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, August 12, 2010

...on Parents of Every Disposition (except "Good")

http://www.slate.com/id/2263601/  (8/12/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day?! It’s a hum-dinger of one, too, in that I’m enjoying yet another gorgeous, incredible sunrise. Of course, weather calls for it to be the last for awhile, what with rain and clouds moving in this evening. Oh well. Enjoy the glories of life as they can be enjoyed, yes? :-) But, that aside, and with even more Reader Mail to answer today, we’d best get crackin’!

LW#1: Dear Prudie. About three and a half years ago, I dropped out of college (with one semester to go) to take care of my ailing mother for the last two and a half years of her life. I took care of her every need, day-in and day-out. During that time, I borrowed $4,500 from my father to pay for living expenses. Well, after my mom passed away and my dad began collecting her hefty life insurance and state pension payouts, he presented me with a bill for the money I’d borrowed! And while I haven’t paid him, he never allows the opportunity to pass to mention that I “owe” him. What should I do? Can I present him with a bill for the two and a half years of my life that I gave up caring for my mom, his wife? Signed, In Debt

Dear Liar-liar, Pants on Fire. You’re bound to get all sorts of sympathy from your fake-ass take on this situation. I mean, Prudie bought your bullshit story, hook, line and sinker. But I don’t. At all. First off, I’m pretty good at math. And no one, and I mean no one, can live on $4,500 over two years without supplemental income of some sort. Especially if they’re living away from their parents’ home. Which, if you were, you weren’t caring day-in, day-out for your mom, you were working a job, paying for your stuff and running from college (was it grades? a relationship gone wrong? about to be kicked out for integrity issues?). If you were living at home while caring for mom, you were eating there, showering there, using the facilities there. In other words, if that’s the case, the $4,500 wasn’t for living expenses, it was for luxuries like your brand new smart phone, upon which you probably tweeted incessantly about the years of your life you were giving up. My ass. No one quits college (which, by the way, who was paying for that?) five months prior to graduation to then spend two and a half fucking years caring for an ailing relative, spending every waking moment there. You’re lying, or exaggerating, plain and simple. You could have gone back to school for those few classes at some point during that time. But you didn’t. You’re a scared, entitled little bitch (gender neutral) and trying to place the blame on Daddy (who I have a feeling was very clear, from the beginning, about the $4,500 being a “loan”--you even call it that yourself) and on “caring” for your ailing mom. For two and a half years. Day in and day out. Whatever. Adults pay back their loans and don’t use family deaths as excuses for their own failings. Grow up.

LW#2: Dear Prudie. My husband and I are in our mid-20s and have a great relationship. As a gift when we got married, my in-laws (who live overseas) gave us a considerable amount of money to put toward the purchase of a home. They’re now moving back to the States and have announced that they’re moving into our home. And, into our master bedroom! And my husband has agreed to it! WTF, over?! Signed, Holy Shit

Dear Time to Move Out. Listen, I know this is going to sound hard, but, there’s only one thing for this. Move out. Gather your stuff, and your husband (if he’ll come), and move out. I’m not suggesting divorce; I’m just saying that, obviously, that house isn’t yours. You can get all butt-hurt and go to court about it being a gift, yaddah-yaddah, but, your husband obviously believes the money given still belongs to his parents. So you two need to find a place of your own, that you two pay for with your own money. DO NOT sell the home. The parents would likely gig you two for the depreciation it’s probably suffered due to the bad market. Just send them the keys with a note that says, “Hey, the kitchen/garage door is a little funny, you have to rattle the handle as you unlock it in order to get in.  Enjoy!” And then move the fuck out. Don’t be bitter. Just think of your mortgage payments as rent and as a very valuable lesson about your in-laws. If your husband won’t move? Yep, well, you know what to do.

LW#3: Dear Prudie. I’m a divorcee living in an apartment complex. There’s a man there who frequents the pool (like I and my daughter do) and it’s obvious he has the hots for me. I’ve never encouraged him, but have found no need to not be friendly. We chat. It’s nice. Well, the other day, he walked toward me with some suntan lotion and asked me to “do his back.” Prudie, he’s gross! He has acne and is hairy! I did his back, but don’t ever want to do so again. He crossed an obvious line, wouldn’t you say? What a dick! What should I say if he asks again? Signed, Perfectly Blemish-free and Hairless Lady

Dear Squeamish. Okay, I don’t know what the condition of his back has to do with this. Are you saying that if he was all fine and buff and squish-inducing, you would have been fine with slathering him up? Regardless, here’s the deal: don’t be fucking “doing” people’s backs with whom you don’t currently have (or want to have) an intimate relationship. That sends all sorts of wrong signals. As for what to do with this guy, it’s not like you are now required to do his back just because you’ve done it once. If he asks again, just say, “Sorry Dude. I shouldn’t have done your back the first time. I’m not comfortable with it. I like you, but I don’t like you like you.” He’ll counter with something about how it’s not a sign of liking him, liking him. To which you hold your ground. Problem solved without any bullshit stories or finding new pools. Do not, as Prudie suggests, avoid the pool and lie about your availability. Just grow up. Damn.

LW#4: Dear Prudie. I recently signed up for a cancer walk. I sent out a mass e-mail requesting donations, even noting that a simple $5 donation was enough to help. I don’t care if anyone contributes as it’s for a great cause and I’m just doing it to try to help. Obviously, though, I kept a spreadsheet of everyone who’d contributed, how much they’d contributed, and how quickly they contributed after I sent my e-mail. Doesn’t everyone? I then cross-referenced it with my files on the monetary values I’ve assigned for the time and money I’ve given to them over the year (which, of course, I don’t expect any repayment for). I don’t want to feel all petty, Prudie, but several people didn’t respond to my e-mail! People that I’ve helped significantly in the past by buying their kids’ crap and for whom I’ve done considerable volunteer work (which I’ve tallied to the penny in my spreadsheet). What should I do to guilt them into evening up the scales of our magnanimous, munificent caring for one another? Signed, Not a Flaming Ass Monkey. Honest.

Dear Flaming Ass Monkey. You are the worst kind of flaming ass monkey. The kind of shit bag who ostensibly gives of his/her time, but who constantly keeps a tally of said time and expects repayment, with interest. Prudie says that we all keep a tally of mental favors done. My ass. Perhaps in middle school. Mature adults do things because we want to. And when we decide to give of our time, we should do so with no strings attached, or, we should be clear, up front, that our time is being given with strings. Yours is. Obviously, you prick (gender neutral). So have a shirt made up that says, on the front, “I’m volunteering for you, but...”, and on the back side, in really small print, have it say, “...I’ll be calling in the favor soon, you ungrateful bitches!” Asshole.

And, like last week, Shippers, we’ve got a bit of Reader Mail from a real, live, actual reader! So, as you know, I especially encourage comments on reader mail, but ask that you hold back (at least a little) on the snark, since we like to encourage these letters!

Dear Smag, I received a rambling 4-page email missive today from an old friend that essentially ripped me to pieces. This email was sent to all of the writer’s family and our mutual friends. Back story is that we were close (platonic) friends (dinners every other friday, etc.) for about a decade--up ‘til about six months ago. Six months ago, she started a relationship with a man recently back from Iraq (physically, but not mentally). He began bugging her phone/email, etc., isolating her and getting her all to himself. Then, I felt that I was in physical danger due to a text from him and so severed all ties with my friend by explaining that I didn't feel safe around the new boyfriend. She, at the time, was fine with that and wanted to continue to pursue her new relationship. I have no interest in her romantically (have been happily married for over 5 years). During the ensuing 6 months, she became addicted to painkillers and got up to 10-12 daily. I left her alone, and when her family/friends asked why we were no longer friends, I explained that I didn't think she was of right mind/body and that she and her new boyfriend were dangers--primarily to themselves. Family/other friends attempted an intervention and were rebuffed. Flash-forward 6 months to the e-mail I just received. It states that I got her addicted to the drugs! Further, it says that I am the root of all evil, up to and including the kidnapping of the Lindberg baby! :-) My initial reaction is to not respond as I am not involved with any of the parties and believe this to be the ramblings of someone I no longer know (drugs have changed her too much, etc). Furthermore, I no longer see any of the parties as we don't share the same circles of friends anymore. Any advice? Thanks!! Signed, asking for a “friend”

Dear asking for a “friend”.  My first thought on this is to go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5Snehl2bAk. Start at 1:10 and go through 1:30. That really is just about the gist of my advice! Packaged in nice three-part harmony! :-) Here’s the thing: it sounds like you’ve got a pretty good hold on the situation (mostly). Anything you say in response to this nutty letter will just be twisted and misused (by your former friend, her boyfriend, and by others who side with her). And, it’ll make you look petty. The (perhaps) more difficult, but far better, thing to do is to just ignore it. Block her e-mail address. You don’t need that shit in your life and your family certainly doesn’t! Block her phone number. Completely ignore her. Make her a non-person in your life. I state this so strongly because, the fact that you know how many painkillers she was taking a day, and other details like that, indicates to me that you know too much about a friend with whom you’ve supposedly cut ties. I don't mean that to be rude, I just mean that you have to really cut them now. This letter she sent is obviously not acceptable. The boyfriend is unstable and trained to use weapons.  Distance, in this case, is your friend.  However, do save the e-mail. Just in case. You never know what'll happen in the future and it's good to have proof.  I have a feeling that at some point down the road, once she’s cleaned up and gotten past this, she may come asking for your forgiveness. No matter what, if that does happen, I suggest that you ask her for some time to ponder it. And then, you know, if you're willing, come back here and tell us the juicy details! :-)  Hang in there, asking for a “friend”!

****
Well, Shippers, that about does it! Another fine, fine Prudie Day, come to a close. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me? Have a great day and week, Shippers. Fair winds and following seas to you all! Cheers!

34 comments:

  1. Hmmmm, tried to post once before, don't know where it went. If this is a doubl post sorry!

    Smag, letter one must have really riled you. Don't think I have ever seen a typo in on of your responses. Second, I do bleive that letter four deserves my eye roll of the day. I try not to do too many as people confuse me with one of my teenagers!

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  2. And just to top you I made sure to include a couple of typos in my response. Cue the eye roll.

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  3. Smaggy, it's ALWAYS as good for me as it was for you.

    Wait, I mean...

    Oh crap, oh well. What I meant to say was Great Job!!

    I especially liked your take on the whole Pool Guy scenario. And LW#1 was an angle I hadn't really considered.

    Asking for a "friend," listen to Smagster. He's got the right of it, though I'd say, if possible, if there are some batshit crazy things in the letter that aren't specific to a person (and therefore not anonymous enough to get away with it) Isolate certain parts of the email and submit them to failblog. Enjoy the comments that follow!

    Wait, that was evil Libby speaking. Don't listen to her. She can be a real bitch. ;-)

    Cheers, Mon Capitan!

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  4. I have a different take on LW1, but we'll see that later.

    As for your reader mail, I don't think you went far enough. The LWs friend is an addict, not much different from the junkies you see sleeping in alleys. Just because painkillers are by prescription doesn't make them different from something you buy from your corner dealer.

    The thing he needs to know about addicts is that it's never their fault. Scratch any addict and you will find that they "know" someone else "made" them start taking drugs. Remember that there is no logic here that a sane person will understand.

    My sister (for example) claims that I caused her to spend 30 years taking (at various times and in different combinations) pot, heroin, crack, Oxy, morphine (she stole that from an elderly person dying of cancer whose house she was "cleaning"), cocaine, whatever she could get her hands on.

    How did I cause this? I apparently caused her to miss ONE phone call when she was 12 and in Grade 7 from a guy that she "knows" would have been "the love of her life" and would have prevented her downward trajectory. She is now 44 years old and still a junkie. The story from her changes from time to time, but it's always my fault. Like I said, junkie logic.

    So, the LW no doubt expressed some concern over her choice of significant other or something, and his leaving her alone with the scary loser "made" her start taking whatever it is she's taking because of the "stress". She was prone to something like this anyway. No one "makes" someone destroy themselves with drugs.

    You're right, old thing. He needs to save the squirrely e-mail and avoid this former friend like the plague.

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  5. Well Captain, I can respect your take on LW1, and I do agree in part with you. But (you knew that was coming, right?)...I'll be the first to say (maybe the only) I found it to be pretty darn harsh. I have a friend who did just what this (and I'm assuming LW is female) girl did. She put her life on hold to be nursemaid for her father (her step-father non-the-less). Granted my friend was 32 and just moved back from out of state. She put off buying her own home for the year she tended to him. Granted she had her own money and did not borrow from her parents, but the point is, it is possible for someone to go on hold to help out a dying parent (some diseases are slow and debilitating and horrible).

    However, I totally agree she needs to pay back the loan - because she even called it a loan. Not knowing their family dynamic and taking liberty to assume a relatively "normal" scenario, then I get why she thought the loan would be dismissed...but it wasn't. So pay it back, and if this is the side of your father you can't contend with - then break the ties and get on with your life!

    And for the pool woman...is it just me or wasn't she sending signals to this nice guy chatting with him, enjoying his company at the pool and letting him interact w/ her daughter? I think she needs to carry her part of the blame in this situation! And isn't it so nice that she has no flaws for anyone to over look! Ugh...she just made me so MAD!!

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  6. asking for a "friend"August 12, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    hi all! thanks 4 the comments and the advice from the Submariner! :). particularly enjoyed "Evil Libby's" suggestion! Aunt Messy's comment about the 30 year old phone call counterfactual is amazing! damn! :).

    now putting on my other hat 2 comment on other letters:

    LW#1 - he should add interest/juice and have the meter run. :).

    LW#2 - are there no free lunches? :).

    LW#3 - can U put the lotion lower? um, a little lower, almost there... :).

    LW#4 - use a modified abacus in the office w/ white balls for favors extended and black ones for favors not returned then U will have the tally for all 2 see; :).

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  7. Except for #1, which I will discuss later, all in all excellent advice. When someone has lost their marbles, it doesn't matter why. You still have to avoid them sometimes for your own sake. The last letter is definitely one of those.

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  8. re: answers to Prudie letters -- oh, wow, what a concept!! Adult people acting like, well, adults!! Be straightforward, be honest, say what you mean, no manipulating, no passive-aggressive crap. I wonder if there's any chance of that actually catching on??

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  9. LW3- Listen I mean I'm like, totally amazed you would even get in the pool with this nasty mess. Like, won't that taint your water and stuff? Like, you need to find a new pool. Like, really, OMG! Listen, I'm just like, wondering how like, you can reach like, adulthood and stuff and still have not like, totally, like, figured out that when someone asks you to do something you like, totally don't want to do, you just say no... Like, hello?
    ;)
    J

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  10. Hi Smag! Great answers this week! I felt so bad for LW2. She really thought they were given a hefty downpayment with no strings. Some people do but the turn this took must been a shock. There will be trouble ahead for this marriage I predict. Not that it's her fault.
    LW3 is up icky creek. The things we do to be polite!
    Your advice to the guy with the former friend, now addict is spot on. I have an SIL that went wacko. We save all her hate emails in a folder called "crazy".

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  11. I'm glad to see sombeody else isn't just canonizing LW1. I find myself increasingly wondering why Mamma never bothered to make a will. Even if your read is the closest to the Pin of Truth (this post is being written just as Mr Woods is posting a score of -1 for his opening round), it still seems questionable on the part of someone who held a responsible position in society. After all, if LW1 is a cutch needer, who's been the provider?

    What odds would you give that LW2 wins any possible tug-of-war with the in-laws? It seems highly unlikely.

    I really wanted to do Daria this week, but only L3 provided a good opportunity. The rules are just different for the Unpopular.

    Why don't you tell LW4 how you really feel?

    Nice to see you back not liking anybody.

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  12. Ahoy, mommylady! It's wonderful to see you! And, no double post! Yay! :-) As for LW#4, yes, it's definitely eye roll-worthy.

    Thank you for mentioning the type in Letter #1. I think that I found and fixed it! :-) If it's still there, please let me know! :-)

    Good cheer, mommylady! :-)

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  13. Ahoy, Libby! I've never seen evil Libby before! Wow, that was excellent! :-) As for LW#1, hrumpole's take is far better than mine. He says what I was thinking! Only he actually gets it on the page! (http://oldbaileyhack.blogspot.com/2010/08/812-holy-belinda-carlisle-batman.html)

    Good cheer, Libby! :-)

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  14. Ahoy, Aunt Messy! Yes! You nailed it. Stinkin' thinkin', they call it in some corners of the world. But it's the same thing whatever you name it: blame everyone else. It's never the user's fault. Ever.

    I can't wait to see your take on Letter #1. I have a guess what it'll be, though! :-)

    Good cheer, Messy!

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  15. Ahoy, clhriker! Excellent to see you! :-) I do understand your feeling that I was too hard on LW#1. And, truth is, I really was hard on her (or him). But, where you and I differ is that, while I can also see someone spending time with an ailing relative, even a great deal of time, I don't like to see them do it and then claim martyrdom. Especially over $4,500.

    I mean, if I'd spent 2.5 years of my life, legitimately put my schooling on hold, and actually spent all of my waking hours providing care, with no break, no help, no relief, for 2.5 freakin' years?! And if I did it for *any* sort of gain, or respect, or anything other than as a complete and total volunteer effort, I'd be freaking the hell out if what I got in return was a bill for $4,500 and no other compensation. That bill would minor in my world of the wrongs I'd feel! Which makes the letter seem very strange to me.

    Something doesn't sit right with me regarding this letter. Far too many inconsistencies. Hrumpole nailed them down a lot better than I did. He's here: http://oldbaileyhack.blogspot.com/2010/08/812-holy-belinda-carlisle-batman.html As did several folks in The Fray. But I do get what you're saying.

    So, let me give this consolation. If the story is 100% true, as written, then I apologize. I was way too harsh. But, for what it's worth, I'm not worrying about having to apologize. ;-)

    Good cheer, clhriker! :-)

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  16. Ahoy, Asking FA"F"! How goes it? I'm glad that you're getting something out of the advice. Yepper, Messy's story is a doozy, eh?! The one thing about the advice that I gave that I'm kinda bummed on is that no one has complimented the AWESOME link for the musical background to the advice. Oh well. :-)

    I love your take on the pool lady! Yepper, keep rubbin' it... faster... ;-)

    Good cheer, AFA"F"! :-)

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  17. Ahoy, CoolOne! Greetings! As you can see with my responses to others, I fully understand and appreciate your protests regarding my take on LW#1. And I'll extend the same consolation to you that I extended to clhriker (above). I just can't get past the glaring inconsistencies, though. But, I look forward to your take on it! :-)

    Good cheer, CoolOne! :-)

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  18. Ahoy, HillWalker! Yepper, you nailed it. Submarinerly advice is exactly that: being straightforward, being honest, saying what you mean, no manipulating, no passive-aggressive bullshit. No drama! :-)

    As for it catching on, let's hope not! What would do with ourselves on Thursday! :-)

    Good cheer, HillWalker! :-)

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  19. JayJay, stop it! How can my lame advice stand next to yours?! That's freakin' awesome! :-) I so wish Prudie would have written that. Your exact response! Of course, I would have also needed to be filming the LW when she read it, but still! Outstanding! :-)

    Good cheer and excellent take. :-)

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  20. Ahoy, Jaimie! I feel the same way you do. I hate it for the LW. I hate it that her husband isn't stronger. I hate it that the folks are doing this. I hate it all 'round.

    I'm no legal expert, but I feel certain that the LW and her hubby would have grounds to sue, but, that's just nasty. And distasteful. And can't lead to any good. And, fact it, having found out this way the nature of the in-laws' "gift", I wouldn't blame the LW if she never spoke to them again. But, to me, moving out is the only thing to do. And it's a damn shame. :-(

    Oh well. Regardless, we have other LW's to give a hard time, so, Yay! :-)

    Good cheer, Jaimie! :-)

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  21. Greetings, hrumpole! Mr. Woods will be back to form next season, I'm sure. He may be already! I refuse to believe his skill or drive or desire have left him, so, I believe we'll see many more fist pumps to come.

    I love your PFC-E take on LW#1. So much more clearly argued and logically dissected than mine. As for LW#2, even though I think she could win in court, the marriage wouldn't last through that. And, fact is, I already question it. Husband allowing not only the parents to move in, but into the master bedroom? I'd be fine with that if it had been discussed and always agreed-upon. But like this? Nope, not good news.

    As for LWs#3 and 4, I would love to have sent them both to an island. Not a nice tropical one, though. Perhaps more a GITMO-type situation. :-)

    Good cheer to you, hrumpole. The pleasure is mine! :-)

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  22. asking for a "friend"August 12, 2010 at 9:45 PM

    the iron maiden video made me feel like a stranger in a strange land. :).

    thanks again everyone for the input - loved the answers and advice;

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  23. herd"T"hinner sneaks out:

    Sorry about last week. Sis and family are here to visit/work, and they are not sedentary people. By work I mean the niece (11) has been doing theatrical auditions/agent-hunting, and the b-i-l is also jobhunting. They're California-bound, too, see. And last week's letters were interesting, too! Oy.

    LW1 - I'm... in the minority here. Pass!

    LW2 - lots of folks in the DP comments have used the opportunity to compare US/other cultures (with US culture typically implied as superior). It's hard not to assume, because of the "overseas" remark, that the parents/hubs are Danged Furriners With Their Danged Furriner Ways, but they could still be Danged Americans who just like throwing their money and authority around.

    One hopes that the marriage can be saved, but hopes aren't sky-high.

    LW3 - Aw, come on, people, hairy acne has got to be off-putting, no matter how "deep" one is. I don't have anything intelligent to say for this one, so I went with that.

    LW4 - we need charity walks for people who like to do charity walks, but don't get as much money as they think they should, and who carry grudges about it.
    Suggested names:
    --Lowered Expectations (in honor of the dating service for losers, on MadTV)
    --The Grudge (not just for remaking Japanese horror anymore!)
    --The Walk... of Shame!
    --It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Walk
    --Attend the Walk of Sweeney Todd
    --Tom Petty and the Petty Volunteers

    asking for a "friend":
    GIVE BACK THE DAMNED LINDBERGH BABY, ALREADY!

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  24. Wow, some of these are doosies! I think you took care of these pretty handily, SmagBoy. Just to add:

    LW #2 – I can buy the fact that maybe the husband comes from a different cultural background as some of the DP posters said…but did she, y’know, TALK to this guy before they got married? This sounds like a situation that doesn’t just surprise you. This sounds like it’s the sequel to the letters that go, “Dear Prudie, My fiancé is the most wonderfullest guy in the whole wide world! Except when it comes to his parents. When it comes to their wishes, he doesn’t even consult me on things that will have a huge impact on our lives! But I’m sure this is something that will change by magic when we get married, right, Prudie?? PS – Please don’t tell me to talk to him about it or dump him because it took SO LONG to find a guy whose parents would finance the purchase of our home. Thanks!” I agree with the sentiments above…I feel bad for her, but I don’t think this marriage is headed anywhere good, one way or another.

    LW #4 – You can’t possibly believe your own words in the phrase “I don’t harbor any resentment” when you are so worried about $5 that you write to the internet lady about it. I would have enjoyed this letter so much more if the LW had just come right out and said, “Dear Prudie, Comparing my contributions to fundraisers to those that have been contributed to me, here’s my tally: Erin: Owes me $7. Lucy: Owes me $15 (PLUS I helped her find her dog when he ran away – I didn’t even ask for payment at the time!). Mike: Owes me $2.50. Bill: I owe him $2 technically, but I dropped his daughter off at school the other day, so I think we’re even. I’ve also noticed that I’ve spent over $30,000 in food, clothing, and shelter on my children and they’ve only paid me back with $10,000 worth of love and little league trophies. Can you believe that??”

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  25. Ahoy, "T"! An 11-year-old doing theatrical auditions/agent-hunting?! Boy howdy, only in CA and NYC, I guess. :-) Us country bumpkins are frightened by those sorts of big city ways! :-)

    As for being in the minority on LW#1 (I actually thought the group was pretty split on that), don't worry! We're all happy to discuss things here, regardless! As for LW#2, I'm with you in that I don't reckon they have to be danged furriners at all! I mean, look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiserslautern_Military_Community And they may be the biggest, but there are plenty more just a tad smaller. And in Korea and Japan, too, just to name a couple. So, like you, I'm didn't even think foriegn! :-)

    I also love your response to LW#4 and to AFA"F".

    Good cheer, "T"! And many happy returns! :-)

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  26. Ahoy, Miss Scarlet! Yes! I think you nailed it on LW#2! Regardless of the culture, did these two talk?! And, even if that specific conversation didn't come up prior to marriage (I mean, that's not a scenario I would have predicted!), can't they talk about it now? She says her husband is okay with the idea, but, has she explained that she is definitely *not* okay with it? Or, does she expect her husband to just know? Talking! Yes! :-)

    And another hearty YES! for LW#4! Yepper, our LW is about as reliable when saying there's no resentment as a dog would be if told to "sit" and then having sausage placed six inches from its paws.

    Good cheer, Miss Scarlet! :-)

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  27. herd"T"hinner is too lazy to go to gmail and fix this whole "T" business:

    LW1 - eh. Yeah, we only get her side. But still, I'm cutting her slack, Jack. Even if Mom's hospice care was half-assed, as some surmise, and we don't know that, right?? it was still care. Still worth something, moneywise or not. But Father and Daughter are a messed-up pair. It makes me appreciate my mother that much more. Just the thought of her mortality gives me a chill, because she's the backbone of the family, whether my other sisters believe that or not. She's the hub of our communication circuit. Info is funneled through her more than it happens face-to-face, knowwhuddimean?

    I reminded the niece that she had visited for over a week and didn't do any typical kid things while here, like going to Disneyland or other amusement parks. Well, okay, I took her to the Long Beach Aquarium. Which was a baffling experience when she then showed little to no interest in getting closer to the exhibits. I felt like I had to drag her closer to the glass or something. Weird. And it's not like we HAD to go there. I was more than willing to take her elsewhere.

    Anyway, I suggested that she tell her friends that she took business meetings the whole time here and was not there for frivolities, thank you. That's such 10-year-old behavior.

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  28. Herdthinner ~ a little unsolicited advice on the niece, if you don't mind Mermaid being a great big buttinsky...

    Now, it's true I don't know your niece, but I've known a lot of 10-year old girls, and she sounds like me at that age when I had the chance to get away from my family, to a place where I felt comfortable and with people I trusted, where I could just be myself and *breathe* for a while. Use my decade-old brain to think *deep thoughts* about myself and Life. A chance to figure stuff out without someone yam-yam-yammering in my face about my room and school and homework and being a *good kid*. Sometimes kids just want to lay around and navel-gaze and adults (esp good-hearted ones entrusted with "entertaining them") worry that they have to fill those seemingly idle hours when all the kid wants is to be free to feel what it feels like to be their Self ~ without the context of their immediate family. You can rest assured you'd have heard from her if she were bored or otherwise wanted something from you! ;) She's right on the cusp of Everything at this age ~ and likely went home a different girl than when she came because she had the space to grow a little ~ thanks to you. :)

    Now, T, I hope you don't mind if I blow a kiss to Smag :* ~ it's not polite to enter the party without first greeting the host properly, now is it?

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  29. Ahoy there Captain, I'm back on my little raft so the LWs issues got me scratching my head, given how big the ocean is....

    All I know is that I wouldn't pay back the father, unless he actually needed the money. But then I probably lack respect for the myth that money is (but yes, people have died from various myths --you know as for instance the Aztecs's human sacrifices which of course were puny compared to the mighty Inquisition that took over.... I suspect myths get validated with murders otherwise they just remain stories.....oops I feel a rant coming again, I'd better start paddling with more energy...)

    As for the letter from Asking for a "friend", excellent advice. It's better to cut off all contacts. Some drugs will cause you to hallucinate and then not remember anything afterwards. The worse is Ambian, so readily prescribed and so much advertized. And then there's Lunesta, which is not supposed to be that bad, but still causes you to do strange things and not remember.

    It so happen that I spend last evening with a group of friends and we exchanged Ambian stories. One of my friend was prescribed Ambian, luckily she carefully took only half a pill instead of a whole. The next morning she found a broken plate and burnt bacon in her microwave. Had no recollection of it. But she did vaguely remember that at one point she'd walked into a wall instead of the door... She never took Ambian again but some people get addicted and take it during day time too, and mix it with alcohol and other drugs.... It seems to me a way to commit a sort of suicide, to stop being "here", or to stop being yourself..... and also it usually makes you mean to others.... (like Messy's sister, what a lame excuse she came up with to put the blame on someone other than herself!)

    It's possible the former friend wont even recall sending the e-mail and accuse Asking of getting her to take a bunch more drugs because whatever reply he might sent got her so upset... So, you're so right Smaggy, better to cut off all ties, at least till she really truly sobers up. Though it's not certain she'll regain all her cognitive faculties -- how sad....

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  30. Hey "T"! And ahoy! ;-) I understand your cutting some slack for LW#1. I recognize that, unless the LW was just a mooch, which, fact is, is entirely possible (see MM's excellent post almost at page bottom about her aunt and grandfather here: http://fray.slate.com/discuss/forums/6/4088506/ShowThread.aspx), then there is some slack to be cut. But, the story just didn't add up for me, so I went in the other direction. But you know me. I'm more about gray than black and white, so I acknowledge the gray.

    Good cheer, "T"! :-)

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  31. Ahoy, MM! And thank you for the kind greeting! I like it! :-) Now, what do we need to do to get you by here more often? Catfish? Trout? ;-)

    I hope that you're doing wonderfully well! Good cheer, MM! :-)

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  32. Ahoy, Kati! As always, if you need help with your raft, let my fellas in Engineering have a look. We're always at the ready to help out. ;-)

    As for LW#1 and paying the dad, I wouldn't pay him either, *if* the situation is exactly as the LW describes. Fact is, though, I don't think it is. Just doesn't seem to add up to me. Oh well. It's okay to disagree.

    As for the Ambian stories, that's really scary! I can't even imagine. Reminds me of the guy who wrote in and claimed he'd gone and slept with another woman while under its influence! Scary stuff, indeed. I mean, if I'm doing that stuff, I'd rather be awake! :-)

    Good cheet, Kati! :-)

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  33. Hello, Smaggy! Long time no read! I'm finally getting a handle on all my craziness and I'm delving back into this awesome lagoon (oh, wait, that's Mermaid's place, but you're there enough that I can visit you too)!

    I agree with you on all counts, buddy. Not that I don't think someone can stop their own life in order to play nursemaid to a family member (hell, I did that when I was 16 with my grandmother because I was the one that was home all the time), but I too doubt the sincerity of the claim that every living, breathing moment was given in care of Mom. Like you said, that wasn't enough money to really live on if he/she wasn't living at home with Mom (which then negates the 24/7 care) and what would you need $4500 (specifically - that's a very set number, don't you think? Unless Daddy was tallying it up like LW4?)in order to "live" if you were indeed staying at the house with Mom? Something stinks in that particular corner of Denmark, for sure.

    Anyway, I'm off to catch up on all the fantabulous blogs so I'll see ya on the flip side soon!!

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  34. Uh, I meant to add "especially with LW1" I guess I got so excited being back here that I got ahead of myself. :)

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