http://www.slate.com/id/2280118/ (01/06/2011) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There
Hey hidey-ho, Shippers! And ahoy to you all in this new and wonderful year! How are you all? How did your New Year’s celebrations go? Did you enjoy your holidays? I sure hope so--at least more than our letter writers appear to have! I’m writing to you this week from the Fatherland (Germany). So, if I’m even more cranky than normal, you’ll know why (you know the Germans--very straightforward and cranky)! ;-) Plus, it’s tough for a Submariner to be away from his Lagoon. But, I’ll be back Home soonest and all will be well. With that in mind, and with all proper pleasantries extended, let’s get crackin’ on these letters, shall we?
LW#1: Dear Prudie, my youngest sister has been dating her current boyfriend for several months. When I asked her recently why he’d never been to any family events, she informed me that he is a convicted sex offender and that he is not allowed around children. As you may imagine, I was quite shocked by this news. My sister informs me that her boyfriend is not really guilty, that he was represented by a terrible lawyer, and that the only reason he pled guilty was to save his family from the pain of a trial (he was accused of molesting his younger sister when he was a mid-teen). However, being a lawyer, I found out that the boyfriend was actually represented by an excellent lawyer and that he pled guilty only after his abused sister attempted suicide during the trial. As a result, our family does not plan on allowing the boyfriend to any family functions. My sister says that she loves this man and that we are being un-Christian toward him. What can we do? Signed, A Liar In Our Midst
Dear Judge Lawyer Brother/Sister. You know what? I can think of several circumstances under which an excellent lawyer might end up doing a shitty job of defending someone (and thus making said someone think the lawyer is shitty) and under which a younger sister would attempt suicide mid-trial, none of which have anything to do with this man being guilty. However, I can also follow and understand your logic that he’s an unrepentant child molesting monster. And, fact is, your family, as parents and as those responsible for children, have a responsibility to said children that has nothing to do with being good or poor Christians. If she were here in front of me, I’d beat your sister silly with a rubber hose for playing such a fucked up “good Christian” card as some sort of trump to you protecting your family's children. Your sister is being un-human if she can’t see why you’re worried. Fact is, though, there’s middle ground to be had here. You can explain to your sister that you’re uncomfortable with her boyfriend being around the family’s children (and you can explain why by telling her what you've found out), but you can also allow that you’d be willing to meet him in an adults-only setting (dinner out perhaps, or at her place?) in a good faith effort to try to see in him what she does. This would show love and support for your sister without placing your family’s children at risk. Further, though, for your sister’s sake, and for yours, you need to be honest with her. She hasn’t tried to sneak him around your family without informing you of his past, so, acknowledge at least that amount of respect on her part. Good luck.
LW#2: Dear Prudie, I have a Christmas present problem. I warned my in-laws that I would not be able to buy presents up to my usual standard of monetary value due to tough financial times. I did buy presents, though, just not super-expensive ones. Well, my mother-in-law sent me a super-expensive purse as a present, but, upon receiving my present for her (a nice, but modest perfume), she became enraged, called me a “cheapskate” and a “dumb bimbo” for not knowing about her being allergic to the perfume, and then she demanded that I return the purse she'd given me! I was quite shocked by this and don’t know what to do? How should I respond to my mother-in-law’s actions? Signed, Befuddled and Bedamned
Dear Befudamned. This one is simple. Send back the purse without comment. No letter or card or even the tiniest little note. Just package the purse safely and send it back. Immediately. However, know right down to the sole of your heart that only asshole, shitbag, fucktarded bitches pull shit like your MIL just pulled, so, make sure to let your husband know that you will not be dealing with your MIL anymore. Ever. This means no talking to her, no communicating with her, no more sending or receiving any gifts from her, or anything else! Nothing. And you should 100% mean it, and be happy about it! You’re justified. But frankly, that's the easy part. What's tougher is the overall relationship. For the record, I don’t understand all of the “I”s in your letter as opposed “we”s? Why wasn’t your husband involved in the gift-giving with your in-laws (and thus the subsequent backlash)? Why hasn't he intervened on your behalf, or given back his present from your MIL? Whatever the reasons, you can now wash your hands of this old crazy bitch and know full well that you’re in the right. Sometimes it’s better to just buck up and be a better human being. This isn’t one of them, though. Not after what she did and said to you. Unless she apologizes (and not with some bauble, but really and genuinely), she should be persona non grata to you. Enjoy the newfound freedom from Crazy Town!
LW#3: Dear Prudie. Recently, a co-worker was fired even though he’s a very talented, skilled worker when it comes to the technical part of the job. The problem was that he’s very socially awkward and repeatedly failed miserably at that part of his job. He expressed disappointment at losing his job, revealing he’d lost several others prior to this one. I’m not a doctor, but I feel certain his job record is because he has Asperger’s Syndrome. Is there a way that I can suggest he consult a doctor to see? He’s a young man and could have a long and successful career if he could address his social issues. How can I suggest this? Signed, Wanting To Help
Dear Helpful. If I were in your shoes, I’d cut and paste the body of your letter, erase the beginning and end parts that are addressed specifically to Prudie, and send it to your friend via e-mail. Just say, “Look, you expressed concern about losing your job, and I want you to know that your technical skill is highly admired and recognized, but...” You can even send it anonymously via a throw away e-mail account. Or anonymously via snail mail. You don’t even have to mention Asperger’s Syndrome. You could simply mention specific “social skill issues that need addressing, like...” and suggest that they may be due to anything from general awkwardness to various medical conditions, all of which can be addressed by a trained physician and research. By not offering a specific diagnosis (especially since you are not a doctor), perhaps your former colleague will be even more apt to pursue a fix (as opposed to reading a specific suggested diagnosis from you and then clamming up because he doesn’t want/like a specific label). Don’t talk yourself out of this deed, though, as the potential good you can do far outweighs any potential negatives. And good on you for wanting to help! It seems that not many people do nowadays!
LW#4: Dear Prudie, I occasionally play very serious poker with a group of friends and acquaintances. There is a great deal of money at stake, but, we are all friends and mature adults and the evenings are always truly enjoyable. Recently, two members of the group pointed out to me that a friend that I’d suggested and introduced to the group was cheating during our most recent game. I’m not surprised by this accusation and now find myself in the position of addressing the issue. How do I proceed? Do I ask my friend for the money back that he won? How can I ask him to leave without affecting my friendship with him? Signed, You’ve Got To Know When To Fold ‘Em
Dear Sympathy for the Devil. This one is easy, too. Just tell your friend what you told Prudie. Simply say, “Joe, a couple of folks in the group have accused you of cheating last time around. They don’t want you back, and, as the one who introduced you, I was elected to tell you. I still want to be friends, though, so I hope that you remember that I’m just the messenger, but, for whatever it’s worth, you’re no longer welcome at the games.” Fact is, though, I’m curious as to why you’re okay with Joe’s cheating at a high stakes poker game? Especially after you introduced him to the group? I have to assume that you have so much discretionary income that the loss of money due to someone actually cheating, is no big deal? And, that the income is so significant that you don't value it enough to understand that you should be horrified that your “friend” would take money from people you’d introduced him to?! Where are your priorities, man? Where’s your moral outrage? Do you have a trust fund or something? But hell, if you’re truly okay with this type of behavior, can you give me a few night’s worth of your winnings? You know, just for my brilliant advice?
Well, Shippers, that’s it. May 2011 be your best year ever! And, as always, fair winds and following seas to you all. ‘Til next week, then...