From a Submariner's Perspective is a weekly column, written in response to the letters sent in to advice columnist "Prudie" at Each week, The Submariner responds to the letter writers in a way that author, Emily Yoffe, probably can't (but perhaps would like to...). Each entry is headed with a link to the orginal questions and Yoffe's answers. Enjoy!

Also, if you have questions that you'd like answered by The Submariner, or anyone here at "The Fly", just write to me at and I'll forward to the appropriate party/parties for an answer (or you can write to them directly via the e-mail addresses on their pages)! Once the answers are published, I'll drop you a note letting you know.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

...on the Non-Hereditary Nature of Alzheimer's...  (03/25/10) <--- Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey there Shippers! And happy Prudie Day to you, one and all! How in the hell are ya today? Is spring springing for you, or are you still in the throes of winter’s frost and cheerless gray gloom? Here, the sun is shining. There may be clouds straggling around, sometimes even harsh ones with rain, but, still, the days are growing brighter and longer with each new dawn. The early morning’s tranquility at the office is now once again accented by Jody Calls, some quite elaborate, belted out at top decibel as company after company jogs by under my office windows. Some are so well conceived, in fact, and so well structured (many with two and three part harmony and dual-simultaneous melodies) that they’re worthy of being recorded (in my humble opinion, anyway). They almost make me want to go back to my days aboard the boat...almost. But, enough of my ramblings! It’s a fine, fine Prudie Day and we’ve got letters to get to, Shippers! So let’s get to ‘em, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, I recently learned from my grandmother, who is the primary caretaker of my grandfather (who has Alzheimer’s), that though my uncles may need to worry about Alzheimer’s in their futures, my father does not. “Shhh!” she added, with a twinkle in her eyes, you know, to make sure I actually got the full salaciousness of her barely-veiled innuendo. Aside from being bummed that I’m no longer my grandfather’s grandchild, I’m wondering if my dad would be bummed, too, to find out that he’s not actually his dad’s son? So, I’m thinking of telling him. You know, for purely altruistic reasons. I mean, my dad’s health might not be at risk after all! And just think of all the things he could do with that knowledge now that he doesn’t have to worry about Alzheimer’s! What do you think about this plan? Well, first off Sherlock, I think you should get your facts straight. Alzheimer’s is only known to be inherited in one very rare form of the disease (FAD (Familial Alzheimer’s Disease) which affects less than 10% of patients), and, even then, it can be inherited through either parent’s gene mutations. Grandpa’s disease, then, is likely entirely irrelevant to your father’s potential health whether he’s your dad’s biological father or not. I know that’s not what you wanted to hear. I know that what you really want is some drama (will your eyes twinkle as you tell him?)! You want excitement! You want to see pain and hurt and destruction! But, instead of fucking up your dad’s life, why don’t you, instead, go rent a chick flick or two? Find one rife with cancer and death and divorce and strong-willed, defiant victims who overcome early life adversity to walk into the sunset of their lives smiling. And hey, while looking, see if you can’t find one that includes a female character who’s certain that a particular child of hers belongs to one man, only to find out later, through a dramatic and touching DNA test sequence scene, that, holy-shit-surprise-ending, she was mistaken and that the father her child had grown up with was, in fact, the “real” father all along. Also, ruminate on what the definition of “father” is and see if you can glean how important actually providing sperm is to fulfilling that role. You know, for altruistic reasons.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I was married to a truly horrific, mentally-unstable, abusive woman. During our divorce, she abused me, broke windows out of my apartment in a drunken rage, and honestly concerned me enough for my safety that I had a restraining order taken out. Well she broke the order multiple times and was jailed for four months! Seriously. I wish that I was kidding, Prudie. Finally, after a long healing period, I’ve begun to get my life together and am even dating a woman from the same small neighborhood where I live. Well, my ex found out that I’m dating and sent letters to all of our neighbors, stating that my new girlfriend was the reason for our divorce. Now the neighbors seem to be eyeing us, and, sadly, according to my lawyer, my ex’s letter writing to the neighbors isn’t covered under the restraining order. What should we do? My girlfriend is uncomfortable, too, and it’s causing a lot of stress? So, the restraining order doesn’t work, eh? And your lawyer verified that? Did he get his law degree from a fucking Cracker Jack box? Ever heard of libel? All you need is one copy of the letter, Skippy. You need to quit being a fucking pansy and pull up your big boy panties and either, a) move away and not let your ex know where you are (which is actually a fine option in this case because I don't care how reasonable you are, you can't reason with the irrational or the insane. But this solution will only work if you can stand being without the drama), or, b) get enough self confidence in you so that you can ignore any neighbors who are so fucking dumb-assed stupid as to judge you based on the ravings of a clearly unstable twit, or, c) fuck you ex so far up her asshole with the legal system that she’ll burp litigation and hear banging gavels in her sleep (from inside her skull). If someone libeled my girlfriend, I know what I’d do (after I fired my dumbass lawyer, of course).

LW#3: Dear Prudie, my sister “Whorebitchica McEvil” just had a baby. She’s going to be out of town for an event and has asked our mutual sister, “Sweet Caroline L’Perfection”, if she, her husband and their evil mutant devil spawn infant may stay the night with Caroline after the event, as Caroline’s house is halfway to their home from the event. Sweet Caroline is understandably distraught over such a rude, heartless, selfish, cheap, horrid request and definitely and understandably doesn’t want her or her husband’s sleep disturbed by the evil mutant hell spawn child of Whorebitchica, and, all of the inconveniences that go along with having one of them in the house in the first place. Caroline asked me what to do and now I’m asking you, because, to me, Sweet Caroline ought to tell Whorebitchica to quit being rude and to rent a hotel room. I mean, the nerve! What say you, Prudie? I say that it’s not even worth my time to explain to you what a contemptuous waste of loose skin and air you and your “sweet” sister are, because the explanation would be so lost on you that the effort would be an exercise in complete and utter futility. I agree that anyone has a right to host or refuse to host anyone they choose. But I would also suggest that using an innocent baby, an infant, as an excuse not to host for a single night is not only immature and virulent, it smacks of a jealousy and bitchiness and pettiness that you ought to have outgrown in, say, the 8th grade or so? And finally, just so you know, I’d like to share what I took away from your letter. You know how when you’re wiping your ass and how one in a million times you slip or the toilet paper slips, or whatever, and you directly touch your ass, I mean, you know, right there? To where you just know that you got some shit on your finger, and probably even under your fingernail? You know how, even though it's your own  body and you know it's entirely irrational, you can’t wait to not only wipe the finger with toilet paper, but how you feel an almost compulsive need to immediately get to the sink and scrub the hell out of your finger, maybe even with something stronger than soap and a washcloth? You know how, even afterwards, the idea of the dirtiness sort of clings to you for minutes or even hours? Well, for me, that’s you and your sweet sister Caroline. You guys are like errant shit, stuck under the fingernail of my soul. May you live a life free of noise and clutter and unexpected guests, and may I never, ever, ever cross paths with you, even by accident.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’m the youngest person in my office by over ten years. I have two questions. The first is that I don’t know what to say when my co-workers point out their gray hair, wrinkles or expanding waistlines and say, “this is what happens when you get older!” I don’t want to offend them, but I don’t know what to say in response. Also, because my mom works here (although in a different department), a number of people have asked me if my mom got me my job. What should I say to that? I’m a young, educated, hard-charging careerist and am offended by the implication that I was nepotised into my job. I earned my spot here! Okay, youngin’, the first question is easy. Recognize this self-deprecating humor for the compliment that it is. You are young and beautiful. Your co-workers are sort of gently envious. Lost youth is something many people lament and it’s easy to do when the eyesight starts going and the hair starts growing in places it shouldn’t and then a young, vibrant, attractive person comes into view. It can be a wistful, melancholy time. There are so many things you could say to these statements, though! From, “Oh, no, I think you look great” (if you really thinks so, and surely not all of your coworkers are flabby, graying blobs), to “Well, you know, everyone ages differently. I mean, Chuck Norris just turned 70 years old and I hear that he’s still so fast that he rubs ice cubes together to start a campfire! So, you know, there’s hope for us all!” As for the questions about your mom, you have to look at the questioner in a way that almost signifies pained regret, as if you sincerely didn’t know that was even possible, and say, “Was that even an option?! She never even offered me. (sad pause) Did she get other people jobs here?!” Or, just come with a stern look and say, “No, I got my job here based on my skills and merits.” I would only use the latter on those who truly deserve it, though, because it can be seen as, rawr, catty! Most of all, though, just recognize that, as you get entrenched there and your work is what you become known for, there will be fewer and fewer comments about your mom and your rockin’ bod (by comparison), and they’ll be replaced by other, often equally as uncomfortable ones about your work, or who you’re sleeping with to get where you are, etc. Welcome to the fun! Yay!

Well, Shippers, that’s it for another fine, fine Prudie Day! I was going along the other day, minding my own business, when, out of the corner of my ears, I heard someone say “frozen jalapeno poppers”. Now, I was pretty sure that I’d actually fainted and was just imagining it, but, nope! They actually exist! And, while they’ll surely never be a replacement for the real thing, they might just hold you over in one of those moments of quiet desperation when you really want to be hangin’ around the Lagoon, grilling jalapenos with the gang, but just can’t make it. I hope everyone has had and will have a wonderful week! Fair winds and following seas to you all, Shippers!


  1. They do indeed exist, Mon Capitan! Those frozen jalapeno poppers can be quite tasty. Not as good as freshly grilled, of course, but quiet tasty all the same.

    Not nearly as delicious as your responses, of course, but quite tasty! =-)

  2. Tis' a fine form you are in on this fine Prudie day Smaggie or is it Smag'ster this week? I find myself enjoying the weather as it changes every couple of hours, from a smokin' hot 70's to a brisk 50 degree day with howling winds, but that's Oregon in the banana belt in our little valley protected by surrounding mountains.

    I am saddened to think you have all the melodious Jody Calls under your window and somehow I find I only have one fat Robin tweeting his heart out...and may I say that when he really get to tweeting under my window, I want to throw more than a shoe at 4 am in the summertime?

    So Smag'ster, are those melodic Jody Calling boys and girls of the military kind with all those muscles and well bred smiles? Hmmm a girl can ponder this view? I am certain they aren't dashing past in uniform but I can see those manly men in uniform and what's not to like about that. Hmmm...maybe I am pondering the beauty of youth since I am now amongst the crowd sprouting those unsuspecting pesky hairs...sheesh, what's up with that?

    At least being female I do hope I'll never have to trim hair out of my ears as that would put me over the top. As it is chasing around that pesky chin hair is more that I wish to admit, but since I'm growing into my old age acceptance is good to practice....after all I do understand nose hair may be next on the list. And I'M NOT READY. Sorry.

    I guess I've not much to say about the letter's this week, you pretty well summed it up. I do wonder about the sister coming to visit though. I wonder what her story is that the sister does not wish to make room for her and the baby. I'm thinking it has nothing to do with the baby really. I have trouble also with any favor that begins with....since you are half where I really want to where there's more fun than at your place. I don't know, how do you feel if you live half way to, Las Vegas and your family only visits while they are on their way to? Interesting letter.

    And the nut job wife that jail time didn't dent her enthusiasm for terrorizing this poor man. He needed to ignore her a long time ago, he is feeding her illness by continuing contact if he chooses to combat her via the law. But, maybe he needs to spend lots of money, time and effort to prove she's a nut job. Hell, all the neighbor's already know this about her after her letter to clear things up. Who in their right mind would think a letter to the neighbor's would have value...other than cementing in their minds that you have certainly lost it.

    Once again I have been entertained by the variety of issues people create and I am surely going to miss out on all that drama in my life hopefully. Chasing down that chin hair will be enough for me...that's real drama...heaven's forbid that you miss one and then get silhouetted by the sun!

    Happy trails to you...until next time...;o)

  3. Debbie,

    About the half-way thing.....I dunno, it never really bothered me that frequently we saw my uncle and his family as we were "on the way" to Montana in the tiny burg of George. I do remember people coming to visit us some, but I also remember them doing the stop over thing, or even just the dinner and gone thing. It never seemed rude or presumptuous to me, more like "I'll be in the neighborhood, but won't have the time to stay as long as I'd like, but would sure love to see you for the time I have," type of favor. If that makes sense? =-)

  4. Hey Libby! Thank you for the endorsement of the frozen peppers! :-) I may just have to break down and give 'em a try. :-) And I'm with you, the more family and friends that stop by, announced or no, on their way somewhere else or no, I'm happy! It's a beautiful thing. :-) Good cheer!

  5. Hey Debbie! Sadly, I have to chase the ear and nose variety. The chin ones are okay with me, though. ;-)

    As for the Jody Calls, they actually are in uniform, it's just their PT uniform. Please see pic here (warm weather and cool weather gear): And yes, they are nice firm, young, very hard young men and women (I prefer the latter variety, but, to each his or her own). There's nothing wrong with looking! ;-)

    Good cheer to you, Debbie!

  6. SB1, you have such an enviable way of dealing with the irrational (3).

    As for 2, I suspect it may be too late. He didn't handle it well, and his new inamorata didn't have the substance to rise above it. If they stay together, she'll only make him make up for it.

  7. Greetings, my Captain! It's so delicious to be back in our lovely Lagoon together, don't you agree? And don't think it was just the allure of jalapeno poppers that drew your Mermaid here. You know better than that. ;)

    You know, Diving Buddy, they say the dinosaurs looked at Chuck Norris wrong. Just once.

    I am trying to understand the last line in your response to LW#1. Or maybe I'm just trying to spice things up with a heated debate so we can "make up" later, if you know what I mean. At any rate, can you please explain what you mean? Do you think the father shouldn't be told if in fact it turns out that his biological father is someone other than who he thinks he is? Because I understand the concept of family, and I understand that bodily fluids do not a relationship make, but I also think it's incredibly presumptuous for one person to decide FOR another person that they don't need to have this information, for whatever reason. I am particularly troubled by a child knowing this about their parent, and sharing that secret with their grandparent. Is the father some innocent rube who must be protected from the truth?

    Did you know that when the Boogeyman goes to bed every night he checks his closet for Chuck Norris?

    Ladies, speaking of relatives who use one's home as a waystation, I'd like to extend this scenario for your perusal: I was raised in Southern California, about 20 minutes from Disneyland, 15 minutes from Knott's Berry Farm, and 30 minutes from Universal Studios Hollywood. During the summer, far-flung relatives would descend like lemmings onto our modest home ~ it was amazing how many loved ones we suddenly had when the weather turned warm. They'd go about their day to "get out of our hair" ~ and return tanned, smelling of cotton candy, and mouse-eared up. Sometimes they were kind enough to invite us 3 kids along ~ and sometimes they weren't. My mother took to not answering the phone from April to September.

    Did you know that Chuck Norris can blow bubbles with beef jerky? He also uses Tabasco instead of Visine.

    Captain Love (ooh, I like that!), it may be that LW#2's ex has circumnavitated the terms of the restraining order by making the letter all about the girlfriend. If she said nothing about the LW, he'd have no cause of action for libel. If she said something like "She's a whore who destroyed my marriage" then he'd have no recourse, but his girlfriend likely would. It would be giving the ex too much credit for thinking she could ruin her husband's budding relationship with his girlfriend by embroiling her in an ugly lawsuit due to his ugly past ~ but I have seen it happen too often to discount the possibility.

    Chuck Norris doesn't believe in Germany.

    Not much to say about your brilliant response to LW#3. Mermaids don't ever have to wipe.

    Chuck Norris isn't lactose intolerant. He just doesn't put up with lactose's shit.

    So ~ tell me Smagboy ~ why did you go so easy on LW#4, hmmm? Is it because you think she's so "young and beautiful"? Hisssssssssssss! *Not after a little visit from Mermaid, she won't be*

    I heard that when Chuck Norris crosses the street, the cars have to look both ways.

    Debbie, I once read a very early interview with a very young Cindy Crawford and she said that, during one of her first photo shoots, the photographer paused, squinted, leaned forward, and yanked her nose hairs out. I think you're in good company.

    See you on the other side of the Lagoon, Diving Buddy! What say you bring the bacon, I'll supply the cheese, and we'll make beautiful jalapeno poppers together...

    btw, Chuck Norris isn't gay. He's just run out of women.

  8. Smag,

    THIS is classic: "Aside from being bummed that I’m no longer my grandfather’s grandchild, I’m wondering if my dad would be bummed, too, to find out that he’s not actually his dad’s son? "

    I was LMAO reading that one!

    And then, you outdid yourself again with the shit under the fingernail thing. It was so grossly described that it really did capture the ick feeling I got when reading that bitch's letter.

    You truly do have an enviable way of dealing with idiots. A great mix of snark but in such a good natured way that the less intelligent of these letter writers (oh hell, that does mean ALL of them, doesn't it?) might smile along a bit at first and then get confused looks in their dumb little eyes.

    It IS springing here in CT on this fine fine Prudie day. I am pleased to think of you with your window listening to the sounds of the season.

  9. Greeting's, it's coffee time! Where's the Jalapeno Popper's when you need an awakening? I need a few munchie-upper's this fine morning.

    Smaggie, YOU Rascal, hitting me visually with firm and young before my coffee, when I'm all warm and fuzzy coming from my bed.

    The Visiting Sister letter.

    I wish I had Libby's experience, and I'm glad I didn't have Mermaid's summer's filled with, see you, going to The Castle now, be back for bedtime kiddies. Those summer days as a kid were long and hot, there wasn't a day we didn't wish for something fun to do, having visitor's heading to Disneyland, I'd be eating worms feeling sorry. What pressure this must have caused for Mermaid's mother!

    I had a guest bed, it was used by an old roommate of mine who would pop in to visit her sister as if it hadn't been years since speaking. Her sister was such a bad housekeeper, the coffee table was piled high with dirty dishes. A nightmare. Smaggie would say ACK. I agree!

    I'd make sure all the things that had landed on the bed over time were moved,set the clock, add a magazine etc. She would arrive with her 12 pack, get so'ooo drunk, she would sleep between the mattress pad and the bare mattress. I can handle partying, but not being able to slide between the sheets added to my disgust, and overall feelings of being used. Her visit's were all about her needs. She left me shed of any warm and fuzzy feelings. And to this day she is still the same, only the bed is long gone and now she stays with her sister, after washing all her dishes. I do feel all warm and fuzzy once again, I feel more gracious toward's her than ever before.

    Maybe I've been trained to be confused with unexpected guests. My only grandparents would travel from Minnesota without giving any indication that they were coming! They came in their camper over many years and weren't looking for a place to stay. I remember how strange it felt as a young adult to be at work and turn around, there would be my beloved grandmother's face amongst all the customer's in the lobby. They would stay for a few days, I was working with no time off before they left for the Oregon coast fishing, then they would come back through unannounced on their way somewhere and be gone. It was so very strange, to this day I am still confused by their behavior over all my years growing up. Why would you travel for a week and not let people know you are coming? I think it was simply due to the fact that my grandfather was cheap and having a telephone came late into their lives, he was running things for sure. Paying for long distance was for the rich. I remember calling my grandmother, she almost had an out of body experience, this was in the 80's, she was distraught thinking someone had died. Back I went to writing letters.

    I suspect it has nothing to do with me but everything to do with my (step) grandfather's jealousy over my grandmother's only child, my father, who was not his child but I was just a kid, clueless to the undercurrents of their lives. I think we were the embarrassing off shoots and reminder of what my grandmother had before this husband came along. Whatever it was, is part of the threads of my life, of who I have become and who I choose not to be.

    I recognize the beauty within the attitude regarding guests, come on in, good to see you, let the party begin, sorry you can't stay longer. I've seen it at friends gatherings but it feels foreign somehow. Maybe it feels great if you are the one cruising through a person's life on the way to somewhere rather than the person left behind to change the sheets and do the dishes and pick up those lost Mouse ears?

    As for keeping family secrets, who's your daddy? I like living with the truth no matter how hard that truth is. Human's have that sixth sence when a lie is hidden and secrets are kept. There are times when the truth makes all the blocks fall into place.

  10. Smag, you're at the top of your form. This is going to be a hard act to follow! I do have one question... is "nepotised" a word? And if it's not an official word, can I borrow it? Just for awhile.

  11. "I recognize the beauty within the attitude regarding guests, come on in, good to see you, let the party begin, sorry you can't stay longer. I've seen it at friends gatherings but it feels foreign somehow. Maybe it feels great if you are the one cruising through a person's life on the way to somewhere rather than the person left behind to change the sheets and do the dishes and pick up those lost Mouse ears?"

    I don't know. I do know that alot of it has to do with attitudes surrounding it when you're growing up. My extended family is very much the arms wide open type, and it goes both ways, though, usually, there is SOME warning before people show up (a la the LW who emailed well in advance). It can feel great if you aren't stressed about your home and how it's being taken over/the cleaning you'll have to do after/the loss of time to take care of your things/etc. Some of that great feeling has to do with realizing what things you find important. For me, and the way I was raised, that family time, even fleeting and random seeming, was more important than just about anything else. And if you're friendships are as close or closer than family, same thing there.

    However, what MM's "family" did was *not* what I consider the great part of random visits. That's random hotelness which is different entirely! For a random visit to be cool, it would need to have (even if it was just a one night stop-over) the time spent at the place focused on those you're THERE WITH, not the area attractions, unless you've never been and the hosts OFFER to take you to the attractions.

  12. Greetings hrumpole! I'm concerned about LW#2, too. I have a feeling that relationship isn't long for this world. I think our LW needs to get out and make a clean start somewhere--somewhere that the ex doesn't know about! :-)

    As for LW#3, I was probably way too mean, but, the letter smacked of so much nasty undercurrent, I didn't reckon I was speaking to anybody that cared what I had to say anyway. However, the LW and her sister (the one w/o the baby) could certainly have done with some cross examination to see exactly what is at work regarding all of that nastiness. ;-)

    Good cheer, hrumpole, and a pleasant weekend!

  13. Oh, MM! It is SO wonderful to have you back! Please don't leave us again for so long! :-) Now, as to us "making up" after fighting about LW#1, I'm not *exactly* sure what you mean and would enjoy a very detailed explanation! Perhaps you could post it here? ;-) But, just in case, here's some fightin' words! ;-)

    I want to be clear that I'm not trying to say that the LW's father has no right to know. I'm just saying that, at this point, the LW doesn't know anything much, the grandmother likely can't know for sure, either, unless she knows for *absolute sure*, in which case, the grandfather knew, too, and likely other people do as well, so, it's probably not a very well-kept secret.

    Instead, my take is that there's only a *possibility* that Dad isn't a fruit of grandpa's loins. And frankly, I don't believe that's reason enough to tell someone that news! However, if I am going to encourage telling, the only circumstances under which I'd encourage it are where there was more of a certainty AND where the LW's motives weren't so suspect. As it stands, the whole "health concerns" stuff is just a bunch of BS. Obviously. So, if the LW's motives are pure (and if he/she bothers to do some research and try to take something to Dad more than "Hey, I hear grandma slept around a lot and you might be from someone else's creamcicle"), then, okay, tell him there's a possibility. Gently. But, too, I'm not advocating Grandma and LW have some sort of secret pact against Dad, either. Tough stuff, family life.

    As for LW#4, MM, I was simply nicer to her as she seemed more sane and less motivationally suspect than our other writers. I'm certain that she's quite ugly! Please don't ruin her face, MM! Not the face! ;-)

    Good cheer and much appreciation for your return! :-)

  14. Greetings Bella, and ahoy! I'm so glad that you enjoyed that line! :-) I wanted to shout at that LW! Arrrrrgh! Like that! But sometimes guttural screams aren't effective and subtlety is the better policy. ;-) Thank you once again for the compliments, but you really must stop! I can no longer fit my head through the door and I've been asked to be a float in the Easter parade. ;-)

    Good cheer, Bella and enjoy the CT spring! I hear that it's quite beautiful!

  15. Oh, MM? I heard that Chuck Norris did, in fact, build Rome in a day. But then used a single round house kick to level it to its current state of ruin. Just sayin'.

  16. Debbie, you said, "There are times when the truth makes all the blocks fall into place." And you are, as usual, so correct!

    My apologies about the sight of hard, young bodies. They are what they are. But, like you, I'm learning to be happy with mine, and where I am, too. ;-)

    I grew up going over to my grandparents' houses, spending time with cousins, traveling to other states and staying with other friends and relatives, having them come to our house. I think that's really what it has to do with--some experiences early on that sort of set our meter of what's expected. There's nothing wrong with yours or Libby's or MM's perspective! Every one of us is different and none of us more correct than the other regarding how we should feel about guests. ;-)

    Good cheer, Debbie, and a wonderful weekend to you!

  17. Greetings Messy! "Nepotised" was an on-the-spot creation and it's as much yours as it is mine. As liberally as I've borrowed your wonderful original words, I wouldn't have it any other way!

    Good cheer! :-)

  18. Amen to this, Libby, "However, what MM's "family" did was *not* what I consider the great part of random visits. That's random hotelness which is different entirely! For a random visit to be cool, it would need to have (even if it was just a one night stop-over) the time spent at the place focused on those you're THERE WITH, not the area attractions..."

    You nailed it right there! And, as I say, no one of is more right than the other, but, it is an amazing feeling to have people coming to see you, or even just *wanting* to see you, even if they're coming for some other purpose.

    Good cheer and a pleasant and wonderful weekend! :-)

  19. Good cheer to you too, Smag! I hope you have an excellent weekend, and yes, thinking about what MM said, and what Debbie said, I totally agree with their perspectives too. I just know that I have my perspective partly because of those formative experiences.

  20. I know I would have wanted to hang at Libby's house whether or not she was Madd and greet all the guests as they arrived!

    Perspective, that is what I love most about all the conversations. The random Hotelness hit the mark, that's what I felt about the LW Sister!
    And I'm with you Smaggie, I'd not run over and tell Dad what Grandma said out of the blue either about his father. If he came to me and asked me I would not lie though, I'd tell what little I knew as gentle as one could.

    Back in the day, well before my time, during my grandmother's childhood when divorce was taboo, if a woman was married and got pregnant by someone other than her husband she passed that baby off as the husband's feeling she had no choice. We have a family photo of my grandmother with her siblings, and out of all these kids that looked similar here was this cute as can be Asian brother. My Great grandfather was a timber baron (until the stock market crash) with his own railroad cars and traveled from Minnesota to log around Vancouver, BC so he was gone for months at a time. Evidently this was when she had gotten pregnant.

    I can still remember clearly my grandmother saying about someone at a hushed tone she said...that woman is a divorcee...and I'm sure her eyebrows held that disapproving arch. Another word that sets me off and can leave the English language any time that I can also hear her say in an equally hushed tone...that child is a bastard. I so love living in 2010.

    I for one am very thrilled that DNA is now available for anyone who wonders about their beginnings. A very useful tool indeed. Over time women will stop this vile behavior, there will be no choice. This will become a very good thing.

  21. "The errant shit under the fingernail of the soul" ...can't...finish...thought...laughing too hard....!!!

  22. Sez who? Sez herd"T"hinner

    Avast there, Aquaman! (Yes, the Lad's all growed up now)

    LW1 - Make Grandma fess up. Make! Herrrrrrrr!

    Ok, maybe too aggressive. But if anyone tells Dad - which, honestly? I don't care if anyone does or doesn't - it should be her. I mean, if it's true or whatever.

    LW2 - at least two people in DP's comments section said that they'd received letters like this before. Weird. And speaking from the neighbors' POV, it just made the crazy ex look crazier and exier, and made them feel sorry for the guy. I think LW2 is probably reading the wrong thing from his neighbors' looks.

    Anyway, still glad I'll never have an ex... or a non-ex. Don't have to deal with this stuff.

    LW3 on another post (over the limit)

  23. herd"t"hinner sez:

    LW3. Yes. People hate "Karen" and LW3. They hate them lots and lots. Hate them! DIE DIE DIE SCUMMY SISTER! Some commenters stressed over and over how much they *looooathed* children and never wanted any of them *neeeear* them in a *bajillion years,* but by golly, they would *never* turn away their sister and the baby and the stuff and the things. Because they're awesome and "Karen" is scum.

    I call Shenanigans on the lot of them! They would so turn away Sis/Bro, but they'd come up with some other reason(s). Like mine, for instance: my house was pretty much a deathtrap for kids. I mean, new parents with their very first kid?? omg, they think a washcloth touching the floor for 1/8th of a second will be so filthy, the child will DIE if it touches it. DIE, I TELL YOU!!!!!!!!

    That was my sister with her newborn. Ergo, I was never put in the position of hosting her - or anyone else with a kid - for the night at my extremely untidy home. I say extremely untidy with pride, btw. Cleanliness is next to Painintheassiness, I say.

    BUT -- my own contribution to the Scummy Sister of the Millenium competition is this: before her kid was born, I stressed to Sis that I don't babysit... er, babies. Ever. I don't think for a minute that I'd be competent at it. I've never even held an infant before, nor ever wanted to, so can't even claim practice at that.

    Several years later (5, 6), she left me a phone message where she announced that it was time for me to "step up" and babysit. I was greatly dismayed by this. But in my defense, she couched the whole thing in terms of Money. Not, "Please, I'm in a bind, can you help a sistah out and please please come and watch the kid? She'll behave, I swear!" (That, I would've responded to)

    Instead it was, "It costs us a lot of money to hire a babysitter and go out. It's at least $200 by the time we go out, eat, have some wine, come back and pay her. It's your obligation as family to save us some money, OK?"
    (afterthought) "Oh, and uh, bond with her, too."

    I didn't call back. Three days later she called again and wondered if I'd gotten her message. I told her that her message left a bad taste in my mouth. I'd been very clear about no babysitting, and her message was basically about me saving them money on childcare. Long story short, she offered a few choice words, hung up, and didn't speak to me for a week.

    Actually, that made it kind of a peaceful week. Other than fretting about the possible falling out, that is. During that week people spoke separately to us. Other people wiser than my sister (and me) speculated to her - correctly - that, y'know, maybe your sister, being the youngest, has had zero experience with kids and doesn't know what the hell to do with them. And Sis had a fucking long list of Gotchas and Deathtraps about her child. I "knew" that she'd have some fatal asthma attack 5 minutes after they left. And so on.

    Long story short again, we made up, and I like the Niece now that she's 10 and not 5 or 6. Kids need to be about 8 before I can deal with them. No joke.

    Even today I do stupid things. The niece hurt her knee recently and was at the ER. Sis left me to wait with her (Niece was in a wheelchair) while she got the car. I was feeling all responsible and stuff. Then two women joined us in the foyer. One claimed to be blind and asked me to check for a taxi. I did, (there was none), and then, swept up in helpfulness, got it into my head that maybe the taxi was around the corner, lost (this hospital had a very confusing parking area). So I trotted off to check, forcing the Niece to call out for me. Yes, I'd left her in a wheelchair with two strangers.

    And Sis parked her car where the ambulances do. As one of them was pulling up. So we're both idiots, at least.

  24. LW4 - I'm guilty of teasing young'ens, I admit. I'm only 40 and not grey, but my body sometimes does weird shit that I pretend is about age.

    At my previous office I sometimes I teased the Hot Young Thangwith, "Don't you hate it when your joints, for example your ankles, make weird popping and clicking noises when walking around?"
    "Um... that doesn't happen to me."
    "Awwww. How about your knee randomly going out?"
    "...nnnnot that I know of, no."
    "Well, someday!"
    (scampered away merrily)

    Bless her for not calling me on the real reason for the body weirdness: overweight and outta shape!

    But fret not; she was the only one who liked going on ice cream excursions, so we hung out sometimes. We had two - TWO! - ice cream shops in easy walking distance, and other coworkers avoided them. Savages. Of course, in her case the calories went nowhere.

  25. Agreed, Libby and Debbie. It's all about the intent of the visitor, all sorts of history, all sorts of feelings, perspective, etc. I think my biggest concern for the LW, though, is the lack of emotional honestly. I'll be responding to Herd'T'hinner in a moment, and, in her case, I'm behind her 100% (and I'll explain why there). If people are honest with one another (not cruelly so, mind you), then that's all I'll ever ask. If the LW's sister (she with the house, not she with the baby) had said, "You know what, Sis, fact is, I'm really nervous about having a baby in the house and I'd rather get together sometime when we can meet on neutral turf," I'd have been happier. Although, for complete honesty, what I suspect she would have had to say is, "You know what, Sis, fact is, I'm pretty pissed and jealous with you for getting to go all around seeing wonderful things, and for having a husband who's always taking you places instead of sitting on his ass watching TV, and for having a baby, and, fact is, you were always the favorite and you always got all of the good guys and coolest clothes and best friend, and, no, I just can't have you here in our house, as, frankly, I just can't stand to be around you and your perfect family thinking the whole while that you were looking down your perfect nose at us! I'd rather be around you when you're hurting." I may be reading too much into the letter, but, that's what I got from it. And the LW is supporting this viewpoint by validating it, IMHO. Perspective, yes? :-)

  26. Hey Jackal! :-) I hope all's okay now and that you got to your next thought. ;-) Good cheer to you!

  27. Hey there herd'T'hinner! How are you this week? Other than being in fine form, that is? :-)

    I have to agree 100% with your perspective regarding LW#3. See, your sister's reproductive habits are NOT, in any way, your responsibility! And to imply, nay, to come right out and say that they're in any way your RESPONSIBILITY or OBLIGATION?! That's beyond the pale.

    See, as I mentioned above, I've got not a problem in the world with refusing to host someone. I really don't. I have family who'd rather pull their toenails off with pliers than host a party or host overnight guests. And that's fine. They're honest about it. It makes them nervous or uncomfortable or unhappy. And that's fine! :-)

    I guess the difference between your take and the LW's is that you didn't pretend that your feelings were anything other than what they were. Now, I would have seen no problem with your sister coming back at you with, well, "T", would you be interesting in holding an infant if I sat right next to you, helping? That could have presented you with a situation to feel more comfortable. But, you'd still be under no obligation to comply! Further, and this is important, if she did make that offer, and you did give it a try, she couldn't then get up and go answer the phone or something, living you sitting there with her brand new infant! Lots of people have an inherent parenting gene that kicks in automatically when around children. For me, it's around infants and then tweens/teenagers. I don't care for the four to eight year old set. At all. Too much energy and noise for me! :-) Now, I can handle them, sure, but, I'm certainly much more in my element with those other two ages.

    So, you know, it's all about us as individuals, being honest and certainly NOT about us blaming our own issues/concerns/fears on an infant. That was my beef with the LW. As for your sister saying you had an "obligation" though? Because she's your sister, I won't go all Submariner on her butt. But, believe me, she deserves it for that one!

    As for your story regarding LW#4, I think you were being excellently naughty! And there's always room for that in the workplace! :-) And, your young ice cream mate will remember you long after she remembers anyone else! And in a good way. :-)

    Good cheer, herd'T'hinner! :-)

  28. Ah, Herdthinner...
    Funny story!
    About 40 is when your body begins to remind you of anything you did you it in your youth that you have forgotten about. You may have forgotten getting drunk and falling off a chair and whacking your knee, but trust me, when you hit 40 you'll be reminded. You won't have a clue why your knee aches whenever the barometer changes but that's the fun of getting older. It's the body mind game of life! I always think oh, I must of had a REALLY good time as my neck is killing me! And then your brain searches out all the fun things you used to do but now know they're not such good ideas.

    I for one am awaiting to hear about this generation of Jackass followers jumping from housetops and jamming every body part into the concrete on those fun boards with wheels! Don't they look like a riot of fun! Buying stock in joint replacements may be where the money is!

    I must say that babies are neat, and when you get the chance to cuddle a baby without all the incredulous strings attached, enjoy the cuddle of a lifetime. You will also equally enjoy waving bye-bye as they go home with Mommie.

    Reading how babysitting for family would save them from spending $200 for dinner out would be insulting to me and not a service I would provide. I'd be, why don't you and hubby stay here, nuke some Nachos & Jalapeno Popper's, give me the baby and $200 and we'll be back much, much later! What a deal! Baby and I would have a great time at the Mall in a rented stroller for hours together.

  29. Hey, Smaggie! Such fine comments this week! The words flow like rivers of..... (I ran out of words myself, unbelievable!)

    One bit of advice: don't trim you ear and nose hair, it will just encourage them to grow faster and stronger (you know, like the lawn). So pluck them instead, but do this in a soundproof room, though it's only the nose hair that scream when yanked.....

  30. PS. I forgot to write that the reason Grandma eye sparkled when she told her grandson that his father need not worry about ever coming down with Alzheimer is not because she had a good time with the proverbial milkman (though I hope she did, I mean aren't grandmas allowed a bit of fun, even way before they become grandmas?) but because she had a psychic vision of her son's Alzheimer's free future...

    Another possibility is that her son already has Alzheimer's so he no longer need to worry about it and her grandkid just didn't notice.....

  31. Kati...I'm screaming just thinking about pulling nose hair....EEEEh Gad's!

  32. herd"t"hinner sez

    Aquaman, thanks for not launching the torpedoes at me! Sis is, alas, overly obsessed with money and her child (more on that later), but she and I do have a good relationship, even though we're absolutely nothing alike. Okay, I like money, too, but I don't think of myself as obsessed. Or am I...???

    One of the things that confused me about the "save us $200" bit was that I would've expected to get paid for the babysitting. No shittin', folks. The Niece at 5/6 was NOT a fun person for me to be around. Not from being a brat, but I couldn't handle her energy level. Sitting for her would've been like handling a howler monkey that had been spooked by fireworks. So, I would've seen it as work and not anything fun at all. Ah, well.

    Alas, that did not compute for all of the people I asked about it. Paraphrasing their answers:
    {{Spit take}}

    About the obsession with Money and her Child: In recent times Sis has made it more than clear that she expects me to leave all of my assets to her child - Her. Child. - in my will. Y'know, I'm just gonna leave it right there.

    But the happy ending is that I now like having Auntie-Niece days, and, yes, it's always my treat.

    DebbiePWWO: Sorry, babies do nothing for me. Nada. I am immune to whatever it is they do to most other humans. So if babies ever turn evil and learn to organize, I! Alone! will be able to resist their charms and save the world!

    No need to thank me now, folks. Wait for the dust to settle.

  33. "Sitting for her would've been like handling a howler monkey that had been spooked by fireworks." That's just some funny shit right there! My 19-yr old keeps repeating it and laughing as well.

  34. Greetings and Ahoy, Kati! Oh, I do pluck! And, fortunately, I don't have to do so too often (yet). ;-) As for the nose hairs--don't I know it!

    As for the twinkle in Grandma's eyes, I figured it was for the telling of a salacious secret, but, you could certainly be correct! And yes, grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and everyone deserves fun! :-) I'm an equal-opportunity fun encourager!

    Good cheer, Kati, and smooth sailing!

  35. herd"t"hinner, again, you're being honest. You're not hiding behind false stories or innuendo. I have more admiration for that than you can imagine! You being up front with the sister about the niece is all she should ever expect. And, the fact that you have been is exceptionally admirable.

    As for saving us from those little bastards when they do organize and attack, I thank you, as I'll be one of the first to be killed off. I just love them--well, most of them. ;-)

  36. Davy! Holy smokes, another former squid in our midst?! Welcome Shipper! Thanks for stopping by and posting. We've not heard from you before (unless you've posted anonymously), so, good to meet you and please don't be a stranger.

    If you're interested in some sea stories (as if you don't have any of your own), I've got one here in my non-fiction area called "The Making of a Submariner", and, one here called "Remembering Charlie Hustle"

    There are some pictures in both that might make you a little nostalgic--unless you've only been "former" for a very short while, in which case you're probably not wanting to be anywhere near one of those damned black or gray steel piles of crud ever again! :-)

    Welcome and please do come back and join in! :-)

  37. Meh, plucking the nose hairs isn't so bad. Granted, they might not like it, but sterilizing the newly plucked follicle so the allergies don't cause internal zits - using purell, that smarts a bit. =-)

    I know. I'm slightly psychotic. But I promise, it's all in a good way. Really. =-D

  38. Oh, Libby! Yowchy! I mean, I see the point of it, but I'm not brave enough. At all! So, you win the toughness award for the week, hand down!

    As for being psychotic, I reckon we all are a little bit. And, as you say, only in a good way. ;-)

  39. Bethany would say...Stop, stop...

    Geez...did I read that stuff Purell... up your nose to avoid....eeeh....gads....PIMPLES inside your NOSE! After the torture of plucking said pesky nose hair! Oh, MY GOD.

    As I age I may be your new Fuller Brush Lady!

    I'll never be able to handle any of it. Nope. Sanity...I'll need to retain my sanity to live through the nose hair what age DO they begin? I'm only surviving the chin hair because I'm blonde. NO wonder eye sight is the first to go!

    Sniff, sniff, I'm NOT ready.


  40. I'm telling ya. The pimples are worse than the purell. =-)

  41. You folks don't know what pain is until you start plucking your ass hairs, that's about all i'm gonna say.

  42. Hi Smag! I'm heading out of town tomorrow and probably won't be online much for a while. If you want more info it's on my blog.

    While I'm in New Yuck I plan to grill some jalapeno poppers for some friends, assuming we're not flooded out or snowed in. I'm not looking forward to dealing with that weather!

  43. Okay, Deb and Libby, I can't even comment any more on the nose pimple, Purell stuff! Ack! :-)


    Clayton, good to see you, Brother! You're far more talented than I gave you credit for if you can pluck your own ass hairs. I could pluck mine if I could see that far, but, by the time I backed myself up to a mirror, my eyes would be too far away to wield the tweezers properly. That's a road too far for me. But good on ya!


    Happy travels, Beckaroo, and many good grillings with your friends! I will think good weather thoughts your way and hope for the best for you! Come back to us soon and safely!

    Good cheer, All! :-)