier side of life, but, the songs are very real emotionally. His voice also takes some getting used to, but I figure Bob Dylan's does too...Waits is just the guy you expect to see when you walk into a jazz club, and I think he always sort of delivers in that way.

As for Nick Cave, he likewise has a distinctive voice, but is very different in song composition and style from Waits (sorry, I won't bore you with some of my real music-geekiness of my love for their compositions and freeforms):

"Into My Arms":

and, "Love Letter":

I guess the basic difference between them (at least in terms of their love ballads) is Waits is the kind of guy who's going to sing a song about a tragic love of two very wounded people being together, and maybe deserving one another, but just being in a place where nothing really works out, either because they're always tearing themselves apart or because they're just in a bad place. It's an honest look at a lot of relationships today, and it's painful, but, there's always an element of beauty to it, even if it's sort of a strange and heart-string pulling beauty. Nick Cave is going to write a song about losing someone or pining for someone, and maybe there isn't much hope that it will work out. It's still beautiful, but you don't quite get that "Yeah, there's a snapshot of one piece of the world" that you do with Waits.

So...yeah, here's me being open and honest with you. I do have a very strong emotional side, as much as I try to tone it down in blogging or in writing papers or taking classes (no one really cares if you can realize that no matter how tragic some situation is, you can still find beauty in it because something made you feel that great and in love with life and living every day for a while when you're presenting a paper on homologous brain areas in humans and primates for audio/visual bimodal signal processing [yeah, okay, there's also a hint of the work I'm doing]).

And I'm trying to be careful. Cautiously hopeful. Part of it probably is the growing up bit. I guess we'll see. And good luck to you, as always. It's good talking with you.


tom sheepandgoats

I did look at a few of the Waits videos and finally ab appearance of his on Letterman. But then the related videos panel started showing some Bob Dylan sites and I sort of got sidetracked. But then I looked up Waits in Wikipedia. It's a start. He's an interesting guy that I knew nothing about. Perhaps I'll build upon it later.


Hey Tom,

He's definitely an interesting guy. Give him a chance if you have the time. He grows on you.

Also, I finally got around to responding on my own blog, check it out if you want.

Thanks again for your time and input,


Tom Sheepandgoats Harley

Okay, I see he's in the public library (his CD, I mean, not he himself) That's a good sign. I give him a try.

Too, a somewhat eccentric woman within my circle of aquaintances has legally changed her last name to Waits, after this guy. He does have fans, apparantly.


Hey Tom,

I'll be honest. I totally miss having a chance to just run by the public library. I mean, there are a lot here, but I just don't typically have the time. I'm usually stuck in the campus libraries, which, while great, have very little in the ways of "lighter" fare, which is not to say it's meaningless. I really miss being able to sit down with a nice fantasy/fiction/sci-fi book and just read the night away. Instead, reading a lot about my subject areas, which is interesting and great, but...ugh. I need a break sometimes.

And that's definitely interesting. I'm a fan...really a huge fan of Tom Waits, but I don't think I'd ever go quite that far. I've done a lot of impersonations and can do a few of his songs, but I'm not willing to completely ruin my voice and do it constantly when I'm playing. It's a fun diversion though.

Anyways, thanks again,


tom sheepandgoats

well...there's a certain flow to it. Her first name is also (I think) self-selected. It wouldn't work in all cases. Ragoth Waits sounds ridiculous.

Okay, I just returned from the library with Alice and Beautiful Maladies. Here goes.....


Hah! Yes, indeed it does. Matthew Waits...a little less so, but, still not optimal flow.

Alice is one of my favorites. I find I'm very, very careful in song selection when I'm trying to introduce people to Waits. I pick and chose heavily from albums and never just sit someone down with a whole album at once. Good luck, and let me know what you think.


Mary from Meander With Me

"But—the moron—anyone with the slightest under- standing of women knows the case is not closed. Pam simply needs time to adjust to the idea, that’s all."
Those words, your words, tells me all I need to know about you and why you fail to see what is so really wrong with most marriages—mostly with the husbands ... they fail to TALK THINGS OUT!
Thanks to a man with views much like the view in that first sentence, I look back with many regrets on what could have, and should have been the happiest years of my life. As a widow, I've been happy from the middle seventies and through my eighties. I would have lilked to have been happy in my twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties and the early seventies.
I was, indeed, expected to "get used to the idea— to whatever and to wherever his "get used to the idea" did to me, or took me.

Tom Sheepandgoats Harley

Mary, we do not disagree in this case. You haven't seen the show. The idea that Pam needs time to get used to is that she is free to follow her heart, rather than be obligated, through her upbringing or whatever, to marry Roy. The writers make it absolutely clear that she really does love Jim.

If she had married that lout Roy, and the inevitable problems resulted, and I counseled that she has to "get used to THAT idea" and listen more to what Roy has to say - in that case, your remarks would fit. But they do not fit the program as I have applied them.

You might like the show, if only because it opens one up to the world of young people. Try it and see. You can rent entire seasons of TV shows now at Blockbuster. Ask for the first season of the Office. You'll see the setting in which I placed my remarks. And there are no commercials.

Ed Hughes

Tom, of Advice and Council,
WMM: Perhaps not, but what do you think of my love advice to Ray Goth? Do you think it will be enough for him to successfully woo the young lady?

I had read the article on Jim and Pam and Ray, and while I was perusing it I thought for a moment that some hacker had inserted thoughts on the blog of Sheep and Goats, as it was unusual to see advice to the lovelorn on you blog, it was not only unusual; it was unheard of. Everybody can use advice, but most men, if it is over about 50 words have a tendency to have their minds stray from the subject. Ragoth evidently, being the man of letters that he is, indicates he gained something from your advice; so I would have to say you have achieved your objective, but Ann Landers job does not appear to be in any jeopardy at this time.



Ah yes, "successfully wooing a young lady".

There is a country song whose refrain thanks God "for unanswered prayer" that might be worth considering.

Sorta makes you take a second look at how "successfully" should be defined here.

My personal take is that I don't want a woman in my life who doesn't want to be there and wouldn't fight to stay there.

Marriage is not a 50/50 thing ... it's a 100/100 thing -- or it's nothing at all.

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