17 June 2010

SHADDAP! Wreak Havoc, Reap The Whirlwind Edition

(Photograph copyright 2010, all rights reserved.)

We're back! And summer is upon us. The City of Wind has had almost continual rain for the last week or so, and now that the sun is out, gardens are growing like gangbusters. My little front bed is looking downright jungle-like and some of the plants are starting to seem...predatory. The plants on the back deck are also growing like crazy. Between the mandevilla vines, the morning glories and the sweet peas (all screaming pink this year), I may have to use a machete to get into the garage soon.

I am loving it.

But there are letters. THEME letters, no less, because Father's Day is upon us. Read the originals at Dear Prudence .

1. Ok. This story is tugging at my heartstrings. Really it is. I'm sobbing. You can't see it, but there's mascara pouring down my face (note to self: buy Maybelline next time) at the mere thought of the angst you're putting yourself through for no good reason - er - going through in your tough, tough life. (Yeah. That's it. Tough life.)

To recap. You married your high school sweetheart. (I don't generally think this is a smart idea, but who am I to judge?) You had an affair. (See? This is why you don't marry the guy from high school. Boring. Just sayin'.) You got knocked up. Your husband agreed to raise your child as his own, which makes him a pretty good guy in my books. You got very, very lucky there, you idiot.

So. Now that your son is three, you're killing yourself in terror that he might find out that Dad is not the sperm donor?


Ok. We know you're an idiot. First for marrying the first guy that asked, second for having an affair. That being the case, I have to ask...How do you KNOW that the fling you had resulted in your son? Did you have a DNA test? No? Were you having sex with your husband at the time? The letter is maddeningly unclear. Because if you WERE with your husband and your fling at the same time, you KNOW either one could be the sperm supplier right? Right?

Do we have to have the "birds and the bees" talk here? Have you figured it out yet? I know there's no guarantee you have. It can take three or even four kids for some women to figure that out. Oy. It's like talking to a broken small appliance.

Right. This isn't enough of a complication for you, is it? No, you have to keep adding to the drama. You say "I worry constantly about my son growing older and learning about his paternity in some way."

Really? See, here's the thing. I know that if you felt free to write to the Internet lady about this, you've already told every single family member, friend, postal worker, grocery store clerk and all the guys on the road crew that time you were stuck in traffic. There probably isn't a hope in hell that the poor kid WON'T find out, thanks to your blather. No doubt you've solicited the opinion of so many people that one of them is GUARANTEED to tattle on you.

This isn't about your son. This isn't about your husband, who is raising the child that is, in all the ways that count HIS SON. No, this is about an idiot Bibby-Sue who is so desperate for attention and drama that you not only had an affair in the first place, you are now PLANNING to destroy your son's image of you AND the man that chose to raise him.

You can't content yourself with a happy marriage and a beautiful son, can you? Tell you what. Say nothing. Hope that when (not if) your son finds out what an idiot you are, he's already figured that out for himself. Rehearse playing the pathetic victim. By then you'll be an expert.

2. Well, well, well. The one and only Father's Day letter from an actual father! Congratulations! You win...some sort of prize. How about that granola bar that's been riding around in the glove box of my car for the last week or so?

You coach your son's baseball team, so you go to his games. You DON'T coach your daughter's softball team and so you don't go to HER games because....you don't feel like making the effort on a non-coaching night and you just don't understand why your wife thinks you should.


I was with the posters on The Fray that were saying that kids are overprogrammed anyway and that parents shouldn't have to attend their every burp and fart for their entire childhoods. I get that. I remember there were times when one neighborhood parent would chauffeur a bunch of kids to a game on a week night and then haul them all home afterwards. Parents get busy sometimes.

What I DON'T get is why you only feel the need to go to your son's games. What is the matter with you? Are you really too stupid to see what you're doing? Maybe you don't think girls should play sports? Maybe you really DO like your son better....

A DOUBLE SHADDAP for you, moron.

Your wife is right. You ARE teaching your daughter that she doesn't matter to you. You ARE telling her that her brother is more worthy of your attention than she is. You claim that you just don't want to be at the ball park every night of the week, but what you're really saying is that the park is only interesting to you is when your SON is there.

I really don't care what you're telling yourself. You might even think you're telling the truth. It's still an utter and unmitigated bullshit excuse for ignoring your daughter's accomplishments, though. Nobody is telling you that you have to go to every single event both of your kids have for the rest of your natural life. That would be nuts. Your kids can handle a lot of things without you and they should. They need to learn to be independent at one point.

But this is nonsense, right here. If you keep it up, keep ignoring your daughter in favor of your son, you're going to create a can of worms that will live on for both of them for the rest of their lives. Your daughter will learn that you can't be trusted. She will also resent her brother. She may do some pretty stupid things to get your attention, which I'm predicting you'll respond to by letting her mother handle it.

Eventually, though, she'll give up. She won't hassle you any more. She won't go to you for...anything. Why should she? It's not like you've ever shown that you give a damn about her. Nope. You'll have your peace and quiet one day, and no one will nag you any more. You won't ever have to deal with your boring daughter again, ever.

Prudie advised you to volunteer to coach your daughter's team next year. That would be the smart thing to do, as well as going to some of her games this year. But you won't do that, so I won't go there.

How do you like them apples, Daddy-O?

3. Here we go again. Hi, Marsha the Martyr! How's it goin' there? Yup. I see you STILL don't have a life! That's what you were aiming for though, right?


Oh boy. You have three teenagers, and you divorced their father when they were young. You say, "I...decided to sacrifice my personal life to make up for the loss of their father."

Ok. You chose martyrdom over a life of your own. I get that. It's about three generations too late to classify as "normal" in any way, but we can start there. How have your children "lost their father", though? I know he's not dead. You say yourself that they've been in constant contact with him throughout their lives.

No, visitation is not always fun. It doesn't sound like your ex exactly covered himself with glory as a parent, either. Planting three kids in front of a television all weekend is not what I'd consider good parenting and most people would agree with that. The fact that they don't want to visit him any more makes perfect sense. Why go over there indeed?

Ah, but you "cherish the time (you) have alone when they're with him." Again, makes perfect sense. Being a single parent is no walk in the park. You DO need some alone time once in a while.

You know what I'm hearing here? I'm not hearing that the idiot you were smart enough to divorce hasn't been the best parent in the world. What I'm hearing is I gave up my life. I need some private time. And the corker ( I LOVE this one), "Now I'm worried that in my old age, when they're stressed out, they'll put me away."

Really? Seriously? Instead of encouraging them to talk to their father and rebuild that relationship, instead of offering to go with them and help them open the conversation, instead of setting up an appointment with a counselor so that everyone can talk openly, all you care about is your "naked with ice cream time"!? You selfish jerk! I'd worry too, if I were you.

Get a grip, woman. If you don't take some control of the situation and PUT YOUR CHILDREN FIRST, for once, you won't need to worry about them putting you in a home. They'll leave you to your eternal whining and moaning and not even notice when you have to take yourself to the nursing home.

Here's what you need to do.... Talk to your kids. Get laid. Talk to their father. Get laid. Visitation may have to change - take care of that. Get laid....

See, if you have no life of your own, and I can see you don't, then your kids won't ever learn what a normal life is like. They won't learn what relationships are supposed to look like. They'll either be doormats like you, or lazy assholes like their father. And YOU are the one that chose to let them think that's what life is supposed to be. THAT is the biggest crime of all.

4. Oy. Again with the stupid questions. What is the world coming to when people can't give a simple, one-word answer to a stupid question? If anyone knows, please tell me.

Dear old 70-year-old Dad wants you to write a glowing testimonial that is designed to guarantee him a constant supply of fuckable chicks from the Internet dating site. Even though you say he's treated you and your family badly, even though he has "psychological issues" and even though YOU SAY "...there's a reason he's single" you think you should do it?

Your "reason" is classic, too. You don't want to hurt his feelings!

Hahahahahaha! OOOoooooooh stop it! HEE hee hee hee hee! No really, you're killing me here! HAHAHAhahahahaha! I mean it, I have to pee!


Try "no", dipshit! Unless you WANT to see him with some unsuspecting woman because you just HAD to help that loser?

03 June 2010


(Photograph copyright 2010, all rights reserved.)

Hello, hello! I'm back. I'm even posting the same day the letters came out! Yay! The Great Procrastinator manages to get something done on time. I should get a medal.

I also have news! This blog, as well as One Messy Lady can also be seen on Salon. You can get to them here at Open Salon . I freely admit to shamelessly shilling for The Fly over there because...well because why not? What this means for you is that YOU get to tell me off in two different places from now on. Think of the possibilities. You can agree with me at one location and tell me I'm full of it in the other. I know at least two, maybe even three of you that would LOVE that.

For those reading this on Salon, I also answer real letters from people who write to me randomly. You can do this by sending me an e-mail onemessylady@gmail.com any time. Beware, though. I am not now nor have I ever been a professional counselor. I have no credentials but common sense and a decidedly odd way of looking at the world. Let me know if you want a SHADDAP! or to Ask Aunt Messy. Go to http://askauntmessy.blogspot.com for a sample, if you like.

Now to work. The originals are here as always.

1. Hmm. I'm of two minds on this one, so you get two answers. Ready?

You walked in on a superior who was having a little "private time" at his desk and you're "95 percent sure" that he was indulging in the kind of "private time" that has a happy ending. Ok. Now you're pondering who to tell, or IF to tell.

A. You're wondering if you should run tattling to one of your bosses....


DINGdingdingding! Give the girl a prize!

You're right! You can't go to anyone in your office with this because the "culprit" (even though you're the boor that went into HIS office without knocking) will accuse you of lying and you will LOSE that one. As far as everyone else there is concerned, you ARE the kid and you are dispensible. In fact, infant lawyers just like you are a dime a dozen. You could be replaced in less than ten minutes, twit! He could arrange to have someone fire your ass for using too much tissue during allergy season and no one would blink.

You're itching to tell though, I can see that. Is it already on your Facebook page? Did you only tell your bestest bestest friends? Have you whispered into the ears of everyone from the janitors to the conveyancing secretary that you saw Mr. X wanking in his office before anyone else was at work? If you have, do you really think that every single person you blabbed to is going to keep the secret?


No, really. Shut up. It never happened. Duh.

Oh, I forgot. The next time you go to work very early, make noise. Lots of noise. Drop something. I'm sure you can think of something.

B. Now here I defer to Schuyler The Cat, who picked up on this part of your letter: "Unfortunately, he's not even the person who makes the pay decisions, so it's not as though I can leverage this in any lucrative way."

Here's another instance of the dumbness. Are you serious? You can't think of any way to leverage this? After all that schooling, did you learn nothing?


Yeesh. You are thinking too small, girl. A salary increase is the best you could do? Fercryinoutloud, do I have to walk you through it? Sigh.

Right. Now pay attention.

You are not going to work in that firm forever. One day, you might need someone to give you a glowing recommendation, right? If by some miracle no one finds out what a silly ass you are and you actually come up for partnership one day, do you even know that these things are decided by a GROUP of partners - just like Wankboy. Someone is going to have to nominate you. Someone is going to have to advocate for your acceptance....

Did you get any of that? No? Then I give up. If you actually need to write to the Internet lady to make this decision, you've got the worst case of cranial-rectal inversion I've seen in months.

2. You had a nasty child support battle with your ex, who has now told your 15-year-old son all sorts of nasty things about you, most of which are fiction. So far, that sounds pretty...pathetic actually, not to mention ordinary. These things happen often.

This is not your dilemma. Your dilemma is that you would never have known about this if you hadn't snooped in your son's computer. Now you feel all squicky and guilty and you can't decide whether to tell the kid how you got the information....


I thought you were the adult here? Your son - surly as most 15-year-old kids can be - is still your son. Your ex-husband is just the jerk you know he already is, which is why you're divorced, so he doesn't count as an adult... but you can't tell your son that.

I'm going to give you the advice that a LOT of people on the Fray did. Download everything you read on to a zip drive, and keep checking for more details for a full week. Then send it to your attorney and settle the child support thing once and for all. I expect your ex will be quite surprised to know that slander is actionable.

What I don't get is why the hell you can't talk to your son. Are you thick?


Prudie was right. Tell the kid that you snooped. Apologize. Apologize again. Teenagers are experts at self-righteous anger, pouting outrage, and excuse-making. You'll have to break through that before he'll be coherent. Give it a day or so. But no more.

Tell him that you read what his father said and then ASK him if he has any questions about that. Point out that he will never know the truth unless he asks YOU about your life. Also point out that you always wanted HIM. The fact that your relationship with your husband went south is no reflection on your son. Tell him this about a hundred times.

He's still your kid, and he is still a minor. You DO have the right to check up on his Internet usage, and you DO have the right to talk to him about it. Of course, if you spend ONE SECOND whining about your ex and telling his son that he's an asshole.....then you deserve whatever you get.

Don't put your kid in the middle of your divorce.

3. Having a friend die is tragic. Being the passenger in the car she was driving when she died is beyond tragic. It's awful. I can't imagine what that was like. I am so sorry this happened to you.

That's not enough though, is it? A year hasn't even passed and you have decided that you should be "...entitled to go through her possessions..." .


Idiot. I see I have to spell this out for you.

NO. You do NOT have the right to bang on the door of the grieving parents and demand to root through your dead friend's things, taking back all of the gifts you gave her. They're gifts, dippy. They stopped being yours the instant you handed them to her. What about that confuses you?

NO. Telling them that their dead daughter borrowed a book from you and you want it back now is NOT acceptable behavior. I suspect that you're trying to make this the excuse you want for pounding on the door of her grieving parents so that you can dig around in your dead friend's things.


There is no universe where anything you propose to do is acceptable. You were a friend. You are not a parent. You are not a spouse.

Geez, where in blazes did you learn your manners? You gormless twit, you have no business intruding on your friend's parents UNLESS they invite you. Since they haven't done that yet, I'm guessing that you're the last person they want to see right now.

What? You're surprised that they might not want to see you? Or do you want to look in their eyes and see the wish that you were the one that died? They can't help that, you know. It's going to run through their minds. They'll be asking themselves what YOU could have done to stop the accident from happening.

Could you have stopped their daughter from getting behind the wheel if she was drinking? Could you have been the momentary distraction that killed their little girl? Was it your music that was on so loud that their daughter didn't hear the honking horn that would have saved their life?

Leave these people alone. You have mementos enough.

4. Well, aren't you special? Oh wait....none of this is about you. So help me out, why is it that you're offended when people hug your husband and thank him for his military service again?


Now pay attention. You know that your husband lost his leg after he left the military. He knows that, too. Yes, it's also incredibly rude that strangers make the assumption that the events were reversed. I've got all that.

So why are YOU writing this letter? I didn't see anywhere that your husband finds it upsetting. Is he even offended, or do you just not want people manhandling your husband, including little old veterans?

I will grant you that having strangers walk up and talk to you is unutterably rude. On the few occasions this has happened to me, I'm hard pressed to step back without slapping their hands or something. The words "piss off, weirdo" come unbidden to my lips and I have to bite my tongue to keep them from popping out.

So. Tell your husband that this creeps you out. Perfect the blank stare, the "deafness" to the cries of the intrusive, the art of not stopping for them. Own your sidewalk. Don't step aside.

Then just...deal. If your HUSBAND has a problem with this, then HE should write to the Internet lady for advice. You don't have a dog in this fight.