Ask Vlad: President Putin’s Advice Column for Concerned Parents

August 22, 2013

Michael Murray currently lives and works in Toronto. He has an extensive wardrobe and is a dominant and intimidating presence on the Bocce Ball field...

Dear Mr. Putin,
First off, I just want to thank you for all the excellent advice you consistently dole out. As a single parent I’ve found raising a child extremely taxing, and having your voice to lean on is an immense help. You are light years ahead of Dr. Phil, who I don’t actually think has a PhD in anything.

Anyway, my boy R has been very withdrawn around me lately. He barely even talks and I don’t have a clue what’s going on in his life. I know it’s an invasion of privacy, but should I be checking his email and chat records just to make sure he’s not getting into any trouble?

JDK in New York

Dear JDK,
There are many single mothers in America and your problem is not unique. Obviously, you don’t want to breach the trust of your son, but to be a leader you must be decisive and stern! You must sometimes burn your enemies! As it turns out, Randy—whom you named after disgraced country singer Randy Travis—is not behaving in an abnormal way. While on the Internet he looks at pictures of naked girls, plays video games and chats with his friends. It is true that he is experimenting with pot, Ms. Samantha Parsons, and that he lost his virginity with the school slut three months ago, but he is not building bombs. He is a normal, slow, American boy. That being said, I think it is only prudent that as a leader and parent, you monitor his activities and is a good starting tool for a naïve Westerner. And Samantha, good luck with your new relationship with Graham. He is trying to conceal his gambling habit and OCD from you, but otherwise he is not a danger.


Dear Vlad,
My wife and I have a 14-year-old boy that I think might be gay. We love him unconditionally and really don’t care about his sexuality. We just want to be present and supportive, especially during the potentially difficult time of coming out. Do you have any advice on how to proceed?

Proud Father in Kentucky

Dear Proud Father,
It is too soon to know if your boy is abnormal or not, so I would advise you to try not to worry. Certainly, the homosexual lifestyle is deviant and mysterious, but your child may yet prove to be worthy of your pride. I do not say this to many people, but your question has touched my heart and so I will make a confession.

When I was young my parents had similar concerns to yours. Although I was very robust and heterosexual, they worried that I enjoyed wrestling with other boys too much, often in what they often considered strange and tender contexts. I remember well Dimtri—he was a beautiful match for me. Somehow, even in the city, he always smelled like the forest. And although he was very slender and smooth, he was strong. Our hands would interlock and then his blonde hair would brush against my skin, and we would wrestle together for hours on the sofa when his parents were out. Such competition! They were golden times, I must say.

My family did not like wrestling, and so I taught myself to not love wrestling. I filled the wrestling hole with many other violent activities until I was able to channel all of my rage and desire for wrestling into becoming the powerful heterosexual man that I am now! Proud Father, you must mercilessly crush your son’s passions as if they were a doomed rebellion, and beat him until he becomes steel, for that will make him happy. As I am every night when I stare into the fire after having looked at old wrestling photographs.


Dear Vlad,
My son plays Gears of War constantly. He’s gone so far as to alter one of the characters to look like me. He waits until I’m in his room cleaning and then he shoots a grenade launcher at my character’s head so that it explodes all over the screen. It’s disgusting, there are bits of brain everywhere. Should I ground him?

Worried in Wisconsin

Dear Worried,
Personally, I am a huge fan of Gears of War, and obviously my favourite character is Garron Paduck. I have to say, it took hours for the small workers at the University of Moscow to change his features so that he looked like me. You should feel blessed to have a son of such great technological and military aptitude, as it is no small feat to alter the characters in GOW. And to do so while still so young shows great promise!

It can be difficult to raise a son. I remember what a headache my teenaged daughter Yekaterina was for my ex-wife, so I understand your pain, but I would rule against grounding at this point. Just have a talk with the boy, and let him know that you appreciate and are proud of his masculine skills, and that he isn’t a frustrated homosexual. But do suggest he change the character’s appearance to something more appropriate, like a prostitute or an ugly, bullied classmate.

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Michael Murray currently lives and works in Toronto. He has an extensive wardrobe and is a dominant and intimidating presence on the Bocce Ball field. He won the New Yorker Cartoon Caption contest and dislikes Cuba. He works as a creative writer, copywriter, blogger and “journalist” and as he is modest, he feels awkward talking about his genius, which he recently found out does not translate into IQ tests. His work has appeared in the Toronto Standard, Slant Magazine, the Ottawa Citizen and