26 October 2009
(Photograph copyright 2009, all rights reserved.)
As always, you can find the letters to Prudie at http://slate.com/id/2233031 (ED: fixed your link, sweetie! You owe me kisses...)
(No, I have no idea why my link doesn't work. I don't have the magic for that. Maybe I'll ask for the loan of some from Mermaid or the Oracle.)
Here I am, back again and taking consolation for my ten day cold to the fact that the rest of the population of the City of Wind seems to be snorting and sneezing too. Of course this does not include the folks that have swine flu, which is everywhere. We had a high school close for most of last week. Out of roughly 2000 students, something like 970 were out sick. There was no point staying open with almost half the kids gone.
Now here's where more people should be angry. We are out of vaccine. Completely out. At one clinic, people started lining up at dark o' clock for a 9:30 a.m. opening and they were out of vaccine within two hours. How is that possible? How is it that MASSIVE pharmaceutical companies can manage to screw up this badly? How can anyone explain that a company that can pump out (for example) a kajillion purple pills for limp little dicks every single day manage to fuck up something so necessary that badly? It's not like they didn't have any warning. It's not like they didn't know what was going to happen. So how does that work?
The people that lined up for those shots NEEDED them. There were sickle-cell patients, people with asthma, people in cancer treatment, some of whom travelled by bus for an hour or more, and there was no vaccine for them. Some of these folks could (and probably will) DIE because there was no vaccine for them. There is NO excuse for this.
So I have an idea. All of you, everyone who thinks this is as absurd as I do, start writing letters. Write to your newspapers, your congressmen, your City Councils, the pharmaceutical companies that dropped the ball, everyone who might listen to you. Write to the President. Let everyone know just how appalling this situation is. Ask how it is that pharmaceutical companies can get away with screwing up this vaccine and not be accountable for the deaths that are going to result from it. And make no mistake, there are going to be deaths because of this monumental screwup. All I hear in the press is excuses that I wouldn't accept for a ten-year-old to be late to class!
If you do this, let me know. If someone actually gives you the courtesy of a response, let me know. I'll put them in this space. This is important, kids, and no one should be able to shrug off these horrible consequences. If all we can do is make noise about it, then let's make noise.
Ahem. Off the soap box now. To the letters!
1. Hoo boy. I read this letter twice. First to see if the idea that your fiance's relationship with his sister was really odd, second to see, well, why you put up with this shit for four years. You say that the love of your life plays footsie with another woman, calls you by her name, and knows all of her most intimate secrets, including the ones in her MARRIAGE!
THINK, woman! Who the fuck CARES if the other woman is his sister! Even if they aren't fucking (and who knows, they may or may not have gone there, it doesn't matter) he is giving her the position in his life that is rightfully occupied by a wife. He tells her everything, spends as much time with her as he can, and ignores you when you're with them. No wonder you've tried to distance yourself. Who'd want to be around that much pathology?
Yeah, yeah. I know. A lot of folks over on Slate are willing to make excuses for them. Who the fuck cares? Really? This has been bugging you for FOUR YEARS. How can you even consider marrying this jerk? This is not a situation that will improve after the wedding. After all, your fiance's sister is married, too, and you don't see HER behavior changing. She's still mucking about and spending way too much time with her brother. In fact, I advise you to make an excuse to call her husband and ask what HE thinks of the situation. His answer won't mean you should go ahead by any means, but I would guess that he's a "go along to get along" kinda guy.
You claim that your fiance is "sensitive" and that he accuses you of not liking his sister. Gee, I can't imagine why you don't just adore her! After all....she's so... so... important to him. So what? I'd say he's about as sensitive as a rhino in a thorn bush. He may be touchy about it, but if he loved YOU, he'd do what he could to reassure you. He has chosen not to do that. Not only does he not give a damn how you feel, he throws a little hissy when you even mention it - probably to cover his guilt, but also because you just aren't as important to him as his sister is.
If you marry this guy, you will never really have a husband. You will spend your life fighting for his time to be spent with you and possibly his children, but he will want to be with the woman who really IS the most important person in his life. That's not you. It will never be you. He won't allow it, and neither will his sister.
Get out now. Tell him that you won't marry him, tell him why and tell him that the only hope he has of marrying you is if both of you go for counseling. He's going to refuse, and then you'll be free to find someone who wants YOU as the most important thing in his life and won't allow anyone or anything to get between you. And that's how it should be.
2. So, an accomplished artist did a lovely nude painting of you, gave it to you because he cared about you, and you're willing to insult him by hiding it in a closet with the shoe mistakes and unused sports equipment?
Where in the Midwest do you hail from that a nude painting scares you so much? Are you one of Garrison Keillor's Lutherans who would rather slit their wrists than admit that they didn't find their kids under cabbage leaves? When did you, a woman who happily POSED for a nude painting suddenly get a stick up your ass about showing it off?
I'm guessing you're quite young. I'm guessing you were pretty young when the painting was done. Why do I mention this? Well, if there was ever a time you could attractively bare your ass, that time is NOW. You might have kids, gain weight, start to droop in unattractive ways and in unmentionable places, folds will appear on your once-killer post-adolescent bod, you'll start to see cottage cheese where he saw smooth, inviting thighs and... get the picture? THIS is the time you flaunt what you've got, kid. Because what you've got now is a LONG way from eternal - you'll be envying yourself in that painting before you know it!
Why would anyone ask who's in the painting? Nudes in the thousands hang from walls all over the world. I got news for you, kid. No one gives a damn about the model. They won't ask who the nekkid chick is. They MIGHT want to know about the artist. If the painting is as beautiful as you say it is, then the artist is the one that will benefit if you tell people about him. Frankly, one set of bare boobs is pretty much like every other - it's the artist's skill that makes them worth looking at.
Hang it, tell people who did it, help the poor bugger make a living. You never know. Your ass might make his career, and THAT is something you can be proud of.
3. So you lied to your kid. How did that seem to be a good idea? Seriously, what were you using for brains that day? You think a kid, even one as young as yours, can't smell a parental lie from a hundred paces?
So tell me, moron, how do you think your "little lie" is going to play out over time? Let's say you keep it up and one day she finds out about the lie. You will have single handedly destroyed any trust that your child ever had in you. Everything you will have told her for her entire life is going to be up for questioning, and your cute little daughter will be so angry with you for lying that you may lose her altogether.
Think that's not possible? Really? Think again. How would YOU have felt if your mother "confessed" one day that your father was not your father, but an anonymous one night stand in the alley behind a bar when she was too loaded to know what she was doing? You'd be furious with her, right? Even if you didn't care who the guy was, you'd feel betrayed and wonder what else she lied about. THAT is what you're doing to your daughter.
She may not remember the lie. One day, she's going to bring up the "daddy" question again, and YOU MUST TELL THE TRUTH!
You don't need to go into gory details. All you have to tell her is that her father lives far away and is very busy. THEN you WILL tell her that one day when she's old enough, you will help her get in touch with him IF that's what she wants. You will tell her that he DOES care about her, he just can't be around. Reassure her that its not her fault, it's just the way it is.
Of course....if you don't do theses things and NOW, see the scenario above. It's going to be your life if you don't fix this now.
4. Oh boy. So Granny is a larcenous old bird, is she? I can see why it's annoying. Actually, the whole situation is pretty goddamned annoying, isn't it? This isn't ALL about Granny the Shoplifter is it? There's more going on here than that....
Your situation is not unusual. A LOT of women end up caring for either their aging parents, their spouse's aging parents or both. Sure, right now it's not that big a deal to haul your MIL around once a week, but it's not going to stop there, is it? It never does, you know. Eventually, she won't be strong enough to leave the house. That's when you have to do the shopping for her and take it to her place. Then she won't be able to cook for herself, so you'll either end up cooking all her meals or setting up Meals on Wheels for her. And if she can't cook, she won't be able to clean, either, so you'll either end up cleaning her house for her or setting up a cleaning lady or home health care....
I've seen this happen many, many times, and the way you handle this now is going to have a massive impact on a large chunk of the rest of your life. You will end up running around taking care of your MIL until she dies - and her own children (including your husband) will LET YOU DO IT. Forget anything that you might consider your own life - that's over if you let this situation continue to its natural end. You'll end up hating the old dear for screwing up your life and resenting your husband for letting this go on. You need to straighten up this situation NOW.
Have a family meeting. I don't know how many siblings (if any) that your husband has, but you have to get them all in a room together and make a plan for taking care of their mother. Tell them that you are NOT going to be going over there every day, that you don't have time to do all her shopping for her every single week, and outline what she's going to need as time goes on. Tell them (and make sure your MIL knows it, too) that you will NOT be the person to fulfill her every whim and that you are NOT the first person to call if she needs something.
This is where they'll all start screaming that you "don't have a job", so it shouldn't be a big deal. Let them yell, but don't buy that bullshit for one second. You may love her to bits (I'm guessing not), but you do have a life of your own and you will lose that if you don't fight for it. You do not want to end up hating and resenting all of them and her over this. You are not responsible for the care and feeding of an adult until the day she dies. Make sure everyone is clear on that.
Your situation happens all the time. Don't let it take over your life. You deserve a life, too, and if there's more than one person to shoulder the burden, then make damn sure they do it.
Oh, and the grazing? She's jerking your chain, the old bugger. It's pretty clear that she likes making you uncomfortable, and she knows this is a guaranteed way of doing that. So stop letting her. Take her on the weekly shopping jaunt. Make sure you have a list of what she needs before you leave. When you get to the store, fill the list. If she toddles off to snack for free, turn your back and let her go. All you need to do is fill that cart and get it and her home safely. In between, she can do whatever she wants. Just because she's elderly doesn't mean she can't be a bit of a jerk, you know.