Friday, September 12, 2008

Since You Asked: September 12, 2008

DEAR AMY: I am responding to "Lesson for Life," who reiterates the irrational idea that we "choose" our feelings.

The fact is we cannot "choose" our feelings. In terms of neuropsychology, one "feels" quite intensely long (in terms of milliseconds) before the cognitive ability to "choose" kicks in.

It gets tedious reading this nonsense psycho-babble.

Once you've heard a parent speaking to a 2-year-old about making better "choices" for the umpteenth time, you will probably "feel" as I do.



If you hate “tedious psychobabble” so much, why did you fill your second paragraph with it?

But actually, I, too, get tired of these hippy-dippy-tambourine-bashing parents trying to use “reason” on out-of-control toddlers. They don’t have the capacity to reason, and it doesn’t stop them from screaming and annoying the shit out of the rest of us. But since child services will now swoop in with forms and self-righteous social workers the moment someone gives their kid a single swat on the ass (like WE got when WE misbehaved), or yells “NO!!,” they’ve been reduced to this child psychology shit.

I’m afraid we’ll have to learn to ignore it, as well as the screaming, spoiled kids. Just make sure you’re well-armed when they become adults.

Here’s another one the columnist was too soft on:

DEAR AMY: I love my stepmother, "Hannah." Unfortunately, she is petty, judgmental, cold and stubborn, and I'm sick of her. I see my father regularly, but I only see Hannah for any length of time during happy family occasions, during which she assumes and insinuates things about me and my private life.

Hannah thinks I watch too much TV, don't get out enough and don't act like a normal teenage girl. She very much resents my mother for no good reason, and I'm sick of her assumptions that I have no life.

These remarks make me feel very defensive, but I don't want to bring happy occasions down by slapping her with a much-deserved, "What do you mean by that?"

Hannah will say something, and from that point on, she's in my head like the "Small World" song. I'm not going to put my father in the middle by asking him to talk to her, and I won't let my mother defend me either. This is strictly between us. I need to do something.



The first thing you need to do is explain to me why you “love” this woman. She sounds like a real iron-box, and if that’s the kind of thing that turns your Daddio on, fine, but there’s no reason you should have to suffer.

It sounds like your father is pussy-whipped. There--that’s right, I said it. She probably rules the roost, perhaps threatening to withhold sex, hide his clean socks, or pursue any myriad of life-disrupting tactics that keep him at heel, so he daren’t stand up for himself or even you. I appreciate your not wanting to put him in the middle, but he landed there all by his lonesome when he married a woman who’s NOT the mother of his child and a conflict arose. Tough shit--sucks to be him today.

Tell him you need him to stand by you and explain to Hardass Hannah that she’s out of line. If she wants to be a parent figure, that’s great—I don’t think kids can have too many role models. But someone who only wants to criticize is NOT a parent--it’s a boss. Maybe you should start filling out a time card whenever you visit and billing her for each hour you have to spend in her company.

Failing that, you could try letting a different song get stuck in your head when she starts in. I suggest “Fat-Bottomed Girls” by Queen.

DEAR ELLIE: My daughter's pregnant, yet wants to leave her husband after the baby's born, because he's lazy. What can we do?



I’d tell her to go for it. If he’s as lazy as you say, he’s unlikely to run after her. And even if he does, she’s probably faster (unless she’s had a Caesarean).

DEAR MARGO: When I married "Phil" two years ago, I was in heaven. It was the culmination of several wonderful years of living together. But at the time we were married, my husband was unemployed. He'd had a not-so-rewarding experience in his last position and wanted to take some time to reevaluate his path in life and his spiritual purpose. Being the supportive wife and knowing he had substantial savings, I said fine, take the time you need.

Now, two and a half years later, the savings are gone and there is no motivation on Phil's part to get a job. He says he cannot spend his life being "miserable" in a 9-to-5 job seeing how disappointed I am in my current job, and he feels "something big" is coming up spiritually. Now my savings, the money I had put away for a house, has dwindled by the thousands in an effort to maintain some semblance of the life we once enjoyed. Phil meditates all morning, then walks around town or goes to lunch with his friends while I work to pay the bills. I have no sex drive anymore, which is taking another toll on our relationship.

He says that if I feel that disappointed in him I should divorce him, but wishes I would stick with him through this "tough time." I feel that he is not fulfilling his obligations as a husband, either financially or emotionally. I feel more depressed and alone than ever before, but do I have the right to tell Phil to give up his spiritual quest because I don't have the money to support him anymore?



Oh, I’ll just bet “he wishes you’ll stick with him through this ‘tough time,’” especially as it seems to be tougher for you than it is for him.

“Spiritual quest?” Puh-leeze. It shouldn’t take his body over two years to find a job that at least pays some bills while his head is off with its own little Sherpa on some inner journey. He could work at the post office, for Christ’s sakes.

Tell this lazy dumbshit to get off his chakra and start chipping in, or you’ll leave him stranded in the Gobi. If you don’t want to divorce him, then you need to start scaling back on this “lifestyle” you currently enjoy if it’s putting a strain on your savings. There’s no need to strive for Mr. Topper’s lifestyle on Ralph Kramden’s salary. Chances are, your Dalai Lama’s used to a few luxuries and once he starts doing without, let’s see how “spiritual” he is. I’m sure you’ll find it’s a different story once he drinks generic coffee for a few days.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where does that last guy get money to get coffee with his friends everyday? She should tell him no more money get a job or hit the highway.
The girl with the step-mom from Hell needs to become the step-daughter form hell. If the hag wants to nag give her something to yell about.
The woman who wants to leave her husband "after" the baby is born should have realized what a bum he was a few months sooner but better late than never is a common phrase for a reason.
"Kirk" wants to know how to get along with his widowed mother even though she resents his lifestyle and thinks it is his choice to be Gay.
"Ted" wonders if being the world's oldest Virgin is worthy of the Guiness Book of World records. ed

10:36 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Kirk should point out that the partner he's chosen has turned out to be far more responsible and respectable than the ones she ever seems to have selected. This will piss her off, so he should take the conversation in another direction and ask his mother at what point SHE "chose" to be straight. When she answers (as she certainly will) that she didn't choose, that it was just the way things were, I'd answer that the same rule applies to us. Does she really think that we CHOSE to wake up one morning, yawning lazily like Scarlett O'Hara and saying, "Fiddle-dee-dee! Ah think ah'll go for the pole instead of the hole, and subject mahself to a lahf of scorn, abuse and ri-DEE-cule?"

Of course not. But if she persists in this ridiculous line of unreason, I'd ask, if our biological urges really ARE of our own choosing, how hers landed up on, of all people, Old Boy?

Ted may be interested to know that he's not the oldest living virgin. I'm afraid that that honor goes to either Mother Teresa or Kaye Ballard.

But at least he's in good company!

12:37 PM  

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