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, June 24, 2010

...on Dancing, Destructive Boyfriends and Scabies (6/24/10) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? All here is wonderful! The sun is in full bloom and burning bright, but, not too, too hot. Sort of like the perfect mixture of light and heat, you know? And while I know these perfect conditions can’t last, I’m certainly enjoying them while they do! I hope that all’s well with you, too, Shippers! They clearly aren’t so well with the letter writers, though, eh? So, with that in mind, let’s get crackin’, shall we? But, before we do, I have a special bit of code for hrumpole that I find truly amazing: two days, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-7, 59-59. Wow!

LW#1: Dear Prudie, We have a strange form of employee recognition at my company. Whenever someone does something great (like a big sale, new client, etc.), they’re made to get up in front of everyone (we all gather in the lobby) and dance. Yes, dance! And this is purportedly for recognition, Prudie!? I’ve only been here for three months and I’ve been made to dance three times already. I’d much rather receive some time off, or a gift card, or, well, just about anything. And, fact is, it’s making me strive for mediocrity out of fear of being made to dance. What can I do? Signed, Yes, You Can Put Baby In A Corner!

Dear Baby, What a strange place you work! It sounds like you deal with high pressure sales with and extra side of slime. And while that’s so not my scene (and sounds as if it may not be yours), I understand that there are some people out there who thrive on that shit! I know, right? The way I see it, you have two choices: start looking for new work, or, if you think he/she will hear you and appropriately act on your concerns, talk to a trusted supervisor and tell them that you’re epically uncomfortable with dancing in front of everyone, and, that you fear of it's actually affecting your job performance. Either way, in the meantime, watch "Napoleon Dynamite". He’ll show you how to get your groove on in front of the whole office, even while maintaining your dignity. Mostly.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I have the bestest, most greatest boyfriend in the whole world...but, he sometimes gets angry and takes out his frustration on inanimate objects. And Prudie, here’s the kicker. It’s over stupid, little stuff! Like, for example, he nearly destroyed a desk of ours because the computer was running too slow. While I don’t have a single fear that he’ll harm me (I really don’t), I do worry and am frightened when he acts like this. Because the threat is never toward me, is this something I can ask him to curb? When we’ve talked about it in the past, he says he can’t control it. That he sort of just blacks out with rage. What should I do? Signed, I Sometime Feel Like Cowering In A Corner

Dear Cowering, You may be amazed with what I’m about to say, but, what your boyfriend is going through is relatively normal (for a late teen, early twenty-something male). Not necessarily the breaking of things, but the white-hot, crazy, non-specific rage. Some people deal with it better than others, obviously. But, what’s not acceptable, ever, is the random destruction of your belongings. That’s a lack of respect for you and your things. So, what you point out to him is that if he wants to act like a Neanderthal and not learn to better control his emotions (which he can, and soon will), he’d better fucking learn not to break anything that belongs to you because you will not put up with it. Replacing it isn’t good enough because, frankly, some things just aren’t replaceable, and, fact is, you don’t want to replace your things. You want them intact. Make sure that he understands that it’s a matter of respect for you and that you’re dead serious about this issue. Let him know that it’s a deal breaker for you. Unlike Prudie, I’m not jumping to fear of your future kids seeing this behavior, I’ll just ask you how you’ll feel if he breaks your grandmother’s porcelain doll collection, you know, by uncontrollable blind “accident”. You deserve respect and that isn’t expressed only by him deigning not to hit you. Your property and peace of mind are also important to your emotional wellbeing.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, My dad had a stroke about a year ago. Prior to that, he was fully-engaged, functional and energetic. And though he still has all mental and speech faculties, he has been physically damaged beyond repair and requires 24/7 medical care. Two months ago, my mom died. This has been devastating, obviously, and, what’s worse, my siblings and I have found out that her death was avoidable! She was misdiagnosed and mistreated. Two of my siblings want to tell my dad about this error, two of us want to keep it from him, knowing what he’s already been through in such a short time. What should we do? Signed, Hard Choices Are Painting Me Into A Corner

Dear Choice Maker, There is no question. You must tell him. Yes, he has had a really shitty year. Yes, the news will upset him. Yes, it will likely put him into a hell of a funk. But let me be 100% perfectly clear. Finding out randomly that it was kept from him--perhaps from a stranger?! That news will devastate him, shake his trust in you, and fortify fears that he’s already grappling with that he’s a burden on you and your siblings. Do the right thing. And do not wait. This is more important than you can possibly imagine and I’ll chalk up your indecision on you and your siblings having been under a lot of stress this year, too. It’s clear your hearts are in the right place. Hang in there.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, Last weekend, my boyfriend and I hosted a small party. Our friend “John” was one of our guests. All went well. Well, the next day, I saw on some girl’s FaceBook page that she had scabies and that she’d gotten it at a friend’s house while sleeping in their guest bed--with John!!! I’m mortified and pissed beyond rage that John would come to our house with scabies! I want to drop him as a friend, and out him FaceBook via a letter to all of our mutual friends. What should I do? Signed, I Think John Needs To Go Stand In The Corner

Dear Thinker, I wonder how trustworthy this information is that you got? Did it say, “John and I got scabies”? Or, did it say, “I got the scabies when John and I slept together”? Or, did it (most likely) say, “John is an insensitive jerk face who broke up with me, and, oh, yeah, by the way, he gave me the scabies! Yeah, that’s the ticket!” Thing is, you don’t know shit. You have no clue, actually, unless there was a scanned, dated medical report stating that John had the guest riders. And, even if he did have scabies, what’s to say they weren’t already treated by party time? You can get prescription medication for that shit, you know? And, in less than a week, with just two applications, they’re gone. So, I’d suggest calming your ass down and taking care of your own business. There are all sorts of things you can do to greatly reduce your risk of getting infected if they are in your house. So do them. And quit being such an idiot. Oh, and, you know, if you want to drop John as a friend, just drop him. Manufactured scabies indignation and FaceBook letter bombs are like hanging a sign around your neck that says, “Get involved with me and you’ll be on a one-way ride into the danger zone! Enter at own risk!”

And that, Shippers, is that. I hope that you’re all having a wonderful day, week and month. What are you summer plans? What have you already done that was fun and exciting? Do tell! Fair winds and following seas to you all.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

...on Father's Day Issues Galore (6/17/10) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? And, it’s a special Father’s Day edition of Prudie, too! How can you beat that?! Speaking of, I’d like to wish a happy Father’s Day to my dad, we’ll call him by the nick “SmagDad1”, both for ease of memory and to protect his privacy. I hope it’s a great day, SmagDad1! Happy Father’s Day! That said, and with today’s Father’s Day theme clearly in force, let’s get crackin’ on these letters, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie,

A few years back, I married my high school sweetheart. Later, I had an affair. My husband found out, but, we decided to stay together and work through things. After that, I found out that I was pregnant with my mistertress’ child. Even though my husband was all bummed and stuff, he stood by me and has been the most bestest father ever! My question is, do we ever tell our son that his dad isn’t his real father? My ex-mistertress has kindly offered to honor whatever decision we make regarding this touchy issue.

Signed, One Too Many Baby Daddies

Dear Psychic Parentage Diviner,

Like Prudie, I’m not sure how you could know with certainty the father of this child unless you and your husband went sexless for quite awhile, before and after the affair, which, I suppose could have happened, but, if I were you, I still wouldn’t be positive unless there’s just absolutely no doubt. As in ab-so-lute-ly no doubt. So there’s that, but, you know what else? There’s even an easier way to figure out who the child’s father is. Look on the birth certificate! Find the box that says “Father”. Look at the name there. It’s your husband’s, right? And he’s the one acting and living and loving and being your child’s father? Well then, there you go. Other kids should have it so good!

(***Update:  Upon taking much flak in The Fray over this post, I'd like to add the following.  It's not a capitulation, but an addendum:  LW should sit down with her husband and come up with the best strategy to let the boy know the truth when he's ready. Whether that's at age three, thirteen or thirty, I don't care. It's not about the when or if. It's about the fact that the boy has an apparently loving and devoted father already.  That said, I do acknowledge the child's right to know.)

LW#2: Dear Prudie,

My wife and I normally agree on all things regarding rearing the children. We have a son and a daughter, 7 and 11. They play baseball and softball respectively, but, I coach my son’s baseball team and we have games on Mondays and Wednesdays. Our daughter has games on Tuesdays and Thursdays (and on alternating Fridays). Because I have to be at every single one of my son’s games (as the coach), I plan on attending only one of the two or three games per week that our daughter plays. My wife says I’m being selfish and spurning our daughter in favor of my son. I say my wife’s a bitch for even insinuating such a thing. I mean, don’t I deserve a couple of nights of freedom per week?

Signed, One Too Many Babies Daddied

Dear Selfish Bastard,

So, like, how long is baseball/softball season? Really, that’s all I have to say to you. I mean, holy shit. You chose to be coach to your son’s team, right? It’s not like you were drafted under threat of physical torture, right? So, either quit your post as coach, or, holy shit, go to your kids’ games. Jesus H. Fucking Christ on a crumb cake?! Prudie let you off way too easily, as, I guess, she’s afraid of being called a misandrist on Father’s Day, or because she skipped her own kid’s games and fears shame? I’m not saddled with either such fear. Prudie is correct to ask if you are planning to coach softball next year, though. If so, and if you plan on missing half your son’s games, I supposed you’ve got some leverage with your wife against charges of spurning your daughter, but, still, why? Ball season for your kids is all of three months. They’re kids and playing ball for, what, about ten years, max? So, three months times two extra games attended per week times ten years equals (assuming four weeks per month, carry the one) 240 extra nights in your life, “ruined” by attending games?! You want me to break down the actual hours you’re going to “lose”, jackass? Here’s hoping that instead you can do that math and figure out what’s important all on your own.

LW#3: Dear Prudie,

I’m a single mom of three teenagers. I divorced when they were very young and then shackled myself to them, sacrificing every aspect of my life in order to serve them. I’m a great mom, Prudie. Honest! And my girls love me to death. They visit their father on occasion and hate it. He plops them in front of the TV and just does what he’d normally do. They hate it. It’s torture to them. But, fact is, when they go, I like to use that time to unwind. I eat ice cream naked in the mornings! I don’t have to drive them every the fuck where! It’s great, Prudie, and I need it! They don’t want to go this summer and my sister says that I’m “destroying” them by making them. Now I’m afraid they’ll put me in a nursing home in my old age when they’re the ones who are stressed and need their naked ice cream time!

Signed, One Too Many Chick Flicks or Romance Novels Absorbed

Dear Naked Ice Cream Lady,

Teenager’s, eh? So, that means the youngest is 13 and oldest, if step ladder kids, 15. You’re one year, or less (and probably less, as I suspect they’re older than that--you did mention college) from allowing them to drive themselves places. They’ve also been old enough for years to respect your closed bedroom door (that came at about age five). You need to start taking advantage of both. As for the worries about the nursing home, I’d listen to that bit of self guilt, ‘cause I’m pretty sure you’re not telling us everything, but your subconscious knows the truth. And one last thing, because this is a personal pet peeve of mine, you aren’t “sacrificing” anything for your kids, you selfish git. I don’t care if you donate a lung and kidney and an eyeball to them, you aren’t “sacrificing” anything. Love is not a sacrifice. Look, I’m not suggesting you have to be their slave, but I am suggesting you get over the whole fucking "woe is me" victim attitude. You’re the one who opened her legs, yes? It's not like they decided to crawl up in your womb, uninvited, is it?  Had you not played hide the salami with their daddy, you could eat all the ice cream naked you want, yes? Well there you go. Live with it, Hon, because it’s all on you. Sacrifice, my ass...

LW#4: Dear Prudie,

I recently received an e-mail from my emotionally-distant, slightly unbalanced, single-for-a-reason father. He’s signed up on a dating website and would like for me to write a testimonial for him. I don’t want to. It sounds pretty icky to me, but, even if that wasn’t the case, like I say, he’s single for a reason! He really does have issues and has used them to treat me and my family terribly at times. The only problem is that if I don’t do this, I’m afraid he’ll be offended. What should I do?

Signed, One Too Many Offenses

Dear Daughter With Daddy Issues,

Boy, he’s got your wrapped around his finger, doesn’t he? He treats you like shit, is ornery, is single-for-a-reason (which I read to mean that he treated your mom like shit, too), yet, you’re worried about hurting his feelings?! I think what you need to be worried about is why you feel the need to be a victim to this man? The answer for what to do here is simple. Just say “no”. If he needs to know why, and you feel the need to tell him, you can, but, don’t listen to any of his retaliatory, emotionally manipulative bullshit. You are being gamed by a classic manipulator. You need to talk with a therapist or read up on how to get out of the cycle of being manipulated/abused by people like this. I warn you, though, it may shed some light on your marriage (here’s hoping not--that your husband is a wonderful man, but, all too often, we marry our parents)... Proceed tenderly, but do proceed. It’s important.

Well Shippers, that pretty much does it for this week’s letters. I have a fun weekend planned! I might even go see a movie! Or cook something exciting! Or maybe just pad around the house and just be. Plus, there’s homework. Tons and tons of homework. So, you know, it is what it is. But, regardless of that, I still plan on it being wonderful! Here’s hoping that yours is, too! ‘Til next time, fair winds and following seas to you all, Shippers!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

...on Learning Mommy Was A Real Person, Too (6/09/10) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? All here is well. There’s been rain, and lots of it, but I don’t mind. I’d rather there be rain than drought, you know? Plus, I know for an absolute fact that the sun is going to be shining in all of its radiant glory any day now. I guess I’m an optimist in that regard. Or psychic. Or a meteorologist? Nah, just optimistic. Anyway, enough of that. We’ve got letters! So, rather than indulge my alternative career fantasies, let’s get crackin’, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, I’m lost. Even more than normal. See, my mom died when I was a teenager, so, I’ve spent the last thirty years making her into a quasi-goddess. A saint-on-Earth. An icon. I preach about her to my children. I pray to her at night. I inform anyone who’ll listen that I’m living for my mother’s memory and that it is what nourishes me, sustains me, fulfills me. Sadly, though, in recently helping my father move into an apartment, I received my mother’s personal diary. Of course I read it, and I found out that that damned bitch hated me! What a whore! I hate her now more than ever, Prudie. She probably cheated on my wonderfully perfect and magnanimous dad, Prudie, and probably raped me as a child, too. What can I do, Prudie?

Dear Poor Sad Crushed Little Girl, there’s only thing for it. Start living your own damned life, you know, for your own self, based on your own standards and your own morals, instead of trying to deify and demonize the people around you and pretend that it’s for them that you live your life and meet your successes and suffer your failures. They’re human beings, just like you. Nothing more, nothing less. They are no more worthy of your worship or damnation than the kitchen garbage pail. If you can’t live for yourself, you’re relegating everyone around you into some sort of fantasy world that doesn’t exist except in your own warped head. I strongly suggest some counseling in an effort to try to get at why you can’t connect with people in a realistic and healthy way. You need it. Desperately.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, my husband and I host frequent get-togethers at our home for a group of our church friends. One of the wives recently confided in me that her husband finds it difficult to control his lust for other women. At the next meeting, I noticed she was patting her neck in an apparent clandestine message meant to encourage me to button up my blouse, which, by the way, Prudie, was buttoned all the way up save for one button?! I changed my top rather than confront this woman, but, after thinking about it, I realized the behavior was quite rude. The blouse was perfectly acceptable! Am I really responsible for wearing a frumpy sweatshirt with trash bag over it every time we host a party?

Dear Poor Sad Hallelujah Hostess, there’s only one thing for it. You have to come to the realization that this woman is insanely jealous of you. She’s worked it up in her mind that her husband wants you. Badly. And she’s determined that the root of his lust is your tits. But don’t worry. Cover them up and next week it’ll be your legs. And then your hips. You know the answer here: either quit inviting this woman into your home, period, or, if you choose to continue to do so, the next time she tries her little “you need to cover up your skanky-assed ho self” routine, you can walk over and say, “Sally, you have a choice. I’m dressed appropriately. If you can’t handle it, you’ll need to remove yourself from the situation because I won’t be changing my attire to suit you.” Notice how I didn’t say a word about her husband? Good, because believe me, if he’d been staring you down, you’d have noticed. This is all Sally, and your acquiescing on this only emboldens her resolve and feeling of moral righteousness.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I was recently in a short-term relationship with an aspiring writer/blogger. I value my privacy and didn’t really care to be the subject of any of her blog entries, but, in an effort to keep the peace, I acquiesced on the grounds that she only use my initials when blogging. Well, after the breakup, she’s continued to blog about me, painting me in an unflattering light, like saying I am “emotionally distant”, etc. The fact that she has pictures on her blog makes it worse, and I’m afraid that family, friends and potential employers might see this blog and hold its contents against me. What can I do?

Dear Poor Sad Photographed Ex, there’s only one thing for it. Well, a couple of things, actually, but, I had a theme going and I wasn’t about to break it to satisfy you (did you see that, LW#2, see how it works?). First off, you have to realize that no one’s looking at this lady’s blog. I mean, sure, a few friends and faithful readers (which are very cool to have, by the way), but the world is full of, literally, billions of people. And one of them who shouldn’t be reading her blog anymore, but still is, apparently, is you. So stop it! Damn! What, do you like drama or something? You paying her blog any attention whatsoever is like icing or her cake of self-pity and loathing. So stop it! Finally, if you just can’t get over yourself and your image is that important, recognize that you can easily get the photos removed via legal channels. It’s so easy that a nine-year-old who learns that her dead mother hates her could do it. So read up on applicable law and then keep feeding this woman icing. Unless, you know, you want to move on, drama-free? Nah, didn’t think so.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, there’s a woman at my place of work, “Cindy”, who is about to be fired. She’s a nice lady, but just isn’t cutting it responsibility-wise. She’s been warned several times, is currently on probation, and still hasn’t improved. I’m in management and could tell her that the ax is coming. My hope there would be that she could be more prepared to find a new job by using the extra time to dust off her résumé, look through the wanted ads, etc. Prudie, she was widowed a few years back and is putting her kids through college and it just breaks my heart. Of course, it’s against company policy to tell her what I know, so, it’d be a risk, but, as I say, she’s a nice lady and I’d like to help her out. What should I do?

Dear Poor Sad Woman-in-the-Know, there’s only one thing for it. Zip it! Tell me, Ms. Management Lady, can you not predict how many bad ways ‘til Sunday it could turn out if you decide to tell her? Not only might you lose your job, Cindy might decide to use this extra time to gather whatever information she can to sue your company. Telling her, unless you did it exactly right, using exactly the right words, could come back to haunt you in ways that you’re clearly not thinking about right about. Further, what makes you think she would use her ‘extra’ time in a productive manner? It doesn’t sound like planning is one of her strong points. Now, what you can do to help her is to try to use your network to find a job for her that she can handle. It might do for you to offer a shoulder after she’s been let go, perhaps take her to dinner or have coffee with her, let her vent, etc. But, you should never, ever, ever talk about what you know or what anyone at work has said about her or her work. The conversation about her firing needs to be a one-way street, from her to you. Point being, there are things you can do to help without risking your own livelihood. And if you want to help her, that’s the best way.

Well Shippers, that about does it for me this week. I hope that you’re all doing wonderfully well on this fine, fine Prudie Day and that your week and weekend are as wonderful as ever! So, until next week, fair winds and following seas to you, Shippers!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

...on Masturbating in the Law Office (and other offenses) (06/03/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? How is the wonderouds, beauteous, incredible month of June treating you? Are you happy, healthy and warm (or at least appropriately air-conditioned)? I hope so! I am on vacation this week, enjoying an extended holiday weekend all week long! But, that doesn’t mean that I’m not with you, too, here in the Lagoon! In that way, I’m always here, and happily! But, all of the pleasantries aside, we’ve got several letters to get to, eh? And there are some good ones this week, too! So, what do you say? Let’s get crackin’!

LW#1: Dear Prudie, I am a young female attorney who recently started work at a small law office. On a recent morning, I arrived at work much earlier than normal and believe that I walked in on my boss masturbating. He was the only other person in the office and had no idea that I was there. Though, admittedly, I didn’t actually see him masturbating, I’m 95% sure that’s what was going on. If I report anything, it’ll feel very strange because I’m the new, young, female attorney and I’d have to report it to the older, established male attorneys. And worse, my boss is not the person who makes pay decisions, so, I can’t even leverage this information in any lucrative way. What to do? Signed, Ruminating on Masturbating

Dear Ruminating, I think I can help. I recently received a letter from an ungrateful, twit, shit bag. I’m 95% sure that she was masturbating while she wrote it because nothing else would explain how someone so ostensibly intelligent (she holds a law degree that I assume did not come from a Cracker Jack box) could be so out-of-this world, undeniably fucking stupid. Do you know what I told her? I said, “Mind your own fucking business, you goddamned, gold digging fuck stain. How about you try actually working for your pay instead of getting everywhere in life through the work of others? First your parents, who I’m certain paid for your schooling (although clearly forgot to instill any morals or common decency or work ethic), and now your innocent boss who, assuming he was alone, got caught in an unfortunate, but entirely harmless situation.” I doubt she heeded my advice though. Some people are beyond being helped. Mostly, from what I hear, they become attorneys.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, Several months back, my ex, angry over having to pay child support, told my 15-year-old son several lies about the nature of our marriage and my son’s parentage! He said that I’d trapped my ex in the relationship with lies. That I was a slut who had no idea who the father was, that I’d tried to put up our son for adoption, and other lies. My son was furious when he came home to me, but wouldn’t say why. As a result, I snooped on his computer and found out what my ex had said. Now I don’t know what to do? If I defend myself to my son, I’ll have to admit that I snooped. Which is worse, being a slut who doesn’t know the parentage of her child, or a mom who snoops on her 15-year-old son? Signed, Ruminating on Capitulating

Dear Ruminating, the solution is simple. You snooped, right? You knew it was wrong and yet you did it. Why? Well, because you were concerned and were trying desperately to find answers. Should you have? No. Never. Because we see how it ends up. Every. Single. Fucking. Time! Point is, there’s no excuse to snoop. Ever (unless there are drugs or other potentially death-inducing situations involved and the person in question is a minor)! But, now that you’ve done it, you sure do have your answers, don’t you? What can you do now? Well, the way I see it, you’ve got only once choice. Continue being the stabilizing factor in your son’s life. Continue (or start) being the mature adult in his life. Continue (or start) providing a solid example for the kind of person he should grow up to be. He may not be your friend right now. He may not even like you. But don’t give him reason to not respect you. The former concerns pass, but the latter one? That goes on forever and spills into other relationships. He’ll figure out that your ex is a flaming fucking idiot and the former concerns will change. You, on the other hand, can do better than that. Be the adult in this situation as it’s in desperate need of one. Good luck and hang in there.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, I’m in my mid-20s and my best friend and I used to be inseparable. At the beginning of the year, we were in a terrible car accident (she was driving). While I escaped with only a few broken bones, my friend died. Everyone was devastated. My question is about her stuff. I want it. Well, not all of it, just the things that I gave her. And maybe some additional sentimental trinkets that might help me remember her. I don’t imagine they’re things that would mean a lot to her family, but they would to me. Oh, yeah, I’d like to get back a book that I loaned her, too. How can I broach this subject with her parents and family? Should I just let it go? Signed, Ruminating on Indignating

Dear Ruminating, I find myself very confused by your letter. I mean, I should feel really bad for you. I should pity your circumstances and want to help you navigate this minefield with your friend’s family. But for some reason I don’t. And I’m not sure why? As a matter of fact, I find myself almost having to resist admonishing you for even writing in. Why is that, do you think? And, if I, a stranger, feel that way, how do you imagine her family will feel? Perhaps we can figure this out through some questions. I have several. If you were so close with your friend, why haven’t you talked to her parents before writing to Prudie?! Why haven’t you met with them? Why haven’t all of you grieved together? Perhaps your friend had a bad relationship with her parents? Perhaps you’ve only known her a short time, or the two of you lived far away from her family? Perhaps you’ve never met her family? Something in your letter just doesn’t add up and I can’t put my finger on it, but, in the meantime, it makes it impossible for me to offer very specific advice other than to say that you should, in fact, just let it go. I would hope that you’ve sent your condolences to this family? In this case, that may be all you can do. I’m sorry for your loss and wish you the best for a full recovery, but I wish the same for your friend’s family, and I fear you hold part of the key to that one in that a careless or insincere request from you could cause far more pain than healing.  I do hope you'll proceed wisely.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, My husband is a 15-year military veteran. Since leaving the service, he developed a condition that caused him to lose his leg. The condition was not service related. However, we are often stopped in public by well-meaning individuals who ask if my husband is a veteran, and, upon his answering in the affirmative, will offer all sorts of gratitude for his service and sacrifice to our country. It seems dishonest to accept the gratitude, though, considering the fact that he leg was not lost due to a service-related injury. We don’t want to go into my husband’s medical history when this happens, but also don’t want to discourage people from thanking vets in the future. What should we do? Signed, Ruminating on Fabricating

Dear Ruminating, why not just tell the truth? Say, “Oh, thank you very much, but, just to be clear, while I am a veteran, my condition is not a result of my time in the service.” Whew! Tough, eh? One whole sentence! Listen, just so you know, when I wear my command ball cap to the local hardware store, I get stopped and thanked for my service, too. Sometimes, yes, even with tears. And I have both of my legs. And while, like you, it makes me feel a little awkward when this happens, it is well-meaning enough. The specifics of your situation, however, are not difficult to explain. Just use the sentence I gave you above. How hard is that? And finally, just because I’m curious about the specifics, why are you writing in about this situation? Your husband is the veteran, yes? Your husband is the one with the missing leg, right? Presumably, he’s the one who answers these queries (or do you answer for him)? Since I see this entire situation as one that he should handle, and not you, I’m not sure why you’re handling any aspect of it, but, that’s a letter for another day, I suppose (but, you don’t cut his meat for him, do you?). Good luck, and remember, the truth will set you free!

Well, Shippers, that’s about it! This is a quick, down and dirty version because, as I say, I’m vacationing. But, if I’ve missed anything, if I’m off the mark, or, if you just wanted more snark and would like to add it in, please feel free to leave word in the comment section, below. Good cheer, Shippers. Fair winds and following seas to you all!