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?
Lender and Lover of Libros
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!