http://www.slate.com/id/2256360/ (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!