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Dr. Vitamin

Good For What Ails You

 I am deathly afraid of hot air balloons, and was wondering if you knew a way I could cure myself of this affliction.


Fear can manifest itself in bizarre ways. I’ve always had an irrational fear of wasps, which could have stemmed from this time I was playing baseball with my sister and she shoved me into a swing set (which we were using as second base). As it turned out, a family of wasps were living in the swing set and the jostling caused an angry wasp to fly out and sting me in the face. Now, getting stung in the face is a good reason to be scared of wasps. But the issue could also be socioeconomic, because had we been able to afford real bases, I wouldn’t have gotten stung in the face.

Your fear of hot air balloons, on the other hand, is completely warranted. Being placed in a wicker basket with 4 other people and suspended hundreds of feet above the Earth, doesn’t appeal to anyone who is claustrophobic, agoraphobic, or has a fear of heights. And I think everyone is uncomfortable with the idea of standing next to a propane tank that shoots fire directly over their head.

If you really want to beat this affliction, though, I’m afraid there’s only one way to do it–put on a straight jacket and get on a hot air balloon. Spend the entire day floating around the ether at a snails pace, making small talk with 4 other people who are standing uncomfortably close to one another. You will realize that there is actually nothing to fear–except maybe an awkward silence.

Thanks for your question,

Dr. Vitamin


 If a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one there to hear it, did that tree really fall? Or was it already lying there?


Well, Rachel, when a tree fell on my car a couple of months ago during that big storm, I didn’t actually hear it happen. I was fast asleep under layers of blankets, like a human lasagna. All I know is, the next morning when I looked out the window, a tree was in the passenger seat of my car. I’m 98% sure the tree was not lying there the night before when I parked the car. On the other hand, I was pretty drunk, so I don’t really remember.

Thanks for the question,

Dr. Vitamin

Why am I so nauseated all the time?


There are many causes for nausea: stress, foul odors, stage fright, Aerosmith, two little puppies playing tug of war with a frisbee. I suspect it stems from tension, but I can’t be sure unless we meet in person to do a full examination. How does your weekend look?

First, I’d like to take you to Whole Foods. I’ll be your food ambassador and load you up with healthy fruits and vegetables. Then, we can go back to your place and try out some new recipes. I’ll burn some scented candles for relaxation–aromatherapy is an effective way to reduce nausea. Then,  I’ll use massage therapy techniques to help pinpoint where the tension is being stored–I call this area “the box,” because what do we do with things that we don’t want? We put them in boxes. My job is to open your box, Karen, and relieve you of that unwanted tension.  Then, when we’re done, you can pay me for my services.

I hope the thought of that made you a little less nauseated.

Thanks for the question,

Dr. Vitamin

Why is the germination rate of my spinach so low this year?


I don’t know, Travis. Why is the nerd rate of your question so high?

Honestly, I don’t know much about agriculture. The last two plants I had died from unknown causes. Maybe your spinach plants are upset with you because you went to Argentina for 3 months, and this is their way of protesting. Maybe they feel hurt that you didn’t invite them and left them alone in a polluted city. Maybe, when they received your postcard from Patagonia, they were hunkered down next to a space heater taking Sporcle quizzes, trying to get the circulation back in their fingers, and now they’re expressing themselves–passive aggressively.

Also, try using new seeds. Oftentimes, old seeds result in low germination, according to an online gardening forum–more like gardening boredom!

Thanks for your question,

Dr. Vitamin

What are some of your fondest memories from childhood?

–Margie (sister)

I look back fondly on how gullible I was growing up. I remember riding in the backseat of our parents’ car, on our way home from Bananza. You performed a magic trick that involved making a handkerchief disappear. When I asked where it went, you told me it was back at the restaurant. Stunned was I. Then, to top it off, you made the handkerchief reappear! My eyes bulged out of my 6 year old head, as every rule I had ever learned governing reality was now obsolete. It was the same feeling I got after watching Back to the Future II and believing that hoverboards were real. It was addicting, which is probably why I believed in Santa Clause for so long.

Fortunately, my ability to suspend my disbelief hasn’t faded entirely. I sometimes fantasize about winning a Grammy for best album of the decade, or discussing innovative teaching techniques on NPR. Also, I still believe that I will someday build a bike with a propeller–like a helicopter–that will rotate when I pedal and fly over the city, like in the movie E.T.

Thanks for your question Sis,

Dr. Vitamin

Where did you get the name “Dr. Vitamin?”


Dr. Vitamin is a nickname that was given to my great grandfather, Dr. E.V. McCollum. He taught at John Hopkins and discovered vitamins A and D. He was a great man, and I thought it would be appropriate to name a rock band after him.

Has the recent rain fall changed any of your plans?

–Neil L

I’m glad you asked me that Neil. You see, the rain never causes me to change my plans, only to alter them slightly. If there’s a wreck on I65 (due to slick conditions), I will take I265 to get to work instead. Either way, I go to work.

My friend Steve, on the other hand, is not a man. He was supposed to have a cookout this weekend in honor of my CD release of Polar Bear (now available on itunes), but apparently it’s too rainy. I think we should postpone your thing, man.–Steve

Well, Steve, I think we should postpone our friendship until you grow a pair. They didn’t reschedule Woodstock because it rained. They made a gigantic mud pit and romped around in it for three days. No one complained about killing the grass or tracking mud into the house… Look, Steve, I promise that everyone will romp responsibly, and it won’t get out of control. Then, afterwards, we can all go into your house and get cleaned up.

So yes, Neil, the recent rainfall has caused me to change some of my plans. My CD release party got canceled, and as a result, Steve and I aren’t on speaking terms. I’ll probably apologize to him soon, though… I really need to use his car this weekend.

Thanks for the question,

Dr. Vitamin