Dear Professor Moriarty: Advice for a Harvard Man

This week's guest columnist is Professor Moriarty, who denies any knowledge of what happened to Prince Harry's missing puppy, though offering a large reward for finding the creature might be wise. 

Dear Professor Moriarty,

I'm a junior at Harvard who just got engaged to a beautiful pre-med whose parents are loaded. A dream, right? 

Here's the nightmare part: her brother. I live in one of their condos (yeah, they have three) and couldn't afford tuition, room, and board without this help. Her only brother, who she adores, is my roommate. Mostly, he amuses himself by tormenting me. Nair in my shampoo bottle, waking me up with an airhorn at 3 a.m. every morning and squirting Crazy Glue into the keyholes of my car—yeah, that's an average week.

It's ruining my life. Do I drop out of Harvard and break off the engagement to a great woman, or sit quietly and endure another two years of living hell?

Harvard Man Living with a Maniac

Dear Harvard Man,

Your lack of money and resources isn't such a disadvantage. It is the sharp blade that will lead to your opponent's complete evisceration.

It took years of discipline and study to get the grades and test scores to get into Harvard, since you clearly aren't a legacy admission. That grit that will lead you to true vengeance with your tormentor.

But not yet. Not now.

Take the pain, which is really a series of petty annoyances for someone of your grit and talent. 

Spend the next two years wisely, not by trying to avoid your tormentor, but by bringing him closer. Befriend him, ever so slowly, like a Burmese python squeezing its prey, inch by inch, crushing his ribs and stealing his life force. 

But not yet.

Ask him to be your best man when you marry his beautiful sister. Give him some guidance and ambition, so he doesn't spend the rest of his life loafing about in condominiums paid for by his parents. 

Help him establish a career, a wife of his own, a real life. 

Only then will you destroy him, fully and completely. 

His marriage, his career, his life. 

Everything will be ashes. 

And when he wonders how he fell so far, so fast, let him come to you, his old friend. Welcome his shambling, sobbing wreck into your arms. Only then will you reveal the true architect of all his pain.


Guy Bergstrom is a speechwriter and reformed journalist. He's represented by literary agent Jill Marr and can be found on Twitter @speechwriterguy or at his blog, For etiquette questions you want answered in this column, try

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