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, September 30, 2010

...on Swingers, Retirement, Fast Food Careers and Fraud (9/30/2010) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day?! I hope that all’s well, that you’re relishing October’s impending dawn, and that, overall, life is good. Are you fans of football? Baseball? Theater? Dance? They’re all in full swing this time of year. Matter of fact, I recently attended a concert by one of my all-time favorite guitarists. Cameras were strictly forbidden, but, I enjoy this guitarist so much that I couldn’t help myself (I shot some video from inside my concert program, which I held under my chin as if I was resting on it--I couldn’t see what I was shooting, so it’s not the best in the world, but...). Anyway, if you appreciate incredible guitar work and unique renditions of old standards, you may enjoy this video (my apologies for the truncated opening): here. Okay, enough of that. We’ve got letters! So, let’s get crackin’, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, I have a long sad story, but I’ll try to cut it short for you. My parents recently died in an accident. At the funeral, a couple approached us whom my brother and I have not seen in years. They were the former inseparable best friends of my parents. They informed us that our parents were swingers and that they (this couple) had been our parents’ partners. We freaked (justifiably) and hoped to never hear from them again. Well, since then, the husband has contacted both my brother and me demanding video tapes that he claims my parents shot depicting various levels of congress between the two couples. He said that if we don’t comply, he’ll tell anyone and everyone who’ll listen about our parents’ history. This is all terrible news, somewhat frightening, and, it’s certainly not made the prospect of cleaning out our parents’ house any less savory. What can we do? Do we involve the police? Signed, We So Did Not Sign On For This

Dear Eyes (Now) Wide Open, I’m extremely sorry for your loss, and, on top of that, the added grief of a real life asshole pestering you. Please know that I understand and empathize with you on those fronts. But, as for anything else, I’m sorry, but I just don’t understand your problem? Block this fucktard assmunch from your phone and e-mail. Tell him if he ever fucking calls you again that you will get a civil restraining order against him and his wife. Further, tell him that you don’t give a flying FUCK what he tells people about your parents. Say to him, “You want to tell? Have a ball!” (and say it like you know it’s punny). If people believe him, and if it matters to them, then they weren’t your parents’ true friends, anyway. True friends? They’ll punch the fucker in the nose. The only power this man’s threat has is what you give it. If you accept your parents as sexual beings, he has no power over you. At all. As for the prospect of cleaning out your parents’ house, aside from the tragedy that this situation is (and I really do sympathize), this is no different from what I said above. Everyone has secrets. Everyone. And your parents’ aren’t all that particularly tawdry, if you want to know the truth. They had a sex life. Sounds like it was kind of kinked. So? Listen, if you find a tape with a little sexy-sexy, just destroy it. How hard could that be (again with the puns--sorry!)? Good luck. I know you’ll do the right thing.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, my father is retiring after sixty years at the same business! My husband and I have worked there for the last thirty years, and many of our colleagues have been there that long or longer. We’re planning a great party and roast for my dad and we’re all really looking forward to it. The problem? My sister is coming from out of town with her boyfriend. It’s his "birthday weekend" and she wants to acknowledge it at my dad’s retirement party with a song and cake?! I told her that I didn’t think that was appropriate, so she’s decided not to come, claiming that my statement was indicative of how I (and our family) feel about her boyfriend. My father will be heartbroken if she’s not there. What should I do? Signed, So Over That Bitch’s Drama

Dear The Good Sister, first off, please, for the love of all that is holy, do not follow Prudie’s advice by acting as if you have some kind of control over your sister's life. That plays right into your sister’s manipulative hands. Your sister’s put you over a barrel, you see. She’s made it to where you are the villain for causing her not to come! And, fact is, that cannot be allowed to stand. What you do is exactly the opposite of what Prudie says. You tell your sister that she is an adult and can do whatever in the hell she chooses to do at your father’s retirement ceremony. If she wants to bring cake and party hats for her boyfriend’s celebration (and if he’s a jackass enough to go along with it) and have the guests sing happy birthday for him (a man they absolutely don't know), that’s on her. You should neither condemn nor condone it. You are planning a retirement party for your father and that’s all that you’re planning. Your sister’s actions are neither your responsibility nor your concern. You are not her keeper.  Never, ever, ever be embarrassed for the actions of others. And never try to control the actions of others. I have a sneaking suspicion that once this decision is put back on your sister instead of on you, the issue will resolve itself quite nicely. She’d have to be a complete idiot to celebrate her BF’s birthday at your dad’s retirement party. But, if she does, you’ve got to learn to let it go. It takes two to tango, Sis, and you’re currently providing the music.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, My wife is the bestest, best wife that has ever been. She’s as wonderful as the most wonderful goddess ever! We’re so hap-hap-fucking-happy that we couldn’t be happier if Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny Fucking Kaye! Aside from that, I am terribly embarrassed by her job. Prudie, she doesn’t like authority, so has never kept a job for over two years. Her latest place of employ is a fast food joint. When all of my high class, super-duper friends and colleagues at my snooty and high-powered advertising job ask me what my wife does for a living, I don’t know what to say (their wives are all firefighting, best-selling authors and Nobel laureates who strip on the side as they’ve all, to a woman, kept their bodies in pre-baby form). Once I tell them what wife's job is, it usually leads to awkward silence and then to laughs, as if I’ve made a joke. It’s no joke, Prudie. What can I do? Signed, Married to an Edsel

Dear Idiot. Let’s combine my advice to LWs #1 and #2 for you, okay? First off, who gives a rat’s tiny hairy ass what anyone thinks of your wife’s anything?! What is this, a cattle call and show-and-tell, all wrapped with a corporate bow? If they don’t like what your wife does, fuck them. They only have power over you because you lend it to them. Got me? Second, you should never, ever, ever be embarrassed for the actions of others. If your wife is a terrible worker who can’t hold a job, so be it. The question is, do you love her? If you do, fuck those guys! Who gives two rips about them? If you don’t, you need to figure out why. If it’s due to embarrassment, that’s pretty sad and should show you just how weak you are. If it’s jealousy over their having wonderful wives, you are a clueless idiot. We’ve all got secrets. Remember? And believe me, none of you are nearly as clever or snoot-worthy as you think you are. But, hey, love is a fickle thing. I don't know what's up in your marriage and certainly won’t condemn you for feeling whatever you feel. You just need to know the truth and embrace it, okay? As for your happy marriage? Yeah, right.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, My oldest friend is going to school for a very nebulous, somewhat shady-sounding college "diploma". The program calls for coursework in an elective second language, but his classes in the area of study for his program have him swamped. And the language requirement is just an elective (even though, you know, it’s called a “requirement”). He doesn’t reckon he should have to take this “requirement” and has offered to pay me to take the “requirement” for him. I know him to be qualified, so, should I do it? Signed, Fraudy McFraudster

Dear Asshole. Yepper, college is so hard that your friend just can’t manage it alone, eh? And you're qualified to judge his qualifications.  Okay, got it.  How about you give me a break you brain-dead, retread, inbred, got me seeing red, want to take you out to the woodshed, big, fat meathead. What you’re talking about is justification of fraud. Your friend’s degree will be worthless. A piece of toilet paper with fancy words on it. You’re justifying his bullshit by reasoning that he’s done the coursework in the important stuff. Let me tell you something about electives. They’re there precisely because they broaden one’s mind and expose one to courses of study outside one's comfort zone. They’re also required for the degree. If your friend wants to have a degree in just his area of interest, tell him to go to vo-tech school. If he wants a "college diploma" that means something (or at least means as much as those who didn’t cheat to get theirs), he needs to, you know, actually do the coursework. You can help him be a cheater if you want. That’s on you. But know full well that he didn’t complete shit if you do. He’ll be a fraud. A fake. A liar. And his excuse about being so busy in his in-subject coursework? Hey, you know, college ain’t for everyone. Some people just can’t hack it, apparently. Others do this magical thing called taking an extra semester to complete their coursework.  Asshole.

Well, shippers, that about does it! Another week down, another week done! You know, sometimes with these letters, I feel like we’re all Scott Peterson’s defense attorneys, set up with an impossible task due to our client’s idiocy. Oh well, that’s half the fun of this exercise, eh? :-) Good cheer to you all. Fair winds and following seas, and, may the wind always be at your back and never, ever at your front (cause that makes everything all shrivel-y, unless you’re a girl, in which case, I favor cool wind at your front. Sorry, just how I am.). ‘Til next week...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

...on Past Teachers, Present Nipples and Two Spoiled Girls (9/23/10) <---Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! And a mighty, “Ahoy Mateys!” to you and yours! How are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? I hope well. I hope that you’re having a chance to get out in this wonderful weather! I haven’t. Yet. But, that’s by choice. I continue to slog through school in the evenings. They say this’ll be worth it! They say an education is something that can never be taken away! We shall see. :-) At any rate, all of this good cheer and chitchat aside, we’ve got letters. And at least one is sauciness-worthy! So, with that in mind, let’s get crackin’, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, when I was a kid, I had a teacher who bullied me mercilessly. It’s been a long, hard slog of it since then. I’ve barely survived, but, in fact, I have. As a matter of fact, I’ve gone on to earn an MA in Education and am now applying for work in the same school district where I grew up. I was horrified recently to find that my old nemesis was still teaching! At the same school! I don’t want to work with her, Prudie, but I need a job. And, too, I’m horrified that she’s still teaching. What should I do? What can I do? Signed, Inexperienced Educator

Dear Potentially Still Unemployed. My guess is that your former teacher doesn’t remember you. But, if you do start working where she does (a big “if”), and, if she does remember you, you should claim, in your best innocent face and confused look, that you have no idea who she is? Say something like, “I’m sure you were a great teacher, but, I just don’t remember you? Are you sure I was in your class?” And then walk away as if you’re distracted with anything but her. Engaging this woman in any way about the past only gives her power over you. You need to get past her and realize that fact. Also, note that your accusations are just that. Accusations. They cannot be proven, they cannot be corroborated, and, as such, are absolutely worthless. Hear me? Absolutely worthless. Now, if you do get a job there (which, whoa there, Skippy, you certainly may not), and, if you hear through the grapevine that she’s under investigation for bullying, you can, confidentially, speak with the investigator. Prudie’s idea of sneaking around doing super-sleuthing and reporting on her every move only empowers this woman more! And weakens you. You need to get the fuck over her and move on with your life, vowing to never, ever, ever treat a student the way she treated you.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I am one of three women (or, men who wear bras) who own a successful business in a cutthroat industry. Though we don’t have a formally-stated dress code, we’ve all three seemed to understand the need for outstanding personal appearance, at the very least, when meeting with clients. Recently, one of my two colleagues has been attending client meetings braless. Obviously so. My other colleague and I are beside ourselves with horror over this development and worried about what it’ll do to our business reputation and professional appearance! What can we do? Signed, Someone Who Knows When to Hold ‘Em

Dear Party Pooper. If you’re noticing, you clients are noticing. And only you three know your clients well enough to know if your friend’s free-range nipples will be a problem with the business. If they are, you can simply say, “Jill, listen, we’re all about freeing the girls, but we’re afraid it could potentially affect business. And, even if it doesn’t, it’s making us uncomfortable, which will affect business, so, when we’re meeting clients, would you please put those things away?” The only caveat that I’m attaching to this advice is that you have to make sure that it’s the business, and potential bad effects thereof, that’s driving your concern, and not some messed up power play or some jealousy thing over Jill’s tits and her newfound freedom with them (I don't know what there is to be jealous of regarding freed tits--are they "new", perhaps?--but, you get my drift, yes?  Just really analyze your motivations so that you can go to her honestly and openly with no doubts.). And if you aren’t absolutely certain about whether or not her appearance is appropriate, please feel free to take and send me several pictures of Jane. I’ll let you know.

LW#3: Dear Prudie, my husband’s business closed shop last year. It was a terrible time for us, and it’s been quite a struggle. The only good thing about his unemployment has been that, over the last ten months, my husband has been home all day, every day, for me and our toddler. He’s recently found a great job, with great benefits, but the hours are long. It’s making our, um, toddler (yeah, that’s it) very sad to not have him around to help take care of things. Wait! What I meant was, to not be there for our toddler! And our toddler is mourning this loss by crying all day, every day. What can I do to guilt my husband into quitting this job? Signed, I Don’t Like Being a Mommy

Look, I don’t have time for pleasantries, or even trying to disguise your letter as reasonable. You need to buck the fuck up and quit laying the guilt on your husband just because your job as mom to your toddler is fucking hard (or because you miss your husband). Yes, it is hard! Anyone who’s ever raised a toddler recognizes that fact. But, sadly, it’s not bringing any money into the house. And, unless you’re independently wealthy, the goddamned guilt trip you’re laying on your husband is only serving to make him feel like shit. ‘Cause it sure as fuck isn’t helping anything. It’s doubly nasty because you’re making it about him being a poor father to his toddler. And that’s the lowest of the low right there. You can certainly talk to him (on occasion) about trying to find a job with better hours while still working this one, but, in case you haven’t noticed, jobs aren’t growing on trees these days. Hey, maybe you could get a job with great hours and benefits that earns enough to keep the house going and let your husband stay at home? But, if you do, make damn sure the hours are acceptable to him. We wouldn’t want to cause any mommy abandonment issues with the boy, now would we?

LW#4: Dear Prudie, my daughter likes to have a friend over to our house. We welcome the friend, and enjoy her company most of the time. However, she’s a very picky eater. She never wants to eat what my wife has cooked (even though our kids are fine with it), and insists on other things. My wife offers a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but our guest doesn’t like the wheat bread with which it’s made. What can we do? We’re not running a restaurant here! Signed, Frustrated Father

Dear You May Be a Father, But You Need To Be An Adult. You need to learn a valuable lesson in dealing with kids. It’s the two (or three) choice rule, and you (or your wife) determine what gets to be chosen. The rules might be, “Jane, you may either have what’s on the table, or, a PB&J, made with this bread. Which would you like?” If she complains, saying she wants something else, simply repeat her two choices. If she chooses neither and decides instead not to eat (which is a valid third choice), she’ll definitely not starve, I assure you. However, some days, your wife may not feel like even making a PB&J. Maybe she's tired?  Maybe she's spent all day on what's on the table.  You  know what Jane’s two (and only two) choices should be that day? “Jane, you may eat what’s on the table, or not. Your choice.” You should not entertain other options. If at any time she tries to introduce an unacceptable choice, you simply and calmly reiterate to her the choices that she does have. This is about Jane making a choice, not about you accommodating her. And never forget that she can also be offered to choose between these two choices:  staying at your house or going home. And for that calm feeling you’ll have when you master this system? You’re welcome.

Well, Shippers, that about does it! I’ll leave you with this parting advice, though. If you must snack at night, try to make the food very neutral and mellow. If, however, you choose to go with chili over fish, please, please, please write down and post on The Fray your resultant dreams! They’re wonderfully entertaining, and hopefully well worth the discomfort--at least for your readers! That one’s aimed at you, Diving Buddy! Mwah! :-)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

...on Creepy, Angry In-Laws, the Past, the Present and the Future (9/15/10) <---Original Prudie Letter Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? I hope that you’re well, that life is treating you fantabulastically, and that you’re enjoying the mellower and breezier fall weather (if you’re having it--here’s hoping that you are)? All here is okay, but very, very busy. Healthcare Finance & Accounting is the most difficult course I’ve ever taken and will admit to a bit of despair every time I pick up the course book. Having an instructor who is less interested in teaching than in facilitating the class’s “struggle” to learn (because, I guess, he thinks we’ll better understand it that way) doesn’t help, either! But, as mermaids are fond of saying, “Oh well!” At any rate, we can’t talk about that stuff as we have letters to get to, right?! So, let’s get crackin’!

LW#1: Dear Prudie, my daughter has been dating a boy for four years and they’ve recently become engaged. While I definitely don’t want to intrude on my daughter’s love life, I’m a little uneasy about her fiancé. He’s “gotten so close to me that his crotch rubbed against my back; and he's undone his pants, and then spent an inordinate amount of time tucking in his shirt while facing me.” My husband thinks he has a crush on me. I think it’s weird and am made so uncomfortable by it that I don’t want him around our younger daughter. I don’t want to be around him, either. But, as I say, I don’t want to interfere with my elder daughter’s love life. What should I do? Signed, Secretly (or not) Admired

Dear Not Wanting to Interfere. I’m not sure what the issue is with your daughter or why that seems to be the point of your letter? You don’t talk much about her relationship with the boy, if he makes her happy, etc. That’s what’ll ultimately determine the fate of their relationship. Hopefully she’s got better instincts than you do regarding how to deal with men, though! Listen, you are allowed to confront people when they act inappropriately toward you. What sort of message do you think it sends your daughters that you don’t stand up for yourself to someone clearly and absolutely disrespecting you?! Does your husband treat you like an object, too? Do other men? This boy is way, way, way out of line with you. You need to confront him. Not about you daughter or their relationship, but about how he treats you! You have every right to do so! Say, “Listen here, Slick! You will not ever touch me without being invited. Ever! Do you understand me?! You will not, ever, unbutton your pants in front of me. Ever again! Do you get me? If you do, you will no longer be welcome in my home. Period.” If your husband doesn’t get that, if he can’t understand your concerns, you need to have a talk with him, too. Of course, that requires you telling him exactly what’s happened, which, from your letter, I can't tell if you’ve done or not. You are not required to let men walk all over you. You know that, right? Do this for your daughters’ sakes. Do it for yours. Damn!

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I was treated terribly in elementary school. I was overweight, unattractive, and very, very sensitive. Because of the abuse that I took, I took out my frustrations by making fun of another girl in our class, based on her heritage. Now, as an attractive, successful adult, I would never condone such treatment of another person and am mortified by what I did as a child. I’ve recently found this woman on FaceBook. Should I contact her and apologize? Signed, Sincerely Remorseful

Dear Meanie Pants. Yes, you should. As Prudie says, you should not do it in the hopes that she’ll react kindly. You should do it so that you can explain yourself, and in the hopes that it might help both of you to heal a little. But don’t expect gratitude or grace. If you receive it, consider it an extreme bonus. Prudie’s also correct in that you need to very carefully explain how things were at the time. How, now, as an adult, you realize that you lashed out at her because of how terrible you felt for the abuse you were taking, and how you now feel terrible for having been so weak and for treating her so poorly. Unlike Prudie, I think that e-mail or a FaceBook message (not a wall post!) is fine. It probably won’t lead to much, but, if it does, great. Finally, please get rid of any reference to your current beauty and success. It’s wholly unnecessary and potentially offensive. Good luck!

LW#3: Dear Prudie. My husband’s brother invited us to his timeshare in the Caribbean. This will likely be his last fling there as the economy has hit him hard.  He’s been out of work for a long time and he’s probably going to have to sell his share of the property. In conversations about the trip, it was decided that we’d pay for all food and alcohol since he’s providing the lodging. Recently though, I’ve learned that he expects us to pay for his transportation to and from the airport, too! I smell a rat, Prudie! I’m thrilled about getting to go, but, don’t want to be taken advantage of. My husband says we should just roll with it and never go on vacation with him again. What do you think? Signed, Caribbean Queen

Dear Queenie of the Caribbeanie. Boy, that must be some fare to the airport! Listen, I know that it sucks when you feel as if you were invited someplace and then had the rules change on you at the last minute--especially when the rule changes involve you paying money! That really is a shitty pill to swallow. I’ve had this happen a couple of times, too, and frankly, it sucks balls (and, for those of you who may actually enjoy the act of ball sucking, I meant it there as a negative!). In the end, you have a choice to make. You can pay his fare and enjoy the trip (I don’t suggest that you pay the fare and then stew over it, though, because that will suck balls, too!). You can stay home, thus avoiding all costs (presuming you can get back your ticket money). Or, you can talk to the B-I-L and suggest that this late-added cost bothers you. You may find that it was a simple miscommunication and not the rat-smelling act that you perceive it to be. Whichever decision you make, though, you should make it with your husband, and then, you should both do your level best to enjoy the trip or your time at home, whichever you decide on. Going on the trip and being pissed the whole time, however? That should not be an option.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I see a counselor weekly. She’s an excellent teacher and has helped me tremendously with all sorts of issues. However, over the last two years, something she does has bothered me more and more, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to mention it. Now it’s to a point that I hate to mention it at all because I’ve let it go for so long! Prudie, she misspells my name! Every single week. It may seem a small thing, but, damnit, it speaks to my very identity, you know? I hate the idea of trying to hint around at this--I pay with a check every week so that she can see my name in print, yet that has never corrected her error. What can I do? Signed, Po-tay-to, not Po-tah-to

Dear Counseled. As Prudie says, this is not a big deal to fix. Now wait, don’t be upset! I’m not saying that it doesn’t feel like a big deal! It does, and I acknowledge that, and I understand that it’s a big deal to you, but, you can make it into something very easy to manage. Simply tell your therapist! Just say, “Sally, I’ve never mentioned this before, but you’ve been misspelling my name. It’s P-O-T-A-Y-T-O.” That’s it! You don’t have to apologize for not mentioning it sooner, and you should not. You don’t have to make excuses, and you should not! It’s not a social nicety we’re talking about here, it’s your legal name. As such, it’s no big deal, and definitely not rude, to mention it to her. She won’t think twice about it. She’ll make the change and that will be that. Believe me, it's far bigger in your head than it'll ever be to her.  If she messes up again, though, simply remind her again. It’s okay to do that! Honest! Perhaps it’ll help to think of it as a therapy test from her. As if she's doing it on purpose to measure your ability to confront real-life situations with grace and calm.  One that you need to pass! And I know that you will. Hang in there! :-)

Well, Shippers, that’s about it. I’ve got a mid-term exam coming in Finance & Accounting, but, even though it may be the death of me, I’ll go into it head held high. I mean why not? As said in a recently favorite movie of mine, “I'd like the coffin to be white, and I want it specially lined with satin. White. Or pink! Maybe red! Bright flaming red! Let's make it gay!” One doesn’t have to go quietly, eh? :-) And no matter the result, I’ll be back next week, Shippers, even if it’s with a chunk of my butt missing, exactly in the shape of a Finance and Accounting exam. ;-) Fair winds and following seas to you all. And to all, a good night!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

...on Finances, Flingers, Families and Pharmacy Friends (9/09/2010) <--- Original Prudie Letters Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie Day? I hope that it’s a wonderful day for all of you and that this batch o’ letters brings a smile to an already-wonderful day. With that aim in mind, let’s get crackin’, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, I recently became engaged to a really nice guy, who’s, like, totally the most wonderful guy ever. We’ve had several nice showers, you know, because we’re so well-liked. We received all sorts of great stuff, including seed money for a new home, etc., etc., etc. (you know, normal stuff that all couples get at their many showers). The problem (‘cause you just knew there’d be one)? His former lover (a much, much older woman) gave us a very generous gift to be used toward our future child’s (children’s) education. Fifty thousand dollars! She’s very well off, Prudie, and can easily afford it, but, as you can well-imagine, I feel a little strange about accepting such a large amount of money from my fiancé’s former girlfriend. What should I do? Signed, Frugal Fiancée

Dear Fucking Idiot. You are a fucking dumbassed, stupid, ignorant, apparently extremely rich (or, more likely, money-ignorant) idiot. Someone is offering to give you what will amount to about $90 thousand dollars in 19 years (I’m assuming your dumb ass isn’t already pregnant and I’m certain that you aren’t going to raise any geniuses that need the money sooner than that, because, with your genetic material, that’s just not possible). And that figure is assuming you put the money in something super-safe, like government bonds, only earning 3%. Imagine if you got off your ass and actually added something to the pot along the way?! Fucking double dumbass. Across the sky. All the way.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I’m a middle-aged woman working as a project manager in a male-dominated field. Through good work and ability, I’ve managed to prove to all of my co-workers that I am knowledgeable and capable, and they treat me as such. Except this one guy. Prudie, he throws papers on my desk. Literally. Every day. I’ve tried to joke it off. I’ve tried to be nice. I know that I can’t complain as I’d be seen as a whiner. I’ve handled the hazing of all of the other guys. What can I do about this one? Signed, Confused

Dear Not-So-Terribly-Good-With-People. You’ve handled hazing, eh? You fucking don’t know from hazing. Jesus Christ, how hard is this? You stand up to the mother fucker. You simply take those papers that miss your in-box and full-arm slide them into the trash, or, simply collect and shred them. Period. No production. No acknowledgment that what you’re doing is odd. If he asks what’s up, tell him, in a very business-like way, that that’s where they will go, Every. Single. Fucking. Time. And, that they'll go there without being worked, and that that's what will happen until such time that he learns to put the paperwork in its proper place. Don’t yell. Don’t scream. Just do it in a matter-of-fact, no-nonsence way. When asked by your superiors where the paperwork is, you say, “It never made it to my in-box.” And you stand your fucking ground. And Honey-schnookums, this is just kindergarten stuff.

LW#3: Dear Prudie. I’m a graduate student about to finish my doctoral degree. I teach, (adjunct, at my university), as well as wait tables, in order to make ends meet. I have a younger sister who’s also in school. She works three jobs to stay there. We both have student loan debt and barely make enough to scrape by, but, it’s worth it for the education as we know this is an investment in our future. The problem is our mother. She’s a recently laid-off secretary. She has no other skills and has no education past her GED. She lives far away and her finances are going to hell. My sister and I are worried sick, but aren’t yet in a situation to help. What can we do? Signed, A Good Daughter Who’s Almost Able to Help, Just Not Quite Yet

Dear Daughter, Thank you for this wonderfully refreshing letter, demonstrating that there is still some goodness left in the world. I wish that I could offer some better advice than Prudie did. I can’t. But, I can add a piece. Talk to your mom! Tell her that you’re worried! She’ll likely try to play it off. She’s obviously a hard worker who’s done the best she could while trying to raise two daughters to have it better than she has. But, don’t accept that without pushing a bit. Say that you know she’s proud, but that you’re wondering if there’s anything you can do to help? Maybe she can live with you and/or your sister for a time? The consolidation of bills might help you all? Look, I’m not saying this is ideal. I’m not saying it’s what you’ve hoped and dreamed for. Not for any of you. But, unfortunately, things are tough all around right now and we’re all having to reassess. I’m sorry about that, and wish it was different for all of us. But it ain’t. And, for what it’s worth, I’m sure that your mom is very, very proud. And thankful. Believe me, it’s most every parent’s dream to see their daughter have every opportunity in life to be all they are capable of being. And many of us don’t get to live that dream. You’re already giving her more than you know. All to your, your sister’s and your mother’s credit. Hang in there. You’re an inspiration.

LW#4: Dear Prudie. I recently “stumbled upon” a pill bottle that belongs to my boyfriend. Instead of putting it back where I “accidentally” found it, I tried to read it, but the label indicating the medication type had been peeled off. Not taking that as a hint, I went to a medication identification website and found out that he’s been taking Levitra (an erectile dysfunction medication)! Prudie, he’s only 24! I’m concerned! Why didn’t he tell me about this?! I want to be supportive! I want to help! Should I be alarmed? Does this mean his boners aren’t really because he’s happy to see me, but rather just because he’s chemically “enhanced”? Does it mean that they’ve all been...fake?! Signed, I’m Afraid

Dear Afraid. The solution is simple. Just figure out how you would want to have him tell you, if, say, your boyfriend, I don’t know, went into your purse, found a pill bottle for acne medication, researched it on the web, and became worried that you weren’t nearly as naturally pretty as he thought? This is all just manufactured fucking drama, you know? All you had to do was ask your BF what was in the bottle. But, you were afraid he’d lie. Or suspected it contained something illicit. So, no trust for him, eh? Or, what? You just like drama? As for advice, I’d say that you need to break up with this guy. You obviously don’t respect him or his boundaries, you don’t trust him, and, fact is, he shouldn’t trust you, either. There, happy? Good. Now, try not to get into the same bad place with your next significant other.

Well, Shippers, that about wraps it up. I hope that your week is filled with love and happiness and warmth. We could all use it! Fair winds and following seas to ya, one and all, Shippers!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

...on Babylessness, Academic Honesty and Mysterious Death (9/02/2010 <---Original Prudie Letter Can Be Found There

Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! Hot damn and hallelujah, what a fantastic day! Shippers, coffee is a beautiful thing, ain’t it? Even more so on days when it’s woefully needed. Like when you’ve been up late the night before, studying, or, you know, surfing the ‘net, or, any number of other things you oughtn’t be doing because you should probably be in bed? Seems like coffee is literally manna on those days. And the good stuff (you know, like a brick of Jacobs Krönung), is well worth the effort to find. Today, I needed it, had it, and it’s made all the difference! So, without further ado, let’s get crackin’, shall we?

LW#1: Dear Prudie, my husband was the most perfect man that ever was perfect. Well, ten years ago, anyway. He really was perfect, Prudie! When we married, he had two children from a previous marriage, and I happily and peacefully helped raise them into well-adjusted adulthood. But now, as I end my reproductive years, I would like a child of “my own”. My husband, who has a vasectomy, is dead set against it. I’d consider any option to get my hands on a baby, Prudie (including adoption). What should I do? Divorce my husband? I hate the thought of it. He’s a great man (you know, like I said), but, I want a baby and will leave him if I have to, in order to get one. But, I don’t think I want to raise a baby alone. Should I take the risk and leave? Signed, Babyless

Dear You’re Not Babyless, You’re Hormonal. And no, I don’t mean that in a negative, anti-woman, all-women-have-raging-hormonal-issues-that-make-them-as-crazy-as-mad-fucking-hatters way. I mean it in a gentle, helpful, listen, you’re-going-to-get-past-this-and-you-might-very-well-regret-any-rash-decisions-you-make-regarding-your-babylessness way. Look, I’m not going to be mean to you and tell you that you need to wake the fuck up, Sister, and realize that you already have a family that apparently loves you. Fact is, you didn’t mention any of that. You’re so focused on yourself right now that you can’t see any of that (or don’t care, or, perhaps, it’s not true and that’s the issue?). So, being mean isn’t going to help. As such, I only offer this: do you love your husband? No, not some “Oh he’s the most McDreamiest husband ever!” bullshit answer, but, rather, do you really love him? Try to get past the issue of having a baby and see if you really love him. Would you be heartbroken if he came to you today and told you that he was leaving? No, not to have kids with some other woman (Jesus, get your mind off of that for a second!), just leaving. Do. You. Love. Him? Is he good for you? If you don’t, and he’s not, and if it’s beyond repair, you’ve got your answer, but, let me say that finding some guy to witlessly donate sperm is probably a helluva lot easier than finding someone worthwhile as a life partner.

LW#2: Dear Prudie, I’m a graduate student in thesis-writing mode. My faculty advisor recently gave me, as a measuring stick and gauge for level of acceptable performance, a thesis from a just-graduated student. I was happy to receive the paper, but, upon reading it, I realized that it generously plagiarized from a very obscure book that I’m using in my own research. As a matter of fact, when I say generously plagiarized, I mean that it pretty much quoted the book and just called it good. What should I do? I don’t want to get in the middle of this, I just want to graduate. Signed, I’m at the End of My Education, I Don’t Want to be in the Middle of Anything!

Dear Stuck in the Middle Again. Guess what? Yepper, you’re in it. Right smack in the middle. And big-time, too. Because, you know what? Academic integrity is about honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility ("Fundamental principles of," 2000). I reckon that that very first one, “honesty”, already gigs you so much that there’s no need to keep reading the rest. But, yepper, the second through fifth ones are pretty tough, too. The trick, in my humble opinion, is to figure out how to go about reporting what you’ve found, since, to not do so really isn’t an option. I suggest a casual approach. It depends on your relationship with your faculty advisor, but, if it’s anything like it should be, I suggest walking into his/her office, and, with a playful smile, hand over the plagiarized thesis and say, “HA! You thought you could fool me, eh?! I see that this is basically a word-for-word text copy from ‘The Great Book of Obscurity’! But I’m quick, like a fox! You’ll have to wake up way earlier in the morning than that to fool me!” And then say something like, “I really have read ‘The Great Book of Obscurity’. You didn’t have to go through so much trouble to find out! I mean, retyping all of that must have been a bear! Did you scan it in and use auto text recognition?” Any professor with half a brain and even a quarter of his/her fill of wit will take the hint and take it from there, and you should be able to excuse yourself completely from the rest of the process. And once you walk out their door, I suggest you forget the incident all together and get back to work on your thesis. Good luck!

Fundamental principles of academic integrity. (2000, Summer). Retrieved from

LW#3: Dear Prudie, my young-adult daughter has recently entered the same field that I’ve had a wonderfully successful career in. Yesterday, she was given a problem to research and for which to offer solutions. So, she called me, we talked through the process, the potential concerns, and we arrived at a few possible solutions. Her boss was thrilled with her presentation. When I shared this story with a colleague, s/he became incensed that my daughter hadn’t done the research “on her own” and that she’d called me. I don’t see anything wrong with what she did. What’s your take? Signed, Helpful Mom

Dear Helpful. Your colleague is a first-class, flaming, fucktarded, willfully-ignorant, jealous, spiteful, puss-for-brains imbecile with whom you’d be wise to share no more stories, time or thoughts. S/He is cancer. S/He is death. S?He is everything that’s wrong in the professional world. Mentorship, preceptorship, helping colleagues and those coming up into the field is not only our professional responsibility, it’s a joy. You colleague is a dried up bag of nothingness and s/he deserves everything in life that s/he wishes for. May that s/he find it.

LW#4: Dear Prudie, I’m 36 and recently lost my 40-year-old husband to a heart attack. It was heartbreaking (god, I’m so punny!). Since then, my in-laws have been terrible! They attacked my choice to not have an autopsy, my choice of a coffin, pall bearers, headstone, and, even the way I breathe. Further, they recently removed flowers that my children and I set on the grave and replaced them with flowers of their own! I see this as the last straw, Prudie, and am about to cut ties with them completely! What should I do? Signed, Mourning Mom Who’s In-lawless

Dear No More Stinkin’ In-laws. Hmmmm. Okay, so, I’m sorry, but I just have to wonder what in the heck is missing from your letter? A 40-year-old man dies of a heart attack. Unexpectedly. The in-laws desire an autopsy, but you decide against it? For a 40-year-old man? Who died unexpectedly? What am I missing here? Why would you not do an autopsy? I mean, I can think of one poisonous reason, and it’s one that I’m sure that the in-laws have thought of, too, but, since you’ve given us way too little information, I don’t know what else to think? How was your relationship with the in-laws before the death? You didn’t mention a history. This all seems new to you. How much money did you get from his life insurance policy? Are the children biologically your husband’s, or did he adopt them (from a previous marriage of yours, perhaps, or something else) and that’s why you call him their “dad”? You might think me interminably rude to continue with this line of questioning, but, you’ve given me nothing to question the in-laws about (other than their clear disdain for you), and a huge concern with which to question your voracity as a reliable witness. If you tell me that they’ve always hated you, at least I have some perspective, but, without any more information, I have to wonder at too many things. And I still can’t imagine why there’d be no autopsy unless your husband specifically asked not to have one, in which case, that would be important information to provide! As for what you should do, an adult with nothing to hide would talk directly to the in-laws about what she sees as very rude and unacceptable behavior. She would explain , for her emotional well-being, unless things change drastically, that she’s breaking off all contact with the in-laws, which includes access to her children. Leave out the part about the upcoming Caribbean nuptials to the pool boy (if, in fact, there are some). That’s something that they don’t need to know about.

Well, Shippers, that wraps up the day’s letters! Not sure if any of you are soldiers on Fort Sam, but, I have to say that I heard several hearty, zestful Jody calls this morning from outside my window--and many prior to 0600! BZ to you all! So, if you are one of the morning melodious medics, I want to send you my gratitude. What a way to start the day! Good cheer to you all, Shippers, and fair winds and following seas.