Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.
RN: At lunch the other day, as the pianist played "In the Bleak Midwinter" -- music by Gustav Holst, by the way, and the kind of anti-"Jingle Bells" that a person might not normally associate with the up-tempo Skyroom -- my mind went to regret.
CP: I have told you before: Don't feel bad about the many times you have wounded me with your slights. Especially at this holiday season, you should know that I have forgiven you, over and over.
RN: I was hoping for something along the lines of a pair of Paul Smith socks, or an iTunes gift card. But if that's your idea of a Secret Santa gift, I'll take it.
CP: I know you regret the state of disrepair along your cherished Nicollet Mall. Are there other, more personal things that you wish to share? Just between us two, natch.
RN: There were those half-dozen or so disastrous blind dates in the late 1990s, precious hours of my life that I'm never going to get back.
CP: Hours? What about the years I spent working on books that never saw the light of day? Before you throw me a pity party, I will say they were nonetheless highly enjoyable pursuits, even if they brought neither fortune nor fame.
RN: I'd prefer to throw you a book launch party -- I make a wicked- good deviled egg -- and I still think that that's going to happen. Heck, I'll even throw in a jacket blurb. A little gift from me to you.
CP: Sweet. But you, along with all my friends and relatives, have suffered enough. In general, you seem like an optimist, a milk-glass-half-full kinda guy, hale and well-met. Is there a dark side?
RN: Well, I'm a bit like Anne Bancroft's tough-as-nails ballerina character in "The Turning Point." She didn't believe in regret, and neither do I. Not much, anyway. I can safely say that I will forever lament my decision to not order the butterscotch budino the last time I dined at 112 Eatery.
CP: Jeez. Cue Barber's Adagio for Strings. I was thinking about some slightly more momentous regrets.
RN: If you're going to mention that unfortunate goatee I tried to cultivate, circa 1999, well, please don't.
CP: What about some of those get-ups I wore in the late '80s in which I ventured outside looking like a cross between Molly Ringwald and a Bay City Roller?
RN: We call that "blackmail fodder." I was going to say that I lament entering my 50s minus the benefit of offspring, but I don't. My siblings got the parental gene, and did beautifully. I can barely keep a philodendron alive, let alone a child, so it's probably best that I lack that particular DNA.
CP: I dunno. I can picture a kitchen full of wee Nelsons, whipping up puff pastries and coq au vin alongside their patient, if slightly exasperated, dads.
RN: Not having anyone to inherit my coq au vin recipe -- now that's regret.
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