Friday, August 08, 2008

Since You Asked: August 8, 2008 Edition

DEAR ABBY: What is the word on men wearing baseball caps into a fairly nice restaurant and not taking them off? I think it is rude, and ruder still for them -- and women are guilty of this too -- to dress like they just finished mowing the lawn. How do you feel about this?



Frankly, I don’t care either way about it, and if you had a life, you wouldn’t either.

I personally wouldn’t dress sloppily to go to a nice restaurant, and I think people who do don’t have much self-respect. But I would hardly call it “rude.” "Rude” would be the man coming over and spitting in your dinner. As it stands, it’s pretty tacky, but not really any of your business. Mind your own beeswax and focus on the person you came with (assuming you could find anyone to put up with you) and admire each other’s pretty clothes. Ignore the people whose appearance offends you. I can assure you they’re doing the same to you.

DEAR MARGO: My husband of four years, "Ralph," served in the Air Force before we met. He received an injury to his leg and was deemed permanently unfit for combat. The first morning we spent in our new house, he put several pictures of another airman on our mantle and he never took them off. He won't tell me who the guy is, and he never tells me anything about his years in the Air Force. I can understand the PTSD and the fear of loud noises, but I can't handle the secrecy. I once tried to put up Christmas decorations on the mantle, and he became so angry he knocked me to the ground. I love this man and want to stay with him, but I keep feeling that the mystery man is more important to him than I am. What do I do?



Let me get this straight: he has pictures of another man on your shared mantle and won’t tell you who he is? Creepy. Especially since he’s chosen to keep them in the space that you share. Yes, that’s right—share. That means that the space is yours, too, and you’re entitled to know who it is. If this is someone from his past he doesn’t want brought up, why does he scatter his pictures all over the pace? To me, this sounds like his way of baiting and withdrawing. It’s a childish game and a sick power play.

My thoughts are that there are two possibilities: either this guy’s a big old closet case and having these pictures around is his way of rubbing your face in it and demonstrating his resentment without having the cojones to actually speak up; or the man in the photo is an Air Force buddy who was killed. Either way, he at least owes you the courtesy of a brief answer if you ask, since he practically shoved the pictures under your nose. Even if it’s just to say he’s a friend who was killed and he doesn’t want to talk about it again, at least then you’d know your boundaries.

But then there’s the whole issue of his knocking you down. So scratch all that stuff I just said—he’s a big freak. Divorce his ass and “accidentally” break the pictures on your way out the door. But first, kick him square in the balls. Hard. See how he likes it.

DEAR AMY: What is a tactful way of asking siblings for help in taking care of elderly parents?

My brother lives in Texas, my sister is in Nevada and my parents are in Wyoming. I live the closest to our folks, about 50 miles away.

I try to see my parents about once a week, which uses a tank of gas and a day of my time. I don't mind driving to visit them—we go special places together, and I try to make sure they are well.

I would at least like for my siblings to give me gas money because it takes a lot of money for fuel these days.

My siblings are way better off financially than I am; I live on Social Security.

I hinted to them once that because I live close to our parents my siblings "owe me big-time," but they didn't take the hint.



Of course they didn’t take the hint. People never do, especially when they know it’s being dropped to them and they don’t want it. Anyway, your hint about their “owing you big-time” is just annoying and nebulous. They don’t “owe you big-time” because you live closer. They “owe you big-time” because you’re taking care of your parents while they’re not around, so in essence, you’re doing the job of three people. So to answer your question about a tactful way of asking for help, try a new tactic:

“Excuse me, Rockefeller! I hate to bother you, but while you’re out there living the high life and shitting nickels, I’ve been schlepping back and forth every week to make sure your future inheritance isn’t lying on the floor turning blue, depriving you of another day’s compound interest. I’ve asked for help before, but you didn’t seem to get the message. Let me ask another way: you wanna kick in a little gas money to help me out here, or shall I sell their house and ship them out there to live with you?”

Always go for the double-choice question—never the open-ended essay. It leaves them too many options.

DEAR ELLIE: My father-in-law is a tough, stubborn man who talks to my wife like she's still a child -- barking orders, dismissing her ideas. She's depressed after every visit but still wants to see her mom.



Household accidents are alarmingly common among older folks. Why, he could fall off a ladder while changing a light bulb, or slip on some urine in the bathroom and crack his head against the sink. The next time you visit, unscrew the light bulbs and pee on the floor. Then she can visit her mother in peace. They’ll probably even have a good laugh about Daddy Buttertoes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love wearing my baseball hat to cover my thinning locks. I hate, I mean hate, wearing a tie. It is the 21 century, not the days when Ladies wore large hats and men were required to remove their hats indoors. Tell the broad to stop living in the past. Women don't take their hats off men don't take their hats off, equality sucks, live with it!
The next lady's husband put not one, not two, but several pictures of another man on the mantle. He may be a fishing buddy. The only time the man is happy may be when he's with his buddy. They probably like camping and sleeping in a pup tent. Holy Brokeback Mountain! Is this gal for real? Get out now and run far away. The guy loves the one on the Mantle and when you found yourself being scraped off the floor that should have been a hint.
There is no tactful way to ask for help, sister, I like Aaron's answer. Threaten to send the parents to live with them they'll pay big to keep their privacy.
To the man who's Father-in-Law is a bully and a jerk: A mister sister grow a pair of pecans and tell him the rules the next time he comes to visit. If he turns the football game back on after you shut it off throw the damn TV out the picture window. You must give respect to get respect. Damn, I hate it when my advice hits home. eddie

12:51 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Yes, I usually find that the "calling of the bluff" ends most pointless skirmishes and dissolves thought was that if the letter-writer is on Social Security him/herself, then the parents must be VERY, VERY elderly...and might reach a point where they have to have someone move in with them or be moved to one of the kids' houses.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Johnny C said...

I'm dying to know how Margo answered the Brokeback Mountain question...!!!

9:27 PM  

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