From a Submariner's Perspective is a weekly column, written in response to the letters sent in to advice columnist "Prudie" at Slate.com. Each week, The Submariner responds to the letter writers in a way that Slate.com 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 smagboy1@gmail.com 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, April 29, 2010

...on Supervisors, Shitheads and (S)lushes Galore

http://www.slate.com/id/2252304/ (04/29/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There


Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! And how the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day?! I hope that all’s well and that you’re having a wonderful week? I am! But, Shippers, I’ve got to dispense with the small talk. We’ve got a few things on the P.O.D. (Plan of the Day) today that require our immediate attention. First up, along with the normal batch of letters (which will be a little pithier than normal due to all we have going on), we’ve got a guest letter! From an actual reader of this column! Tune in to LW#5 for that! Also, I’d like to solicit your help. In two weeks, on May 13th, I’ll be publishing the 52nd straight “From A Submariner’s Perspective”! Time sure flies when you’re having fun, eh? Which means that the week after that, May 20th, will be the One Year Anniversary of the column! What should we do for it? An extra column rehashing a few favorite letters? A Guest Day where you guys pick a past letter and write a response in Submarinerly fashion? Nothing different at all, just keep on keepin’ on? Your call. Let’s discuss it in the comment section, below, and, once we have a consensus, that’s what I’ll do! All comments are welcome. And so, now, with all of the admin stuff out of the way, let’s get crackin’ on these letters!

LW#1: Dear Prudie, I have a great supervisor, but... she’s fuckin’ loony! I mean, Prudie, she may know her stuff job-wise, but, when it comes to how to interact with people, she’s batshit crazy! She takes an offhand comment from someone, internalizes it, makes it out to have been said about her, and then begins to cry loudly about it (literally). Then, in the next day or two, she “makes-up” with the offending commenter and all is forgotten (usually without the “offender” even knowing a thing either way!). She often comes into my office, closes the door, and then bawls (again, literally) about all of the mean people that she has to deal with. My wife says this is just normal “woman” behavior. What can I do? Signed, Not a Therapist

Dear Poor Sap: Dude, first off, you need to quit using your wife as sounding board for your office drama. She’s either woefully out of touch, or you’re not telling us something! Holy shit, man! That crap is not normal behavior for either gender. At all. Ever. I’ll be honest with you. I’ve had a number of outstanding supervisors in my day. Seriously, they’ve almost all been top-notch incredible. The kind you’d actually step in front of and take a bullet for. Except for one lady, who, like your boss, was nuts. And it sounds to me like she’s come out of retirement and that you now work for her. Exact same stuff. First off, DO NOT go to HR unless you are certain the issue will be kept anonymous and that you will be free from reprisal. Remember who HR works for, okay (hint: management)? Prudie is nuts to think they can help with this--especially if your boss is well-liked (and you and I both know that, outside your office, she's seen as the cat's meow). Sadly, you can’t turn this woman away because we also both know what that would cause. You’d be her latest crying jag. And the whole office would know about how you were mean to her and how you don’t appreciate all she does for you. I had it happen many times. And while the silent treatment is nice, when she decides she needs you again, the make-up therapy is even more brutal. I’d look for a position with another supervisor, including outside where you work. You can count on your supervisor to be less than supportive and to take your leaving as a personal affront. Steel yourself and your resolve for that fact. I will say that after leaving my batshit crazy supervisor, I landed a great job with another great supervisor. So, it can happen. :-) Hang in there.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I recently moved back to my hometown and found out that my best friend is a jackass fucktard that ought to be beaten with a rubber hose and made to stay in a cage that provides him only enough room to stand and sit--in his own waste. Why? Well, he has a dog that he keeps in a cage all day and only lets out twice per day, twenty minutes each time, and that’s it. If the dog resists going back into the cage, my friend kicks it mercilessly until it does go in the cage. I’m scared that if I tell the authorities, it’ll get my friend arrested, kicked out of his place, and cause him to be homeless. What should I do? Signed, Oddly Conflicted

Dear Conflicted, I have no idea why you’re conflicted? The way I see it, your friend can rot in his own feces for all I care, but that dog?  The dog is helpless. And you’re now complicit, Jackhole. Got that? Even if not legally, morally. Get your ass over there and get that dog out of there. Now! Find it a good home (do you know what I mean by that? One that will know the dog’s history and understand it and try to do right by the animal), or a rescue facility, or even your place for now. This dog’s plight is now in your hands and the hands of your “equally-appalled friends” you gynormous bunch of fucktards. Or, if you don’t want the hassle or are too scared to confront your friends, call the authorities. Now! Do you realize that in the time it took you to write your dumbass letter, you could have been working on saving this dog? Holy fuck!

LW#3: Dear Prudie, In a few months, I’m going to marry my boyfriend of six years. He’s the greatest guy in the whole wide world, but...he’s an alcoholic. I don’t want to admit that to myself. And I’d never use that word regarding his drinking. We’re both just “moderate” drinkers. And he surely doesn’t want me to use that word due to his family history of alcoholism, because he’s not one. On a completely unrelated note, he actually soiled himself on the way home the other night due to drinking so much, but, like the good enabler that I am, I’ve continued to “forgive” him his indiscretions. I’m starting to get cold feet about our wedding, though, as I can just imagine the reception. What should I do? Signed, Going To Get Married No Matter What Advice You Offer, But Thought I’d Ask Anyway

Dear Future Pissed Off Lady, You need to get to Al-Anon, pronto. The language that your using, your actions, they’re classic actions and justifications of an Enabler and you’re going to need help in figuring out how to deal with what’s acceptable and what’s not. Your perception is hopelessly skewed. Even if you leave this guy today, you need to go, because, unless you learn about the cycle you’re in, you will seek out other addicts time and time again. Your fiancé? He’s an alcoholic. Plain and simple. He can be helped, and you guys can certainly have a great future together, but he has to want to be helped. And your “forgiveness”? Forgiveness for what, him shitting himself? You’re kidding, right? He didn't shit on you, idiot.  He shit on himself.  Your lives will be a hell hole if you two stay and don’t get help. And then your kids’ lives will be, too. It is never too late to stop the wedding. Postpone it. Whatever. You can do it even two seconds before saying “I do”. Honest! You’re allowed. So, put on the brakes today! This is your life we’re talking about, not some reality TV BS that’s supposed to be a train wreck by design. Can you see the difference? And unless he addresses this and you two both get the help you need, there’s nothing good that’s going to come from you two getting married. It’s already pretty shitty, isn’t it? Good luck.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’ve been pining for my college sweetheart ever since I quit boning her all these 30 years ago. Except, you know, in the moments when I was busy marrying my wife and raising my family. But mostly I’ve been pining. I recently fired up the ol’ Google search engine and found out that my sweetheart had died. Breast Cancer. At 50?! Prudie, I’m devastated! I’d so hoped that one day, on my terms, we’d both divorce our families and rekindle our sex-fueled, drug-addled relationship of old. It would have been epic, I tell ya! I feel like I need to at least send a card to her family, you know? I wasn’t even invited to the funeral, Prudie?! I can’t talk to anyone about this because, well, you know, my family wouldn’t understand and hers probably doesn’t know about me. What should I do? How do I grieve? Signed, Mourning My Life in Two Worlds

Dear Mourning, Guess what? You fucked up. Sorry (well, not really). Look man, that’s all there is to say. You didn’t pursue this girl back then and you two went your separate ways.  You didn’t pursue her in the interim, you didn’t contact her in any way, and now she’s gone. See how that works? If you need to do something for your “grief” (are you related to LW#1’s boss, by the way?), go visit some place where the two of you used to hang out. Once you see how much it’s changed, grab a mirror and look at yourself. That might help. Maybe. As for learning about her life, doesn’t that very need clue you in to how fucked up and stalkerish you’re being? You don’t know anything about her because hers is not your life! Nor does it belong to you!  Get a grip, Bub. But don’t, under any circumstances, send anything to her family, you jackhole. Holy crap, Man!

And now, for a bonus letter from an actual reader!

Dear Mr. SmagBoy,

I love books. I really, really, really love books. And not only do I love to read them, but I love to collect and display them. A few of my books (the older or secondhand ones) are pretty damn ratty, but for the most part, if I purchase them shiny and new, they still look shiny and new.

Unless, of course, I've lent them to my little sister.

I don't know how it is that I can read books repeatedly, sometimes while snacking on Doritos, and still leave them smudge-free and un-creased. Maybe I'm magic; maybe I'm too vain and OCD; I don't know. But somehow, I keep on expecting my 14-year-old sister to do the same, and she cannot. Granted, I'm thrilled that she's reading, but I want to know if it's too much to ask that she read carefully? I've requested over and over that she be more considerate of my belongings, but she says that she can't help it.

I live at home (but pay rent), and I act more-or-less as a parent to my sister. My dad's not in the picture and our mom isn't entirely mentally sound and can get easily overwhelmed. So, my sister and I have one of those funny half-sibling/half-guardian relationships. I don't think it'd help to bring my mom into the discussion.

Now, I know that you're not one to mince words, so please just let me know: Am I being an unreasonable bitch, or would it be okay to tell my sister that she better get her books at the library from now on, unless she can be a bit more careful?

Much appreciated,
Lender and Lover of Libros

Dear Bibliophile,

What a tough situation. I feel for you, I really do. For several reasons, but, let’s stay focused on the one you wrote in about. Listen, one of the most important things you can teach your sister about life is that she has to take responsibility for her own actions. I remember when my kiddo was in the third grade (third grade!!!) and her teacher admonished me and my wife for bringing books that my daughter had forgotten and left at home up to the school. “She’s got to learn to be responsible!” reasoned the teacher. Now, while I think that that may have been a bit tough, it was a good wake-up call for us. And certainly by 14, your sister is way past the age that she should be getting a free pass on things like this. You have two choices as far as I can tell. You can loan her books from here on out with a condition: mess it up, replace it. Period. I don’t know if she works or gets allowance, etc., but, maybe that’ll wake her up? The trick is that you have to follow through every single time. And, don’t loan another book until the previous one is replaced. Or, if that’s causing too much stress, you can stop loaning books to her all together, but, as an alternative, you can offer to drive her to the library anytime she wants (if it’s not within walking/biking distance). You doing this will pay dividends later, even if in the interim she calls you an unreasonable bitch (she’ll grow to appreciate you later, honest). And, just so you know, be prepared to keep your books under lock and key if necessary. It’s important and you’re already doing well by teaching her the etiquette of borrowing. Now you have to take that next step--for your sake and hers. Good luck!

***
Well, Shippers, that about wraps it up! Do comment on the anniversary thing. I’m all about making this into a fun time, so, hold nothing back. No idea is a bad idea. :-) You know, I’ve had the strangest desire recently to brew some tea and sit on my balcony and enjoy the night sky while sipping said tea. Normally, it’d be coffee. Not quite sure where the specific desire for tea is coming from, but, there it is. Anyway, Shippers, I know this was long, but, it was fun, eh? Until next time, then, fair winds and following seas to you all!

42 comments:

  1. Love the idea of a "Guest Day." Maybe select 3 or so favorite letters, allow a week for readers to send responses, then post your responses and 1 or 2 best guest responses. That said, any of the other ideas you suggested would be great too. Congrats on the anniversary.

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  2. Beautiful job on the Prudie letters! Total Submariner Stylio, which I lurve. (I know, I'm being less articulate than normal. Blame an extra-stressful workday.)

    Then, in a stroke of sheer genius (or maybe just intellectual and emotional maturity) you slam-dunked the reader question. Well done! I don't have anything to add to that at all!

    As for the anniversary thing, I don't have any specific thoughts at this point, though I do like Bob's idea...

    Cheers!

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  3. Excellent responses as always Smag! Especially the response to the guest letter. The best part about the library is that you can find books covering many topics, as well as a plethora of different authors. It could help broaden the little sister's horizons as a side effect. :D

    As for the anniversary, I really like Bob's idea!

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  4. Greetings, Bob! And ahoy! That sounds like a good plan. :-) Let's see how the other suggestion responses come out? I will add a caveat to yours, though, if I may. I don't want to post just 1 or 2 guest responses. Unless we only get 1 or 2! :-) I figure if we vote on a few letters from the past year to work on, I'll publish any and all submissions. I mean, why not, right?! :-)

    But, looks like a popular idea so far! :-) Good cheer, Bob!

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  5. Hey Libby! Sorry to hear about the stressful day, but, it has a kind of cool effect on your articulation, as you say, which is fun! Keep thinking on the idea. There's time. :-)

    Cheers!

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  6. Hey Corey, and ahoy to you! Thanks for the kind words and the vote. If you think of anything else, whatever it is, just say the word! Video? Heck, I'll give it a shot! Comic book panels for a letter? Well, I could try? ;-) No idea is too crazy.

    Good cheer! :-)

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  7. Hmmm for the anniversary how about having some of the old faves write in with updates? See what happens after the advice.

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  8. Oh, mommylady! That's a great idea! I wonder if they took the advice or not? We'll have to see! ;-) Seems a common thread is favorite letters. We'll need a vote. Any nominations?

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  9. Oh Smaaaaagggiie! I have an idea..... How about the Flysters each write you a letter that you not only have to answer.....but you have to decide if the letter is for realsies as well. Now THAT would be a challenge, don't you think?

    It's like the parlor game where each person at the table tells two stories that are lies with one being the truth. You could answer only one or two a week, and you don't even have to do it on Thursdays...

    Whaddaya think?

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  10. Had a stomach bug in Hong Kong that led to me uncontrollably filling my underwear, i'm just grateful that it happened when i was at home and not walking around.

    Bibliophile : I can understand the letter writer's concern for her books, but most modern books are very utilitarian aren't they ? It's the ideas and thoughts inside the books that are valuable rather than the boring physical exterior they come wrapped in. If you're talking about an old-fashioned, beautifully-illustrated hardcover book, then that's really something to look after. Your advice is sound though - you have to learn to respect other peoples' property (unless they're a banker, of course). If our personal possessions express our own personality, then an attack on our possessions becomes an attack on ourselves.

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  11. Hi Smag! I kinda love the idea of our all writing letters to YOU, fake or real, and you answering them and then trying to guess if it is a real problem!~ Funny!

    I also like the "we all answer a favorite letter" thing, and it would certainly be less work for YOU.

    OR, how about those who want to send in letters (fake or real, we can all guess or whatnot). YOu publish them, and everyone answers in the comment section. And guesses as to the veracity of the problem.

    BTW, I LOVED your rendition of LW1 and LW4!!! HAHAHAHA! I want to cry just thinking of the dog in LW2's life . I would break in if I had to when that asshole was not home and STEAL the dog. Poor little thing. How could those losers just stand by and watch that shit?

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  12. I'm quite sure you'll come up with something brilliant, SB1. And thank you for coping with LW2 properly and efficiently.

    I think, though, that you ever so slightly missed the point on LW4. Think of what a delightful punishment it would be for LW4 to be forced to send an ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE letter to the family. I suspect it would take him about forty-seven drafts before he succeeded in weeding out the bits that didn't belong. Unlike LW3, in which case you just show that you're a much kinder person than I am, I think you'd sign on for LW4 being punished suitably.

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  13. Thanks for your response to LW#2. It's pretty laughable (although pretty unfunny as well) to think the LW's "friend" will end up out on the street if they get reported. It's rare for people to get arrested for this heinous crime. Stop worrying about the poor dumb sadistic jackass friend and take care of the dog - I'd say it would take a real moron not to be able to see who has the greatest need here! Sheesh.

    As for your 52 week anniversary, that's pretty cool, actually! I don't think I have enough stick-to-it-ishness to stick to anything other than breathing for 52 weeks! :)

    As for my vote, I like mommylady's suggestion if you can find the people who wrote in the first place. My second choice, if you can't, would be Messy's suggestion.

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  14. asking for a "friend"April 30, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    for LW#3, I recommend that the lady/fiancee give him tacos w/ jalapenos. :).

    for the 1st annual anniversary, the traditional gift is paper. :). I go w/ the idea of having guest writers as well!

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  15. Smaggy, I love the signature "going to get married no matter what advice you offer...."! Too true (I did ignore such advice as well when I was 19, but at least I didn't ask)

    I won't be around on May13 for the one year anniversary. I'm paddling my little raft to visit my grandkid and her dear parents on May 4... I know I know, it will take a long time to paddle down the continent and then through the Panama Canal and then up again to the east coast of the US --but I'm a fast paddler.... But I expect to be tired out by all this exertion so I'll be flying back on the 14, in time for the Smagster's column celebration!

    I think Messy's suggestion is great! In addition perhaps we could also have a cyber potluck with each of us describing the dish and drink we're going to bring? Count me in for a genuine bottle of Hungarian appricot brandy and a extremely big casserole (I only cook big, small is too boring) of what is now known in the US as "Walter Cronkites". It's "rakot krumply" (sp?) in Hungarian but years ago someone thought he misheard and said "what! Walter Cronkite?" --and so the name stuck.

    First boil at least ten pounds of potatoes with the skin on. Also boil 4 dozen eggs. Melt 3 or more sticks of butter (or a mixture of the lower fat butter spread). Mix this with 4 countainers of sour cream --low fat or a mixture of low and no fat , or you can go all hog with regular sour cream-- be sure to temper the butter or sour cream to avoid the butter sudden cooling into little lumps, but even that doesn't matter.

    Peel the cooked potatoes and slice them (about half inch but you can vary). Peel the eggs and slice them. One layer of potatoes, one layer of eggs and a generous layer of souer cream-butter mixture, repeat until all done. Layers are supposed to be fat --about 1 to two inches? I tend to sprinkle Italian flavored bread crumbs on top, but I'm weird that way. Sometimes I find I boiled too many potatoes, so don't feel you have to use them all... you can always make potato salad or mash them later.

    Oh, I forgot the seasonings, white pepper (but a bit of black will also do)--no too much-- it's supposed to be a mellow dish-- an maybe just a dash of nutmeg, salt etc. though I tend to avoid salt because I'm worried it will make the sour cream turn into liquid. So the guests have to put their own salt on later.

    This reminds me of a crucial step: bake uncovered (I hope you used lots of the sour cream on top) around 350 or 325 till it bubbles or till it tells you it's done (perhaps 30 minutes or longer?)....

    Do you think this would feed all the Flysters? I could double the recipe and use my turkey roaster as a casserole dish? If you try this culinary experiment at home, feel free to quarter the recipe!

    As old timers in these parts are wont to say: "See ya in the funny papers!"

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  16. Oh, an Anniversary! Something to Celebrate! Love a good party! I might be up for a wee bit of snark for the right letter's. I can use my new "stolen" favorite terms from everyone. So everyone do write in so I can at the least use Asshatter and what I stole from T..."Aw fer the love-a Mike!!" ...maybe I should write in and ask about my theft of verbage issue... eeeh gads, could I be completely out of Estrogen and need to have a good cry...gee, maybe I could find some guy to drive nuts with my tears....hmmm?

    LW1...Go immediately to your female physician for a blood test...your hormones are so'oooo out of balance. I prefer to believe this rather than you are completely insane about running mascara and love sporting that black eyed look with those fiery red center's. In my humble opinion it's one or the other. There is a question lying in wait needing to be asked. If I were the fellow at work, I would have asked her if her crying was something new or if she was sensitive long before now. .After the guy has his answer I he needs to suggest her physician give her a Smag'oscopy, take a quart of blood, give her a swift kick and set her up for last weeks Corporate Seminar...on...How to Avoid Drama by Pulling each and Every Gray hair Out while Sitting Quietly at Ones Desk. "Aw fer the love-a Mike!!"

    LW2 The Friend needed to ask one question of his long lost buddy from school. At what point in time did YOU become THE GUY who KICKS INNOCENT ANIMAL'S? The dog and I are leaving, NOW. Asshattin Fool. Low-life Sonsabitches...kick even close to my dog and I'm taking you down,mashing your face in the dirt, I'll bloody your nose so you remember how not to kick anything. Guy needs an ass whoopin' from a girl! His buddies are so afraid, let me at him. I don't see why being homeless would be an issue for this moron, he has that cage he can crawl into? Worthless crate o'crap! Phew, I may ruin my manicure on both these morons...SAVE THE DOG...TODAY.

    LW3 Sheesh. OK, here goes. Sugar coating your lover drinking to the point that he politely soiled himself will get you that life Prudie and Smaggie suggested. Why not take the time now to put in into the perspective you'll have in a mere 5 years after marriage. THAT DRUNK SHITS his pants every time he drinks and I'm tired of cleaning his SHIT and tired of cleaning the BROWN SHIT TRAIL that follow's him everywhere. But every girl gets to decide, right, you are choosing HIM right...over any guy on the planet? He's your one and only, the GUY WITH THE POOPY DRAWERS, the SMELLY ONE, ya, so proud you'll be, he's my man! You'll then be ever so happy about your decision to have babies with this guy so you can drag your offspring through his BROWN SHIT TRAIL and be TIED to him for LIFE. LIFE...get it...you are choosing your life right now, and your future children's or are you going to roll over and let it happen? Dating 101, if it smells like shit...it is shit.

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  17. LW4 "Aw fer the love-a Mike!!" It is simply unbecoming for any aging human, male or female, to even think about sharing the personal trauma experienced when their fantasy collides with reality. It's all that youthful mourning taking place inside your own brain that your loved ones will thank you for not involving them in, today, tomorrow and beyond. I do believe this fellow needs a smack with that rolled up newspaper to bring him back to reality and onto a new fantasy, and it's aging well with grace.

    LW5 I love a good pristine book, one that is respected by not water marking it, not folding over the corners to mark the page, without greasy fingerprints, without the spine all mashed wide open, no wrinkles, no torn pages! I don't lend out books, as I find I am one of the rare volumes that prides myself on caring for the printed word. I'd tell her openly that I was unwilling to subject my lovely books to her sloppy care and save myself the headaches, she'd be hearing about her lack of simple book care from the Librarian, those fines should get her attention or all the people gasping in line at her carelessness. I volunteered at the Library and the people who are careless with their books do get a reputation...there is that disapproving frown and that whisper..oh, it's HER...the ONE that disrespects books...then the brain travels to wondering if this person's life is in less than perfect shape, after all, caring well for a book has simple rules to follow. I feel the same way about my magazine's, they are not a coaster for your drink.

    Happy trails everyone! Smagalicious, if I say I have a Pork Shoulder in the oven at 225 degrees for the next 13 hours for Pulled Pork will I win an Anniversary Prize? It is my first experiment with a 9 pound all day roast of anything. I'd say by eight o'clock tonight the smell, that terrific smell of roasting meat should be driving us all nuts...we are Meat'asaurus' at my house. Yum.

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  18. SB1 - WOW!! I can't believe it's been a year since we avid fans abandoned the Fray with you! I don't comment much (usually I just nod my head in agreement) but I'm here every week in the lagoon to see what's happenin' :)

    I really like Aunt Messy's "To Tell The Truth" letter idea. And I also like Bob's suggestion! Whatever you decide - it'll be good fun!

    Not many things make me as enraged as animal abusers, except maybe those that don't bother to help the animal being abused! Seriously - he thinks animal control will lead to the financial demise of his "friend"? I just don't know what to say about that - there seem to be no words that truly express the magnitude of stupidness the LW & the other "concerned friends" are exhibiting. I think even "Fucktards" was too light. I just want to hit them all - with something big!! I did not like Prudie's advice & wanted to hit her too (not w/ something quite so big tho')!!

    I just had to throw in my 2 cents -

    Anyhow- congrats on the year anniversary, we've had more fun here than over at the censored Fray anyday :)

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  19. Debbie...thank you - you came close to helping me express my feelings on LW#2....can I come help you with the ass whoopin' - I'll bring my big hitting stick!!

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  20. I'll start by saying that I love, love, love Messy's idea! I was in fact thinking of something in the same line of thought but she was faster in posting! It'll get those creative juices going and provide a lot of fun at the same time. While Mommylady's idea has merit, it's quite hard to put in practice.

    LW#1 - Why do people find so hard to communicate things?! When it is done from the heart and with no evil intentions works almost all the time. All one needs is tact. When she comes to your office, after she's done with the cry, tell her "Listen, it upsets me to see you going through this all the time. I respect you and your work too much not to tell you that you cannot let things at work become personal. If you take it personally you might endanger your future promotions, or God forbid, even endanger your present job. I speak only because I have your interest at heart, and because no bad things should happen to good people like you (note: it always helps to embellish a bit, although not too much, as to sound too phony). If you wish I can help you find a good personal coach, who can help you deal with this issue."
    I would also suggest having a recording device in your office when you do this - just in case the lady is a nutcase and she won't heed your advice but try some sort of revenge instead.

    LW#2 - your best friend is a dog... no, let me re-phrase that: your best friend is a monster who deserves whatever comes to his way! If he was to abuse a person would you still think twice before acting?! Just because the one who suffers is an animal shouldn't deter you to do what's right.

    LW3 - It must be hard to let go of something into which you invested 6 years; but you have to think this way: if I marry him as he is right now I'll be investing even more, my life and the life of the kids we'll have, so I'll have even more to lose later. By the way, I hope you know that babies with an alcoholic parent have high risk of malformations at birth and chronic diseases. I understand that you love this person, he might be a really good person when he's not drunk, and if you do love him, help him get over this disease first, and then marry. Once again, communication is the key - when he's not drunk, from the heart, showing him the possible scenarios. If he loves you, and he loves himself, he will at least give it a try.

    LW#4 - the guy is a freak and a cheat (yes, a cheat, what did you think he had in mind if the woman was still alive and willing?!)

    Special LW#5 - When approaching this issue you have to keep in mind that this is a teenager we are talking about; you want her to do what you wish but at the same time to keep her interested in reading. The solution is two fold, and it's based on a rewards system - make a deal with her on these terms: offer to pay her a small amount of money ($5 or whatever you can afford) when she returns a book in pristine condition (she will love to have a surplus of money for teen stuff!) but at the same time she will have to do some chores in the house if she messes up the book. Make sure she brings you the book before she starts reading, so you both can asses the initial condition. Also, make sure you discuss at the beginning what chores she would do, how many and when - try not to force her into doing the ones she really dislikes, you want to keep her interested in reading, after all, there are a lot of bad things teens can do besides smearing guacamole on a book (I'm thinking smoking, drinking, drugs, you see the trend, right?)

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  21. Hey Criker...come on along. We can make him whimper and become small enough to fit inside that crate with ease with a good ass whippin'. I'll be the hopping mad woman in Pink crack'a lackin' his ankles. Remember that Kathy Bates movie, Misery, where she had his ankles and 2x4's and a sledge'omatic! That movie to this day makes my husband cringe. Very cringe worthy indeed!

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  22. Okay, Messy, I can dig that idea. I'd not want it limited to only Flysters, though. Anyone who wants, yeah? Let's see how the voting comes out, but I could go there for sure. We'll have to flesh out the specifics a bit. :-)

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  23. Good thoughts, Tarky! Here's hoping that she's reading them. :-)

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  24. Greetings Bella! This is a nice compromise: OR, how about those who want to send in letters (fake or real, we can all guess or whatnot). You publish them, and everyone answers in the comment section. And guesses as to the veracity of the problem.

    That works well for most all ideas. :-) I understand what you mean about LW#2. :-( Guy's lucky his address wasn't posted in that letter!

    Good cheer.

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  25. Greetings hrumpole, and ahoy! As always, I will bow to your superior wisdom regarding LW#4. :-) It would be fun to watch, wouldn't it? At least worthy of a coffee and conversation at a nice restaurant while we watched his face contort over his futile efforts. ;-)

    Good cheer!

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  26. Greetings Robin, and ahoy to you! :-) I think mommylady's suggestion was that *I* provide the update. I would write the letter from them. :-) So, in the end, the logistics would be no more difficult than normal. I'd just have to channel LWs over time is all. :-)

    Good cheer!

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  27. Greetings, asking for a 'friend'!

    I love this: for LW#3, I recommend that the lady/fiancée give him tacos w/ jalapeños. :).

    Most excellent! :-) As for having guest writers, I think that could work out well, and seems to be the direction in which we're morphing. If anyone who'd like would write a letter asking for advice (voracity is irrelevant as we're going to guess at it, regardless), I think we'll have a grand time. And we'll all comment on the letters here in the comment section (either in submarinerly fashion or no. Let's see if that ends up being the favorite idea, of there's an as-of-yet-unmentioned diamond in the rough...

    Good cheer! :-)

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  28. Oh my, Kati, your Walter Cronkite dish sounds wonderful! Mmmmm! I might add a little mayonnaise once it reached my plate, just because I'm built like that, but, perhaps not. Sounds already wonderfully rich! :-)

    I know that we'll cross paths before then, but, here's hoping that your travels are wonderful, low-stress and happy!

    Good cheer, Kati! :-)

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  29. Excellent stuff, Debbie. All around, but, I especially like your shout out to LW#5. And, too, I'm a meatasaur, too, so yes, I absolutely appreciate the all-day pork roast. You know, I had one awhile back, cooked to perfection pulled in little pieces, made into soft tacos with fresh cut pico de gallo! Oh, be still my heart. :-) Good stuff, Deb. :-)

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  30. Greetings Criker, and ahoy to you! I apologize if I mislead you. We haven't been here at "The Fly" for a year--I've been writing "From A Submariner's Perspective" for a year (Fray + The Fly). I've personally been on The Fray a lot longer, but the column is only one year old (almost). :-)

    As for your sentiments regarding LW#2, i totally understand!

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  31. Greetings Roo! It certainly seems as if Messy's idea (or a very close approximation of it) will be the winner. Please add any details you'd like. :-)

    As for LW#1 and the stating things clearly and nicely approach, I have to explain how terribly wrong that would have gone with my psycho boss. My boss was literally mentally ill. There's really no other excuse for that type of behavior. Being sad every once in awhile, even crying at work quietly every once in a great while, is entirely acceptable. What the LW describes, though, and what I experienced, is the work of a world class, self-centered, functional sociopath (probably with bi-polarism thrown into the mix). It's terribly nasty and impossible to reason with. Trust me! Honest! :-)

    But, I admire your instincts regarding the boss. I think they'd work in 99% of the cases!

    Good cheer!

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  32. Greetings to you too Smags! That is exactly why I suggested having a recording device with him... for that 1% cases of sociopaths! :-D

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  33. Good grief Smaggy! Don't you dare add mayo to your Cronkites!

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  34. We could compete to see who could write the most ridiculous TRUE letter! Yeah, yeah insist that the letters be REAL and answer the top five most ridiculous....

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  35. Ahoy Roo! Well, yeah, except a recording device in the professional world will likely get you in more trouble than it'll help you! Although, wouldn't it be fun to post one of her rants on YouTube?! :-)

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  36. I *thought* that'd get ya, Kati! :-) HA! I do love mayonnaise, there's no doubt, but I also recognize when it needs to stay in the 'fridge. ;-)

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  37. Messy, that just might be the way to go. I could answer four or five (assuming we got that many!), but, I would certainly post them all! So, sounds like your idea is winning so far. :-)

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  38. Ahoy Smaggy! I sent you an e-mail in preparation for the anniversary....

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  39. Greeting's Everyone and Congrat's Smagalicious!

    I'm up for a celebration regardless of the official event date. And I do have burning questions for you and will send them in.

    Being one of those that reads everyone's posts with the desire to either learn something I can put to use in my life or as important, get a huge laugh out of, here's my idea that may encompass both.

    Smaggie what would you think of everyone writing in or posting their most embarrassing moments in life and how they got past feeling like a huge dork afterwards, and how long that took? I have several and still shake my head while internally wondering...what the hell were you thinking at the time? And when, fer the love-a Mike will you completely let it go! I get half way towards being OK with my out-of-body-dork-moments-in-time then, there is that one little thing, that reels me back into dorkdom where I feel less than wonderful, less than graceful, less than smart.

    Like the one perfect moment in time when I was at the largest exhibit of Whale Sharks in the World with friends at the Georgia Aquarium and as I led the way to seating in this darkened room I tripped on this platform and planted my face in some strange man's crotch. Needless to say we both were highly surprised, but the look on his little kids face sitting next to him was, priceless, never seen a set of bigger eyes in my life. Poor kid almost was crushed by some tourist while having the time of his life at the aquarium and here's this woman with her face planted in their dads groin. OK my nose stopped an inch from contact, but still, I was completely horrified. After I met his groin and raised slowly up and looked into his surprised face, it was again, priceless, he's avoided being mashed and quite happy to realize this. And I'm busy proffering apologies while shrinking as small as I can get, dusting myself off and dashing to the far corner of the place where hopefully no one's eyes had moved off the Whale Shark. Sheesh. And now I wonder what event he's at that he's telling his story and what was his perspective? This 20 seconds in time has stayed way past it's due date.

    Then there was this time I was mugged at the car wash...by the wand thing. ;o)

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  40. Smaggie...you didn't!

    ...made into soft tacos with fresh cut pico de gallo...

    My oh my...what a wonderful idea!

    Yum, must be as wonderful tasting as Fish Taco's made with fresh Dorado...and Guacamole...Sour cream...Cilantro.

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  41. SB1 - well, my silly error. These days time for me just zooms outta control. Being the working mom of a 14 yr old, 2 unruly poodles, and a travelin' hubby that is gone more than home -I tend to have no concept of time :) Ok, so that makes more sense- I was a silent fan on the Fray til it got no fun. So maybe it just seems like a year of fun over here in the lagoon. Either way - a year of FASP is a good milestone, and the celebratory fun (whatever it ends up being) will be a welcome read!! Congrats again! By the By - LOVE that you bother to respond to everyone's comments!!!

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  42. I'm a little late reading Prudie this week, or last week. But I'm still reeling over that guy watching a dog be abused and not saying or doing anything right then. What kind of person holds their tongue with it happening right before their eyes! Was this guy the high school hero or something? Sorry it just bugs.
    The letter regarding the book lover I have another take. I love books too and have even chosen at times to buy books over food. I know, nuts. But even though I don't want to lend one out and get it back dirty, I also know that books are meant to be read, and handling them makes them look used. But that is because they are being read and loved! Let the sister read them or help her start her own personal library. Just my two cents. Keeps my mind off the abused dog.

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