The Matters w/ Matt: Pop Smoke and Ex-fil

Every Wednesday: I never fail to be disgusted with advice columns. I am unsure why they still get paid to do what they do. As always, I am in awe when it comes to awful examples like Ask Amy and Dear Prudence. The columnists seem to get rewarded for giving you bad advice. I think that people get terrible advice from them. I don’t blame anyone that calls advice column responses garbage. I use my postings to correct these responses and help society by being an utmost asshole, (as always, a hat tip to Aaron Clarey at Asshole Consulting).

Consider this piece from Dear Abby’s column (courtesy of ArcaMax) from May 12, 2021:

(Dear Matters):

I’ve been in an off-and-on marriage for eight years. My husband drinks every day. Once he’s reached a certain alcohol level, he curses me and talks trash about my family. He is no longer affectionate with me. Our marriage is toxic. We are living like roommates instead of husband and wife. He won’t go to AA and is very disrespectful, and I’m going to leave him. What do you think? —- Can’t Do It Anymore

(Dear CDIA):

The vast majority of military leaders have a level of trust in their people when it comes to operations on the ground. If someone on the team on the ground sees something that is continually going south, beyond what they can handle, the leader understands when they “pop smoke” or call for an exfiltration.

They leave and find an exit, heading for a safer place to regroup and note their condition. The group in the operation might be disappointed but it gives them an opportunity to find another approach at a later time. It also might show them a safer way to get to the objective.

In your situation, you are a one-person team. Your objective might have started as having a healthy marriage or a lifetime of mutual success. But you found yourself in an odd position.

The battle went south. The civilians (husband) went from non-combatants to belligerents. They are no longer an asset. You are receiving verbal threats and the local town is no longer hospitable. The new belligerents are not affected by your request for them to speak to a neutral party intermediary (counselor/organization).

Fast forward to current day, you find yourself on the cusp of things blowing over beyond what you can handle. Violence is seconds away. The best time to call for an ex-fil was yesterday. The second-best time is today.

You can hear the helicopter blades in the distance. You have support of people that care. As a leader, you have the option of throwing the smoke grenade in a clearing. Picking up what you can salvage of your material condition and landing further away. There is no crying over lost work.

It is up to you when it comes to making the decisions that affect your life’s objectives, but when they are no longer attenable in their current playing field, it may be necessary to find another.


I don’t imagine that I will have a shortage of emails to answer. I would love to start doing this for anyone that sends me an email. If this is you; email us at

If you hate advice columns; I don’t blame you. If it isn’t soft people giving advice; it is someone trying to justify acting like an insensitive asshole. Till next week.

About freemattpodcast

Lead shill for The FreeMatt Podcast
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2 Responses to The Matters w/ Matt: Pop Smoke and Ex-fil

  1. jyvurentropy says:

    Good advice here. I like the military allegory

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: FreeMatt in Review: 5-10 to 5-14 | Mogadishu Matt

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