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, September 2, 2010

...on Babylessness, Academic Honesty and Mysterious Death

http://www.slate.com/id/2265903/ (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!

References
Fundamental 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.

40 comments:

  1. Excellent answers!
    Though you had me worried, until LW 4 that someone had kidnapped your snark! =-)

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  2. Um, 40 years old is when heart problems tend to start, and many who die from heart disease had no previous symptoms.

    As women's nests (even nests build by their husbands' first wives) empty, many women feel they missed out on something with the kids, and want a do-over. They really don't. Once they have the house alone with the husband for a week or two (and they don't try to kill each other), most realize how great it is NOT to have anyone needing you at the drop of a hat.

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  3. Hey Libby! Thanks for the kind words, and, too, glad that my response to LW#4 didn't make you call the cops on me! :-)

    Cheers! :-)

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  4. CoolOne, I agree about heart disease! But, to have such a strong reaction from the in-laws with no other history says to me that either, a) we don't have all the information we need about what assholes they have always been, or, b) there's a reason for the reaction. I suppose "c" could be that they're really reacting badly to their grief, but, what would have been the hassle with the autopsy? If the wife had a reason to say no, why not tell us? It seems an important point to me.

    Agreed on the baby-wanting mom. Here's hoping she can get past her current state of unrest, or, get at the root of it...

    Cheers! :-)

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  5. Morning! First, letter writter one..is crazy. Just my opinion. On letter four I agree with you. Weird she did not do an autopsy. I realize 40 is when heart troubles start, but 40 is awfully young to drop dead!

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  6. asking for a "friend"September 2, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    LW#1 - I want my cake and eat it and then be able to return it if I want as well but I'm not high-maintenance; :).

    LW#2 - One note to detective - make sure that prior student didn't pull a Finding Forrester move (in that movie, the author allows passages to be used in the plagiarism case); :).

    LW#3 - Was the jealous complainant in this instance the same person that would take out pages in library books when people needed to cite something in the old days? :).

    LW#4 - I got this one figured out - husband was a WWE/WWF wrestler; :). sorry 4 the morbid humor but I couldn't resist!

    to Smag and all the readers - have a great Labor Day weekend!

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  7. LW4: Good call on the oddness of what's left out. My most charitable theory is that she's seeing this all through her grief and not getting where they're coming from. Like, they replaced the flowers because they were wilting, not because they didn't want an offering from that she-devil to touch his hallowed grave. Maybe they were stunned by the lack of autopsy because they thought it could provide useful information for the deceased's children and 39 year old brother.

    Or they saw how careful she was to make sure the kids never drank any of the special juice she made just for daddy.

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  8. LW4- IDK, of course when you read that he died that young, wife didn't get an autopsy, and his parents are pissed at her, you have to wonder...but autopsies are terribly gruesome. I could possibly see her being so freaked out by everything that the idea of a stranger in a lab coat making a giant y incision down her hubby's body, pulling out his organs and throwing him in a walk-in cooler maybe didn't sit so well with her.
    As for the rest of the letters *yawn* boriiing. Where's all the baby daddy/porn star/spousal abuse fun stuff? I think Prudie gets a big fat F for letter selection this week.
    Cheers:)
    J

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  9. Smag, you made a really good point about LW4. If it were me, I would want to know why he died so young, especially if he was healthy. And for the in laws to react so negatively, it makes me wonder about such things.

    Good cheer, Smag. You handled all the letters well, especially LW1.

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  10. Your answer to LW#3 brought me serious amounts of joy.

    The others as well, but #3 just freaking rocked.

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  11. Hey Captain! Perhaps you could put a bit of that coffee in a floating container so that I could get some on my little raft that sadly lacks a proper expresso machine (I'm working on it though, along with getting hold of a miniature cow 'cause I do like my cafe au lait in the morning and I'm not that keen on trying whale milk though it was generously offered to me if I would just dive below the kindly mother...)

    I didn't think too much of LW4 till I read your response about the autopsy and realized that this letter would make a perfect beginning for a mystery novel.... (I wouldn't have understood the fighting about whose flowers were to stay on the grave, given there's so much room for flowers on and around a grave, but I've seen people fighting over the deceased ashes at a funeral --too sad a story to tell. That episode and some others made me realize that funerals raise all sorts of fear and bring up a lot of things from the past....)

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  12. Hiya, Captain,
    And listen up, LW2, you have a golden opportunity to use some of that jargon that, in the outside world, makes everybody want to smack you.
    "Gee, Prof, that thesis you gave me was interesting, but isn't it awfully --derivative--? It just doesn't say much that 'Obscurity' hadn't already said, in pretty much the same words...."
    and move on to "but I was hoping to get a little more in such and such a direction."

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  13. Ahoy, mommylady! And greetings to you! Agreed. I mean, I understand having a little of the heebie-jeebies, but, unexpected? Maybe she just didn't give us enough in the letter, but, short of that, I'm with you!

    Good cheer! :-)

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  14. Ahoy asking for a "friend"! Dude, I'd totally forgotten about "Finding Forrester"! Now I just have to remember if it was any good or not when I watched it in order to decide if I want to watch it again. It was a long time ago...

    As for LW#4, I followed ya! And, if that's the case, it could certainly have been worse!

    Happy holiday weekend, to you, too, asking for a "friend"! Cheers! :-)

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  15. Ahoy, hbc! And greetings! :-) And while the special Daddy juice is certainly a possibility, I do hope that it's more of the former. :-)

    Cheers! :-)

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  16. Greetings JayJay! Well, while autopsies are gruesome, I reckon if you're an organ donor, worse than that's going to happen! And, one hopes one is an organ donor. :-) I know, I know, terribly PC of me and all of that. ;-) No, I do see your point. I just guess that the age coupled with the unexpected part, and the condition being more rare at that age all combine to make me fall more on the side of wanting to know for sure. Probably too many of those damned true crime shows! :-)

    Cheers! :-)

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  17. Ahoy, Nachtmusik! Thank you for the kind words on LW#1. I tried to be a little snarky with her, but, it was tough because she knew she was the one who'd changed, knew it was unfair, yet, still, has this incredible need. I can understand! :-)

    Much good cheer, Nachtmusik! :-)

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  18. Ahoy, Amanda! Why thank you! I love to rock! It's the Jack Black in me (he *was* born to it, afterall). ;-)

    Good cheer! :-)

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  19. Ahoy, Kati! And many greetings unto you! You know, my guys would be happy to install an espresso machine for you! Just say the word. :-) In the meantime, yes, please do have a cup o' joe! :-)

    Kati, as terrible as your story sounds, I have a feeling that told by you, it was demonstrate incredible wisdom and wit and even considering the situation, some humor. And though I certainly don't want you drudging up bad memories, I wonder if there isn't an essay or two in there? And perhaps, yes, a mystery novel or two? :-)

    Good cheer, Kati, and a wonderful weekend to you! :-)

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  20. Exactly right, Cantahamster! You just have to make sure to do the Alex Trebek pronunciation of those words. That thesis was *verrrrry dah-riv-ah-teeve*. With much pausing and proper pronunciation. And then look at the essay and then the book and then the essay and then the book... ;-) I'm not any good with the subtle, eh? ;-)

    Good cheer, Cantahamster! :-)

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  21. Prof. Smaghoffer,

    Neither am I (subtle, that is). I was reading DP comments from folks wondering how to pass on the info, like it's some delicate thing to discuss. Like the Prof. has halitosis and keeps leaving his/her fly open. I'd use up several highlighter pens' worth of ink marking up the paper and the book - unless it was a book I intended to sell back to the campus store - submit Exhibit A and B to the advisor, and rest my case. Sheesh!


    LW1 - somebody on this board please promise to chain me up in a sturdy chair and let me struggle mightily and howl at the full moon all night, the next time I turn into a were-- sorry, I meant if I ever even *hint* about my biological clock or somesuch shit like that. Pinky Swear it! For you will know that the lunacy of hormones and empty nests will have let the beast out, just as they have released the hounds upon that woman.

    By the way, I don't mean chrome steel chains, either. That's the stuff they used to restrain King Kong, and we know how well THAT worked out. Nay, titanium or stronger should do the trick for me uhhh I mean LW1. We don't need her breaking loose and scooping up babies and climbing buildings with them.

    LW2 - already covered it!

    LW3 - I love teaching, training, and mentoring! But I have a tale attached to that. A million years ago, my oldest friend needed help transferring from her junior college to the less junior college, UCLA. She had the grades, credits, etc, but still needed to write that fershlugginer personal letter. I remember telling her that it needed to be creative. Later she showed me what she'd written. I read half of the first paragraph and said, "No. ....Nnnnnno." Trouble is, that was her bestest creative work ever, and we both knew it. So I committed the Academically Unthinkable! I wrote her personal letter, top to bottom, during an overnight session in my bedroom, most of which she slept through. She got in to UCLA and did well enough on her own, then graduated with an MRS degree and is thrilled with her life.

    Skip forward a million years. Her mother, who thinks that every story is the best, and that everyone else will think so, too, told this story to the one person on earth I would never have wanted to know: a very good friend of my mother's, and a woman I practically worshipped as a child, who happened to be an "old school" high school teacher. Like... Bill Cosby old-school type of educator. Oh. Dear. Lord. She gave me A Look that made me almost implode in on myself like a neutron star. I had done an Academically Unthinkable Thing, and she let me have it.

    Yeah, I did more for my friend than just mentor or offer solutions, but everybody's got limits. Creative writing is one of hers. She's an incredibly good mom and wife, though: two things that are totally out of MY league.


    LW4 - Hell, I'D want an autopsy! After the organ donations, of course. My late sister was autopsied, and Mom sent us remaining siblings copies of the report. No kidding. Nobody fought over the ashes, though. Those were released 2 miles offshore, in the ocean. I have a phobia of dark water, but was still onboard and gave the eulogy.

    I was also thinking that the flowers had wilted. It's not like they last more than a day or two. It's why I forbid people from bringing me cut flowers when I'm convalescing for any reason.

    That said, I won't assume she's not genuinely grieving and that the in-laws aren't behaving badly because of their own genuine grief. Death fucks with our heads, yo. Not sure I'm going the Murder, She Done Did It route, though.

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  22. So I actually have a serious question (that I’m going to try to make not come out snarky but I make no promises) relating to LW #1:

    People get told all the time to not expect your significant other to change after (or because) you get married. But is it legitimate to expect that people are NEVER going to change after you get married? Sure, there’s a reasonable expectation that they’re not going to turn out to be, say, a serial killer (unless that’s why married them…of course), but are they ALWAYS going to want EXACTLY what they wanted when you got married? Say that LW and her husband agreed when they got married that they DID want to have a child together, but then Husband changed his mind. Would leaving him over it be a serious consideration?

    I know kids are a big deal and it’s not exactly the same as agreeing you were going to paint the living room red and then him wanting to change it to beige later on. And perhaps it really depends on what your relationship is like. But you agreed to spend the rest of your lives together…did you really think the toughest thing you’d have to decide is whether to have roast beef at your reception? I think the LW does need to calm down a bit and take into consideration why she might suddenly want something she didn’t want before* (she sounds a bit hysterical, doesn’t she? I feel like she might actually just walk away with a baby if you let her hold it “just for a minute”), but if her description of Husband is accurate, he also needs to stop saying “Have a baby with you?? OH HELL NO!” As you said (basically) SmagBoy… Do you love each other? Check Yes or No. Do you still want to be together? Check Yes or No. If the answer is No, it’s not just about a baby. Just my opinion.

    *Unless she DID want it before and just told herself “I’ll talk him into it over time,” but that’s a different response altogether.

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  23. Herdthinner, I love that story. It wasn't plagiarism anyway because it wasn't copied from some pre-existing printed matter!

    I read somewhere that a good portion of those essays are written by parents.....

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  24. Kati, could be! But trust me, no member of my family could've helped with mine. Not to slam them or brag on myself, but I'm The Writer of the family, like another is The Event Planner, and another is The Talent Manager, etc.

    To give you an idea of the time span here, this weekend I Just So Happen to be visiting my old friend, where I've been asked to help her oldest daughter, not-quite-but-almost-college-bound, with HER personal letter. Apparently this is going to be a family tradition now.

    Man, if I wanted to feel *this* old, I'd argue with a bunch of teenagers about which Star Wars trilogy is the best.

    Just nobody tell that Old School Former High School Teacher Friend of my mother's about my "help," PLEASE!

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  25. herdThinner, what do the instructions on the application say regarding the personal letter? I mean, does it say "Without speaking to anyone for ideas, phrases or wording, write a personal letter that expresses your total badassery..." or, does it just say, "Tell us about a time that exemplifies why we want you here at..."? I ask because, lots of homework allows for research, collaboration, late night idea sessions. I guess if you wrote it from scratch, and she slept, that'd be one thing...oh. ;-)

    But yes, as Kati says, excellent stuff! :-)

    As for not going the "Murder She Wrote" route, that's okay, I already did it for you! :-)

    Cheers! :-)

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  26. Miss Scarlet! Ahoy and many greetings upon you! :-) As for your questions regarding LW#1, I agree with you. I mean, come the fuck on, over?! You're questions make great sense and aren't too snarky at all, in my humble opinion. I mean, what, so once we get married, we're never supposed to change our minds on anything, ever, never, ever, ever again? Wow! pretty messed up state of affairs if you ask me!

    So, I'm with you on this one!

    Good cheer and a pleasant three-day weekend! :-)

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  27. LW # 4 : Oh, Monsieur Smaggie, you'd have made my hero, Lt. Columbo, very proud with your super-suspicious take on the fourth letter. I really want to commend you on your unexpected and original take on this one.

    I want to.....but i can't.

    Because i fucking hate you.

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  28. Oh, Tarky, were that today were Opposite Day, I'd love you, too. With extreme prejudice! But, since it's not, I'll settle for mild admiration and affection. With a side of man crush. It's the least I can do. ;-)

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  29. Great question, Miss Scarlet.

    Yes, people change after they get married--who would want to be married to a fifty-year-old who was just who he had been at twenty?

    The ideal is that the change is in the direction of your best self, the person you were put on earth to be; that means that you agree to support the best self of your partner as it emerges--if they decide to lose twenty pounds, go back to school, quit their job and take off on a raft--but wait, they owe you an AWFUL lot of sensitivity to how disruptive all that Growth is going to be. My honey doesn't light out for California, though from time to time he feels like it, because I hate the idea, either for him or for both of us. It's not that essential to him, after all-- if it truly were, I'd have to work on making it possible.

    Some changes are essential, but tend to kill a marriage: "Sorry, honey, I really am gay."

    And some are always a terrible idea, but especially unfair to a spouse--getting hooked on booze, falling for the pool boy, becoming abusive or a whiner--these are not your best self, people.

    Change as you need to, but remember you're part of a team.

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  30. Smagtasmic -

    Yep, wannabe students may request assistance from anyone. "Coaching from the audience, please." A good thing.

    Today I learned that Kids These Days have to write a shitload of different kinds of admission letters, and not the One Letter to Rule Them All that my friend and I had to write when we were applying for Cavegirl University. Er, I mean, that I and I wrote. :-D

    There's something called a Common Application that apparently provides 6 different topics to choose from, the 6th being the "...Or whatever you feel like talking about" one. Except that every university has its own expectations for admissions letters. Some accept a Common App, but also want letters about Topics A and B and C and so on. Some are cool with just the Common App... I think. Others just want their own types of letters, screw the Common App. My friend's daughter has selected the Common App topic about the two people who've influenced her life the most. That's what I'm helping with.

    And of course the How to Write Admission Letters books say, "Don't write about the people who've influenced your life; write about You!"

    And the whole "Be yourself" thing about your approach doesn't apply if Yourself is the funniest person everybody knows. "Don't be funny," the books say. "At all." Then my friend told me about a college that touts a "hilarious" letter as their mostest favoritest one ever and they wish everybody wrote hilarious letters.

    I don't think I'd be able to get into my own alma mater with the Me that I was back then and all these new kinds o' letters to write! And many schools demand that their students be so well-rounded and so educated and so Awesome that one wonders why those students even need the schools. Y'know?

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  31. I've been rethinking the whole, wife really knocked him off and didn't want the autopsy to find the poison scenario...there could be far more innocent explanations. Maybe she didn't want the family to find out he used enough cocaine to kill a horse eh? Or something more along those lines:p
    J

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  32. Ahoy, herdThinner! Well, see, providing you weren't breaking any rules, then, you know, you weren't breaking any rules. :-) As for an admission letter not being funny, I can understand giving that advice to un-funny people! I mean, take me, for example. I'm not going to try to get admitted via my humor. For starters, it's subtle. Also, it's often very hit and miss. I accept this, and have come to terms with it, so, I know to steer clear of it. However, someone with a wonderfully and uniquely warped mind? I say go for it! Of course, then it becomes even more obvious than it would have been that the letter was not written by the applicant when the applicant arrives and is terribly unfunny, but, too late then! She's already in! :-)

    Good cheer, herdThinner. Here's hoping yours was a wonderfully holiday. :-)

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  33. JayJay, you many be on to something, but then, why in the heck wouldn't she share that with us? I mean, hard to be Spiffy Internet Advisors if we aren't let in on the fact that hubby was an insatiable coke hound, now ain't it?!

    Oh well, I guess we'll never know, eh? Good cheer to ya, though, and keep ruminating on the subject. Something's bound to come up! :-)

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  34. Greetings, SB1. I can almost feel for LW1. At the age when it would have made the most sense to pursue what was probably third-or-fourth-tier level ability at most, I gave up serious tennis, only was fortunate enough to feel only slight regrets a little later when the last realistic chance was pulling away.

    I wish I had the time to go into wondering the exact specific aspect that is causing her her heartbreak. That word, used twice, disturbs me. It's one thing to realize one made a big mistake ten years ago, and quite another to be heartbroken over even something so big.

    There's an uneasy feeling that this could be a technical question and the real future self with which she ought to communicate might be her 43-year-old self who will perhaps spend four hours a day on her knees giving thanks that she rode out that wave of wanting - what exactly? the pregnancy experience? an infant to whom she'd given birth? a child who was ALL HERS and not some slore's? - and came to her sanity before she did anything idiotic.

    But the more I worry about this one (especially with no internet still and having to put up Brief Thoughts at the library) the more I wish she would just leave first and then decide about a child after. There is an extent to which being heartbroken takes a certain amount of cooperation. It's a little like Linnet Doyle feeling guilty for going all-out to steal Simon from Jackie because she knew there was a moment when she could have held her hand.

    If LW1 doesn't leave, she'll stay for the wrong reasons and spoil a lot more lives than she will by leaving. In a way it's almost too bad, as she is making a good effort in many directions. But if she's trying to be reasonable and still can't get past heartbroken, there's some sort of indulgent dramatic streak in her that will force trouble one way or another.

    Sorry to be so flighty, but am totally unable to concentrate under the circumstances.

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  35. http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/conditions/02/18/hm.young.heart.attack/
    Young heart attacks are more common than people want to think. Besides, autopsies are expensive. Spending that money and knowing won't bring him back. With kids to support, I wouldn't have bothered, either.

    Miss Scarlett: What they tell you is only half true. A person won't change after marrying *in the way the new spouse wants him/her to*. They will change - we all do - in some way, but for most, it's seen as a downward slide.

    Even those who improve themselves endanger their marriages, because they now have more self-confidence than they had when first married, which can be disconcerting to the spouse.

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  36. Ahoy, hrumpole. I'm sorry about your continued Internet access issues. :-( Here's hoping they'll be solved shortly! :-)

    I agree with you. There are some pretty serious problems here. Either with the LW herself, and only herself (hormones, perhaps), or, with the marriage as a whole. Either way, I see a lot of choppy water ahead. Here's hoping she can work out something because she's so young yet that it'd be a real shame to be heartbroken for the rest of her natural life (unless, of course, she's a young heart attack statistic).

    Cheers! :-)

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  37. Ahoy, CoolOne! I guess that "more common" is a pretty subjective term. Your article reports that 3.33% of all heart attacks occur in those aged 35-44. Further, if you go here (http://www.the-eggman.com/writings/death_stats.html) you'll see that 4.07% of heart attack fatalities happen in this age range. Either way, that's really small number! A 1 in 25 shot of dying of a heart attack--if you happen to be unfortunate enough to be the 1 in 30 person to have one? Given those odds, I'd want to make sure that's what it was. Or at least I'd understand questioning it.

    I agree that changes of all sorts can be problematic. They certainly don't have to be "bad" ones. We live a long time. It's tough to evolve together forever. Half of all marriages end in divoce. Such is life, I guess?

    Good cheer, CoolOne! :-)

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  38. Darling Smag,
    This is very dull of me, to pick on this, but can we re-think those numbers a little?
    3.33% of heart attacks occurring in those age 35-44 does not imply an 1 in thirty chance of having one, does it? That's just a fraction out of all heart attacks, not among all persons that age.

    The CNN article says that 40,000 heart patients a year are age 35-44; rough thumbnail figure of 40,000,000 Americans in that age range puts the incidence at one in one thousand, for a given year; perhaps odds of one in one hundred on getting hit sometime in the whole decade.

    Most of those people don't die, of course; I can't extract the right numbers to divide from the eggman's site, and I'm already a little boggled by this much arithmetical heavy lifting, but my conclusion is that young heart attack fatalities are rare but by no means completely unexpected.

    Here it is almost Thursday again--goody!

    Good cheer, Captain.

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  39. Ahoy, Cantahamster! My apologies for a very poorly-worded discussion of the stats! I meant to say, "The odds are really, really low! Like what Cantahamster said!" ;-)

    I hadn't had nearly enough coffee by then, I guess, and was only looking at the sample of those who suffer a heart attack, not the whole population, which was meant to be my point when I started, but...

    So, anyway, yes, it's almost Thursday! Yay! :-)

    Good cheer, Cantahamster, and call me out anytime on my bad stats! I need to be kept straight! :-)

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  40. Good distinction, CoolOne - don't count on anyone changing in the way you want them to...but don't expect them to be frozen in time, either!

    Cantahamster - Agreed...there's a difference between changing together/changing in a way that still keeps the relationship intact, or going totally off the reservation. And sometimes those things do happen, for better or worse. But I do wonder at people who decide to marry someone and 20 years later go, "What?? You drink TEA now?? You were always a coffee drinker! Always! I want a divorce!" I gotta figure there's something else going on, or else they really weren't too into that person to begin with.

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