http://www.slate.com/id/2254999/ (05/27/2010) <--- Original Prudie Letter Can Be Found There
Hey-hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine-fine Prudie Day? Here, the birds are chirping, the sky is blue, and there’s not an unemployment letter writer in sight (thank King Neptune, Oh Merciful Ruler of the Raging Main)! It’s going to be a wonderful day! My only complaint (and it’s not really a complaint, truthfully), is, you know how when you plan to wear a garment more than once, like, say, a pair of pants, right? But then you get them all wet and have to forego the second wearing? Yeah, that sucks. But, hell, if that’s the worst thing going on, life is pretty darned good, yes? And so it is with me! As such, let’s get crackin’ on the letters, shall we?
LW#1: Dear Prudie, my mother is a selfish, manipulative, irrational meanie pants! She’s nearly 60, yet just adopted a high-needs child, “Cindy”, on whom my mother has had to call the police due to Cindy’s destructive behavior. That she would adopt Cindy from foster care may seem altruistic, but my mother also keeps other foster children, as many as four high-needs children at a time, and, Prudie, my mom has physical disabilities due to chronic pain. She takes in these kids for the income, not for the children. The situation is just sickening. But that’s not even why I’m writing! My mom is taking a three-week European vacation and has insisted that my sister and I take care of Cindy while she’s gone (the other children will be farmed out to other foster care while my mother is gone). My sister refuses to care for Cindy, not wanting to enable my mother’s bad decision making. My husband, understandably, doesn’t want Cindy in our house with our kids. Yet, my heart breaks for Cindy, who truly is a victim in all of this. What can I do? Signed, Torn Between Duty, Loyalty and Compassion
Dear Torn. There are two ways to look at this. The first way is to ask yourself what you would do if this woman was not your mother, but rather, say, your shitty next door neighbor. Would you call the authorities? Would you tell her to pack sand, even though “Cindy” would be in the same situation? My point is that doing what’s best for Cindy should have nothing to do with your relationship with your mother. If you think Cindy’s in a bad situation that’s only getting worse, you owe it to her to help her, not your mom. And by helping Cindy, I mean contact the authorities if you don’t believe your mom is providing proper care. The second way to look at it, if things aren’t authority-bad, is that you can, if you so choose, reconcile the whole thing by taking care of Cindy over at your mom’s house for the short time that your mom can’t make other arrangements for her care. Surely your husband can take care of your and his kids for, what, a week or so? If not, well, that’s a whole other letter to Prudie. Point is, you’ve got some tough choices to make, but, they’re certainly not unmanageable. If you do decide to help, though, I’d tell your mom “never again!” And I’d mean it. Good luck!
LW#2: Dear Prudie, I’m a female grad student who teaches undergrads. I have strong feelings for one of my former students. There’s no possibility that he’ll ever be a student of mine again, and, as such, there are no rules preventing us from “being together”. And while nothing has happened so far, and we haven’t even talked about our feelings, I don’t want to let go of a chance to be with someone for whom I really think I could care deeply. My only concern is how this might look, my dating a former student. What should I do? Signed, Pulled by the Inevitableness of It All
Dear Inevitably (Already) Banging This Dude. Yeah, nothing’s happened and you two haven’t talked about it like I’m built like Michael Phelps, have earned three Ph.D.s, and own a private jet. But, whatever. Point is this: you aren’t going to listen to anyone who tells you to stay away from this guy, so why even ask? But, that aside, my advice is simple: You don’t have to pursue this guy. I know, right? It’s actually that simple. There’s nothing that says you have to go after him except your throbbing nether regions. Amazing, isn’t it, how simple that is? If you say to yourself, “I don’t want to eat that cookie”, then you don’t eat it, right? Or you do. Your choice. Your responsibility. Your consequences. What, you think there’s some greater and more irresistible cosmic force pulling you two together? There’s not. It’s called lust, and it’s well documented. You two were no more fated to a destiny together than Bret Michaels is to one of his many ‘Rock of Love’ shelale milkers. Sure, plenty of fun could be had, but you can find that same fun in all sorts of places. Ultimately, it’s your choice, not Prudie’s, or anyone else’s. But, like I said, you’re already boinking this guy, anyway, so, what’s the point of asking?
LW#3: Dear Prudie, I’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer. I’ve had surgery, followed by chemo and radiation, and I’ll be taking medication for the next two years. The problem is my prognosis. I read that life expectancy for someone with my condition is only about five years. Prudie, I’m 42 with a husband and young kids and I can’t help but feel horrified. All the time. Like my death is just looming. I often can’t help but break down crying. I want to fight this, Prudie, but I need to improve my emotional state. What can I do? Signed, Perhaps Dying, But Not Dead Yet
Greetings Not Dead. Listen, I’m not going to sugar coat this. Your situation sucks big donkey balls, no doubt. And other than if you were the donkey who owned said balls, that’s about as cruddy as it gets. But, I have to say that I’m pretty concerned about something you’ve said. You said that you “read that the life expectancy for someone with my diagnosis”... That’s a huge red flag to me. Listen, I know the Internet is a wonderful thing, full of magic and fairy dust, but it is not a doctor. At all. And neither are you (far as I know). In order to empower yourself, you need to talk to a real live doctor about your specific prognosis. Yours. You need that doctor to examine you, look at your charts, look at your condition, with your specific set of circumstances, and then give you an honest opinion on your life expectancy. Then ask what you can do to improve that time (if it’s not good). Then, talk to another doctor! Information is power, yes, but it has to be correct information, and, please forgive me, but your reading up on life expectancy on your own is like throwing a dart. Sure, you might be aiming at the correct target. But, too, you might be shooting at the wrong board all together. Empower yourself with hard facts from experts. Make a list of very specific questions, get your charts and files and sit down with a doctor and get your questions answered. All of them. And if you’re the least bit intimidated by doctors, take someone with you who is not and who will advocate for you. You can do this! Good luck!
LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’m the only healthy male working in a department of eight people. We have one of those 5-gallon water jug thingies. I’m the only one in the office who can change out the jugs because everyone else is just too damned weak and puny. That would be okay, I guess, except this one bitch who keeps writing me e-mails, asking me to change out the jug when it gets empty! Damn, Prudie, what happened to Women’s Lib? Why does it have to be me? I bring my water from home! Signed, Bitter Water Boy
Dear Bitter. Damn man, you got it rough, don’t’cha? I mean, whew, just reading your letter made me feel for you, Brother. Listen, it’s simple: if you don’t want to do it, don’t do it. I mean, wow, that was difficult, huh? Think you’re gonna be fired for not changing out the water jug? How did they do it before you and your manly biceps showed up? But listen, on the other hand, why not just change out the damned jug? I don’t suggest that from ignorance. I’m the mover of water in my department. We have twenty people and some of them really are healthy enough to do it. So why don’t they? Hell, I don’t know. Lazy, I guess? You can actually watch people show up with their cup, notice the empty container and walk away?! Yet, I have a choice. I can spend the less than sixty seconds it takes to do it and forget about it ‘til next time, when, you guessed it, it’ll take me most of a whole other minute or less to do it again, or, I can get all worked up, pissed off, bitter and angry about it. I chose to just change out the water jug. However, I will admit that if anyone wrote me an e-mail, expecting me to do it, I might get a little bent up about it. I mean, how hard is it to get up, come over to my office, flirt with me a little, show me your tits, and then ask me to change out the big, heavy-wevy water bottle?! The nerve of some people!
Well shippers, that’s about it, I guess! What a wondrous week it’s been! I hope that the coming weekend treats you all wonderfully, with beautiful weather, happy times spent doing whatever it is you treasure most, and tranquility. Until next time, fair winds and following seas to you, shippers!