11:31 a.m. November 12, 2012

Are you there, advice columnist? It's me, [NAME WITHHELD]

Last July, a New York Times column called “The Ethicist” published an anonymous inquiry that began as follows:

"My wife is having an affair with a government executive. His role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership..."

In light of last week's events, it would be easy to assume that the “government executive” is former CIA Director David Petraeus, who admitted to an extramarital affair and resigned on Friday. And indeed many assumed exactly that.

But no. New York Times Magazine Editor Hugo Lindgren says the column is not about Petraeus, which on one hand is terribly disappointing, but on the other is terribly exciting: we may have another juicy scandal to look forward to in the future.

Indeed, a search through the Ethicist's archives suggests all manner of skeletons just waiting to emerge from their closets...

November 7th, 2012 I am a senior female government employee nearing retirement, but everyone keeps telling me I should reapply to the dream job I almost got a few years ago. The interview process is quite rigorous and I’m not sure I want to endure scrutiny again. On the other hand, my philandering husband held the position for eight years, and I’d love to stick it to him by doing the job better than he did. Should I sacrifice my freedom and go for it? NAME WITHHELD October 4th, 2012 I am a gigantic, anthropomorphic animal beloved the world over as a children’s educator. I was recently embroiled in controversy after a leading political figure mentioned me by name in the context of funding cuts. Now that I’m an unwitting political football, is it acceptable to unleash the dark rage I’ve buried deep inside for over forty years? Or should I just keep feigning happiness for the sake of the children? (Also: I'm worried my co-worker might have had sex with a 16 year old.) NAME WITHHELD October 24th, 2012 After a lot of thoughtful consideration, I recently announced on television that fetuses resulting from rape were something God intended to happen. For some reason, this stance is proving unpopular with the ladies. What’s the best way for me to take back my remarks publicly while continuing to fervently believe them privately? NAME WITHHELD November 8th, 2012 I’m the sitting Vice President of the United States. I want to be President, but Hillary’s more popular than me. What should I do? NAME WITHHELD October 30th, 2012 I am a massive meteorological phenomenon who enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and hanging out in New York City. Unfortunately, everybody seems to dwell only on my size and my destructive habits. This hurts my feelings, and my copious tears just seem to make everyone even more upset. How do I get people to see my sunny side? NAME WITHHELD November 12th, 2012 I am the editor of a start-up publication that that combines journalism with jokes. Lately, my writers have been turning in a lot of schlock. How do I explain that they are all one bad pastiche away from being replaced with computer-enhanced monkeys? Would an anonymous letter do the trick? NAME WITHHELD