http://www.slate.com/id/2277398/ (12/16/2010) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There
Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! How in the hell are ya on this fine, fine winter Prudie Day? Are you enjoying the snow? The sleet? Or, perhaps you have balmy weather and bikinis? Regardless, in whatever latitude you find yourself, may your day and week be lovely. And, may your various celebrations during this time of year be joyous, however it is that they manifest themselves! And with that convoluted thought, I contend that it’s time to celebrate a new batch of letters with, well, responses! So, let’s get crackin’, shall we?
LW#1: Dear Prudie, my boyfriend wants me to take a lie detector test prior to asking me to marry him. He caught me in a couple of white lies early in our relationship (regarding things that happened prior to my meeting him), and has since said that if he can’t trust me in those things, he can’t trust me enough to marry me. He’s a great guy, Prudie, and, obviously I’d like to marry him, but, is this kind of request normal? Or, is it a sign of overall problems in our relationship? Signed, No Lie Detector for Me--Probably
Dear Abuse Victim. I am normally very snarky and flip with my answers. I can’t be in this case. You are being abused. You are being manipulated. You are in a destructive, oppressive, soul-crushing relationship that will only get worse with time, until, finally, one day, you will have been completely erased. The fact that you’re even questioning the sanity of the “request” of this asshole you call a boyfriend is proof of that, even if you can’t see it. Please leave him. Please get out of the relationship today. This moment. Your jackass, abusive boyfriend will be angry. Or, he’ll cry--it just depends on what best pushes your buttons. Regardless of how he does it, though, if you turn to leave, he’ll plead with you. He’ll attempt to manipulate you. He’ll claim that he’ll get better. Or, he’ll say that you have nowhere to go, that you’re nothing without him. He’ll promise you anything to keep you, up to, and likely including, offering to marry you. I can’t stress this enough: do not fall for it! You are a victim and in the middle of a highly destructive relationship. I realize that you can’t see that right now. You’re likely wondering, “Why in the hell is SmagBoy using such strong language? It’s not that bad.” Listen to me. It is that bad. You need help. Please, for the love of all that is living, enlist any true friends and/or family that he hasn’t already managed to alienate you from and get out today. Right now. Every moment that you hesitate is a moment that he sinks his claws deeper into you and one more piece of your soul that gets locked away. I implore you to leave him. It doesn’t matter if you have holiday plans. They’re nothing compared to the danger you’re in. You can make new plans! He may call you names, curse you to his friends. So what. Even if you can’t see why, please trust me in how important this is. And then, after you get out, as soon as you can, you need to find counseling. This is vital. You must figure out what was happening, how it happened, and what you can do to prevent it from happening again. Good luck, and, please hear me on this--trust me, I don’t break character for nothing.
LW#2: Dear Prudie. For years, my dad ate poorly, didn’t exercise, lazed about, contracted diabetes (though didn’t know it), and, as a result, became extremely overweight, had a heart attack, and nearly died. For about a year after that, he was better and took care of himself. But, since then, he’s gone back to his old ways and is eating everything in sight and, well, obviously, gaining weight. Further, my sister and I suspect that he hasn’t been to his cardiologist in over a year. Whenever anyone brings up any of this, my father goes into a screaming fit of pique. My mother has given up. To add to my concern, we’re planning a Christmas trip to a third world country where we’ll do lots of hiking. We’re all worried that my dad will become ill and require medical care, but that, given the location, there won’t be adequate care and he’ll die. What can we do? Signed, Worried Daughter
Dear Daughter. Here’s one of life’s toughest lessons: you can’t control anyone but yourself. You can ask, you can plead, but, in the end, you can’t be your father’s hands or his mouth. And, if you’ve talked to him about your concerns and he can’t or won’t change, there’s nothing you can do to change him. But, remember what thing I said that you can control? Yourself. So, if taking this trip worries you, if it seems as if it's the worst possible idea in the history of ideas, you can simply choose not to go. I wouldn’t want to come to associate the holidays with the vivid memories of the terrible death of a beloved family member, either. I mean, hell, what if there are canibals there and they eat his dead, cake-laden flesh?! I wish I had more for you, but, some life lessons truly are that simple. Or maybe I’m just off my game after the first letter? Nah. Regardless, good luck to you and your family. May your father see the error of his ways before it’s too late and may you have together many more holidays to come.
LW#3: Dear Prudie, I’ve worked for the same, privately-owned company for ten years. I’ve never gotten a single raise. Yet, each year, we’re asked to donate more and more of our salary to a company-approved charity. Further, we’ve recently been asked to contribute more to our health insurance costs, and, frankly, I just won’t have the money to contribute more to health insurance and keep up with the Joneses regarding charitable donations. What should I do? Signed, Charitably Uncomfortable
Dear Bob Cratchit. You surely do have some patience! Holy smokes! Listen, you’ve got to do only what you can do. And, if your disposable income has decreased by X percent due to healthcare payments that have increased by X percent, you can, with an unburdened heart and free conscience, contribute that much less to the company’s charity. As a matter of fact, on the donation form, you could even enter what you would have contributed, then, a minus sign with the X percent after. Title that minus section “healthcare increases”. Then, enter the final sum. If questioned, you can say, and quite righteously, “Listen, Mr. Scrooge, I’ve worked here for ten years without a single raise. My less-expensive healthcare benefits and your stone cold companionship were my only comforts. Not even any coal for heat! Now that I have to pay more for healthcare, with no raise, in ten years (did I mention), I have no choice but to reduce my charitable donations.” Personally? I’d look for another job. But I’m not patient like you. At all.
LW#4: Dear Prudie, after I graduated from college and moved to a nearby city for a great job, my parents downsized by buying a smaller house. Now, when I come home for holidays, there’s no room for me! The longer I stay, the crankier they get, to the point where I don’t feel welcome in their home anymore! I get the distinct feeling that they’re over being parents and want me out of their lives. What can I do? Signed, No Longer Wanted
Dear Butt-hurt Bunkmate. Listen, amazingly, once one reaches adulthood, one typically learns to ask before just showing up at the homes of other people. Interestingly, this rule even counts for family. I have a great relationship with my parents, but I would never just invite myself to their place, on my own schedule, pretend that I own the place, and expect them to cater to me. Of course, I’m a fully-functioning adult, not a diva who thinks the world revolves around him/her, so, you know, there’s that. And, truth is, I’m not talking about anything fancy here. All you need do is call your folks a few weeks in advance and say, “Hey, Mom, Pops, I was thinking of coming home for Christmas. I’d love to see you! What are your plans? Do you have some free time? Could I crash at your place, or is a hotel better? Is there a good or bad time? I was thinking from the 22nd to the 26th?” Something like that. My folks have plenty of room at their homes, but, what if they’d already invited someone, thinking that I wasn’t going to be in town? You know, as in, gasp, made other plans?! Sort of like real, live, functioning adults who have lives outside of being my parents? It’d be awfully presumptuous of me, also a real, live fully-functioning adult, to assume that they’d drop everything and all of their plans to cater to my “great job”-having ass, don't'cha think? And, as such, ipso Eggo-Pocono, it’s awfully presumptuous of your fully-functioning adult ass to presume same of your folks. Grow up! And merry fucking holidays. Ho-ho-ho.
Well, Shippers, that does it for this episode of “As the Smag Turns”. Tune in next week when we’ll hear our hero exclaim, “Oy! Who drank all of the damn eggnog! Bastard ingrate bastardly bastards!” Ah, the holidays... Good cheer, Shippers, and fair winds and following seas to you all.