http://www.slate.com/id/2239567/ (12/24/2009) <-- Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There
Hey hidey ho, Shippers! How the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day?! It’s Christmas Eve! Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it, and Happy Holidays to those who celebrate something else, to the young and the old, Christmas or holidays or no! And, if you don’t celebrate any holidays at this time of year, that’s fine, too, as I hope to secularly tickle your funny bone via my non-holiday-specific submarinerly snark. With that in mind, and, because there’s much to be done before the day is finished, let’s get crackin’ on these letters, shall we?
LW#1: Dear Prudie, my younger sister is coming to visit for the holidays. This is a wonderful thing, and I’m thrilled beyond words because I love her so much, but, she recently let me know that I’ll have to ship her gifts to her home after the holidays, as she refuses to check luggage while traveling. I’m aghast by her entitlement, Prudie, aghast I tell you! I think it’s highly objectionable that she’d just assume that I’d be available to do such a thing since I’m a professional woman! She pointed out to me that if she wasn’t visiting, I’d send her gifts to her anyway, which is a bit of logic I can’t seem to escape, but, regardless, I’ve been really worked up over her presumptuousness. What should I do? You’re a professional, you say? In what field, professional dumbassedness? Professional overreacting to nothingness? Professional mountain-out-of-molehill making? This is what you’ve come up with to stress about over the holidays?! I mean, holy shit, there’s so much good stuff in any family to get resentful over, and you’ve picked this? Sure, your sister is being presumptuous (agreed), but, let me lay it out for you as to why she is being so. You’ve obviously spoiled her to the point of losing her cute little mind. I mean, I would never presume that I was receiving a gift from my brother that’s big enough to need shipping (or too big for a carry-on). Hell, I don’t even presume that I'll receive a gift?! My suggestion, if you’re really so worked up about this that you wrote in to the Internet Lady (which, by the way, may I point out, again, that this issue is about as minor as your sister borrowing your favorite blouse when the two of you were teenagers--your parents fixed that drama in thirty minutes and three sets of commercials, I’ll bet), is that you should take her big, huge-assed gifts back from whence they came and buy her a watch. Or a broach. Or an iPod. Or a gift card. And then, you know, see if you can’t start a little earlier next year on what you’re going to get stressed about for Christmas (you obviously thrive on the drama) so that you don’t look like such a fucking moron when it comes time to write to Prudie next year.
LW#2: Prudie, last month, I started seriously dating a woman that I’ve known for years (the amount of time that I’ve known her is important as it gives me all sorts of proprietary rights over her life and how she lives it that I’d otherwise not possess had I only been dating her for a month, although, after three or so months with anyone--if I ever get there--I believe those rights should be mine, regardless, but that’s another story). Well, when I was visiting her recently, she found some presents on her stoop (from a married man, no less). And she seemed to like them! He texted her while she was opening the presents and she laughed at his text! I told her in no uncertain terms to give back the presents, or donate them to charity, as I found them wholly inappropriate. It turns out, though, that she kept a small part of the gift and gave the rest away. I’m furious over this invasion of my property by another man, Prudie, and I will not have it. I am right. Thank you for agreeing. Listen here, you pea-brained, mother fucking, not-even-good-enough-for-catching-weasel-shit-in-your-mouth-as-it’s-an-insult-to-the-weasels-to-ask-them-to-squat-over-your-gaping-maw-and-shit-there asshole. You are not her keeper. Get it, you professional dick cheese licker reject? You are not shit to her, actually. And that’s obvious. Even if she did like you, which, thankfully, doesn't seem to be the case, a month is about the time in your relationship when you get to ask if you can keep a toothbrush at her place, not demand anything. Ever. Got that?? And that toothbrush question presumes that she likes you enough to have you sleep over sometimes. In this case, you aren’t even important enough to her that she delay taking texts from other people. You don’t know shit about this man, or the appropriateness of his presents, you presumptuous fucking piece of ass mung. Why don’t you leave this woman alone and go live in a cave somewhere. Those surroundings would be about correct for your disposition and sense of propriety. You can reign over the animals there. Have fun.
LW#3: Prudie, my fiancée’s aunt recently sent us a Christmas card that is basically a piece of political propaganda espousing a view that’s opposed to our own (it was anti-healthcare insurance reform, if you must know). My fiancée and I are very upset about this. Why, we are nearly as upset as LWs #1 & 2 combined! Perhaps even more so! Whatever can we do, Prudie? Should we send an equally objectionable card back to her aunt? Confront her over family dinner on Christmas Eve with facts and statistics and a PowerPoint show? Shoot the aunt with a potato gun? All of the above? We are very well-spoken and intelligent, Prudie, and we can take her in a debate over the issues! Well, I have only one question for you, junior: how would you two have felt if the card had said, “Our wish for Christmas is that every American be afforded the humane right of basic healthcare”? Would you have smiled smugly and taped it to your kitchen cabinet door with all of the other 100% organic cards that you’ve received? Listen, I’m a tree-hugging, green, crazy liberal myself. And I’m at peace with what that means. But if your skin is so thin that one aunt’s inappropriate Christmas card (and yes, it was definitely inappropriate) gets you this worked up, you obviously don’t have a Facebook account. Or work in the public. Or interact with anyone outside of your tight circle of like-minded friends. And that’s not healthy. You should go to Christmas dinner and simply pretend you didn’t get the card. Unless she asks. In which case you can simply and politely say, “Oh, yes, the one with the little baby Jesus in swadling clothes and Three Wise Men and ‘Reason for the Season’ in script on the front cover wherein Mary and Joseph were cared for by a benevolent community aware of the social and economic plight of the poor and uninsured? Especially considering the fact that they were white, light-haired and blue-eyed (and obviously in the significant minority because of those facts) while living in the Middle East? We didn’t even open it to look at the message inside as the cover was so magnificent! It was a beautiful card, thank you!” Okay, actually only the last sentence is appropriate to say to her. And if you do, without any hint of anger or even that you noticed the political message, you’ll be the ones to have taken the high road. Got it?
LW#4: Dear Prudence, I’m an asshole of the highest order. Well, okay, not quite to LW#2’s level, but I’m an asshole. I like to prank-wrap Christmas presents because I enjoy the frustration and forced civility of others as they try to get at the trinkets inside my impenetrable wrapping. It’s an emotional power play, yes, I admit it, but, fair enough, I suppose, because, after all, my presents are so worth the effort. Anyway, my future mom-in-law doesn’t like me much, even though I’m significantly better off financially than her and her husband. She's even had the gall to question my financial standing! But, I’m being magnanimous and giving her a Christmas gift anyway. Trick is, I’ve wrapped it in my greatest wrapping ever: an almost-impenetrable metal box that will require tin snips and plasma torches to open. My girlfriend thinks this is a gift too far and that it’ll lead to more tension between me and her mom. What do you think? What do I think? That you are an asshole of the highest order and that you deserve nothing less than a swift kick in the nuts. And a permanent address next to LW#2’s cave. In the rain.
Well, shippers, that’s it! All done! I wish all of you the happiest holidays ever. I wish that I could visit with you all in a big celebration. By a fire perhaps with lots of eggnog and fun and frivolity. It’s been a wonderful year and I feel genuinely blessed with so many e-friends. You guys are the greatest. Happy holidays to you all. And here’s to many, many more! And, see you next week when 2009 will be just about to bid us adieu. Fair winds, shippers, and lots of crusty hugs, all around. But don’t get used to those! It’s the eggnog talking!