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!
ReferencesFundamental principles of academic integrity. (2000, Summer). Retrieved from http://ethics.sandiego.edu/eac/Summer2000/Readings/Principles
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.