http://www.slate.com/id/2274432/ (11/11/2010) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There
Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine Prudie and Veterinarian’s Day?! I’ll be honest, I’ve never known exactly why we celebrate vets over, say, celebrating all physicians. It’s a tough job, regardless of what type of doctor you become, and it takes a lot of schooling either way. So why vets, specifically? We did start as an agrarian society, so, maybe that’s it, since animals were so valued for food and labor? Whatever the reason, it’s a great thing because I don’t have to work today! So, anytime there’s a Veterinarian’s Day, I’m all for it (even if it does seem unfair to other physicians). With that, let’s get crackin’ on the letters, shall we?
LW#1: Dear Prudie. All of my life, I’ve lied. Little lies, big lies, it didn’t matter. Anything to get my way. And, it’s been a great ride! But, recently, I lied to my husband about spending a huge wad of cash on myself that we totally couldn’t afford, and, since I’m somewhat suspiciously-pregnant (we travel a lot for work and hardly ever see each other), when he found out about the cash, not only was he angry about what I’d spent on myself while lying about it, he became concerned about whether or not he’s the father of our child! Prudie, what lie can I tell him to get him to fall back in line? This is killing me! Help! Signed, Live to Lie, Lie to Live
Dear Lying Liar. You do understand the irony here, right? That I’m somehow supposed to take your letter at face value, even though you’ve admitted right up front that you’re a compulsive liar? Well, that incongruity aside, I’ll answer you as if I believe you, kay? Kay. First off, you’re not nearly as clever as you think you are. You need to come to terms with that right now. I know, I know, you lie all the time and you’re great at it. Well, news flash, Sister, fully two-thirds of those lies are so bad and outrageous that everyone not only knows that you’re lying, they just roll their eyes behind your back. Those people who hang around you because they have to? They enjoy cataloging the ridiculousness of your tales. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of your whoppers have even become part of the group meme. Those people who genuinely like you, but aren’t usually put in harm’s way due to your dishonesty? They’re okay with you because they like you, but, don’t think for a second that they’re fooled. They’re not. They put up with you. The worse category, though, is family and close friends. The ones you most need, yet most hurt with your dishonesty. Thing is, they know you’re a heinous lying idiot, too. But, either by blood or by choice (ignorant at the time of making that choice or no), they know you’re a liar, too. Yep, your husband as well. The problem is that he thinks he knows when you’re lying, so he’s always imagined himself as safe. But then, when you lie about something that he sees as mundane as going out for the day, and he later, innocently finds out that that, too, was a lie?! Hell yes he’s going to start to question the very foundation of your marriage! Of course he is. And you? You’re more interested in regaining his trust than in fixing yourself. That’s bad. Because it’s just going to cause you lie more. You need to get a counselor and some help. And as for the baby being your husband’s? Yeah. Right. You need to come to terms with that mess, too.
LW#2: Dear Prudie. My teenage daughter was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. This explains so many things and has really helped us as a family. The problem is that, in light of this diagnosis, we want to have a quiet, small Thanksgiving. In the past, we’ve hosted the whole family here in our house. My sister’s kids are heinous brats who are more demon spawn than they are children. My sister is a flaming bitch and it’s never a fun time because my sister’s family’s behavior stresses out the whole family and causes my daughter to act out in terrible ways. Well, I’ve announced that we can’t host Thanksgiving this year (though I didn’t say why), and so my mother wants to take over that role. Well, I don’t want that, Prudie! Whine! Whine! I want my sister to step up and host! I mean, that’s only fair! Not that we’ll be going, as I say, but still, my mom can’t handle the hosting duties! And, too, what do I say to my family about why we’re not attending? I reckoned that I’d lie and say that we’re leaving town, although, it’s a small town and they might see us. What do you think? Signed, I Totally Hate My Sister (and her bratty kids, but mine are angels, by the way)!
Dear Hater. Okay, first off, let’s review problem #1. You are neither your mother’s nor your sister’s keeper. And, if you’re removing yourself from the festivities this year (for obvious and valid reasons), you get no say over how they celebrate Thanksgiving, or, over who hosts it. You got that, Master Sergeant Type-A, Controlling Personality Person?! So, get the fuck right on over yourself on that one. And do it now, Soldier. You have absolutely no ground to stand on there, and all you’re doing is creating drama, which, in light of your second question, seems completely and totally in sync with your personality. What do you tell your family about why you aren’t attending? Hmmmm. Let’s see... Well, you can make your daughter feel triply-ashamed of her diagnosis by hiding it and lying to family about it, all while letting her know that that’s what you’re doing, you know, for her sake (yeah, right). That sounds good, eh? No? Hmmm, okay, then, let’s see, you could, I don’t know, grow the fuck up, be a parent and an adult, and explain that this year you’ve promised a family get-together with just you four, and, in light of your daughter’s diagnosis, you’ll be altering how your attend all future family functions, too. You can explain that it’s nothing personal, and that you’re so happy to know now what’ up with your daughter because you’ll know better now how to prevent her from melting down at these events in the future (and let’s face it, that’s what’s been happening--this isn’t all about your sister’s kids. At all.). But let me warn you of something: this is not your diagnosis. You don’t get to wear it as some sort of fucked up badge of honor. Your daughter is the one who’s been forced to endure these get-togethers and who’s obviously acted out in ways that have brought a great deal of shitty-ness over the years. She’s the one who’s been basically screaming that she’s uncomfortable, begging for help. This isn’t a time to punish the rest of the family for your feelings of guilt. It’s a time for you and your family to learn about how to better interact with your daughter, but, without dictating anything to anyone else. This is a time for inner-reflection, not outer-dictation. Got me?
LW#3: Dear Prudie. I’m 24, married and have a baby. I’m very lucky in that my mom and I are very close, and she watches the baby while my husband and I work. Recently, I suggested that this year I could host Thanksgiving. My mom responded by saying that the family likes “good” food, and that I’m “not ready” to host. As you can imagine, I was devastated! I’m thinking of not attending Thanksgiving, but, I don’t want to give up all of this great free child care. What can I do? Signed, I Can So Host Thanksgiving!
Dear Betty Crock. Look, I don’t know how close you and your mom really are, but, I have a feeling that there are a few things at work here. First, do you say you two are super-close because, that way, you don’t feel like you have to pay for the child care (and I don’t mean pay in cash, necessarily, but, you know, with gratitude, hosting dinner on occasion, showing appreciation in a very real and substantial way for all that your mother is doing, which, by the way, is a HUGE fucking deal!)? Or, do you say it because, as far as you know, you really are super-close and this thing really threw you for a loop? Regardless of your answer, it’s clear that your mom is upset about something. My suggestion is that you haven’t been showing her the gratitude she deserves for taking on this task (is she running errands for you, too? Cleaning? Etc.). Even if she says she doesn’t mind it, which may well be true, she would surely appreciate the occasional offer of a day spa or even just breakfast out with you, or something? So, for you to offer, just out of the blue, to usurp her role as family matriarch, all while charging her with child care, may just seem like too much for her. I’m not saying that you’re actually doing any of that! I’m just saying that surely you can see how she might take it that way, yes? And finally, if you really are close, and if none of what I’ve said is true, why can’t you just talk to her about it as she obviously just blurted out something off the cuff that came out sounding really wrong, but that was, in fact, not at all what she meant? I don’t know the truth here. That’s up to you to find, but, my guess is that your mother’s words didn’t come entirely without motivation. She’s been stewing on something. Your job, as the representative of half of the close relationship that you and your mom purportedly share, is to find out what. Good luck!
LW#4: Dear Prudie. Last year, my boss had an affair. He ended up leaving the company in order to try to patch up his marriage. It was a dark time for us here in the office as the new boss was terrible. Well, after several months, the original boss came back, and, though stressful due to work, things have been better than ever and camaraderie has grown exponentially as a result of getting past the Dark Ages! Well, last week, my co-workers threw me a bridal shower. Our boss stood to give a toast and, without thinking, I blurted out, “Hey there, Mister Cheater Man, I don’t want any martial advice from you, of all people! Got it?!” This led to a great deal of laughter and cat-calling from the staff and we all had a good laugh. Including the boss. But, Prudie, I feel terrible! I so didn’t mean to say what I said. It just came out! And now I don’t know if I should apologize, further opening the wound, or just let it go? I feel terrible! What should I do? Signed, Missy Big Mouth
Dear In Vino Veritas. I think that, in order to make it up to him, you should have sex with him. That’s really the only way to even the card. No! Just kidding! The truth of the matter is that you blew this one. Big time. And you need to humbly go to him and ask to speak privately (albeit in a room that has clear line of sight to the rest of the office so everyone can see that you’re not under his desk!). Then, apologize. Tell him that you’re so sorry. That what you said was wildly inappropriate, none of your business, exceptionally out of line, and beyond the fucking pale and that it’s a credit to his leadership that you and your officemates felt comfortable enough to act like total social idiots around one another. Then, you need to hope like fuck that you never find yourself in his shoes where some upstart little tart decides to air your dirty laundry for the whole staff. Idiot.
Well, Shippers, that’s about it! Happy Vet’s Day (I still don’t get that, but, hey, whatever. Like I said, a day off is a day off!). May you have fair winds, following seas, and may the sunshine lightly kiss your backside, wherever you may roam. ‘Til next week, Shippers...