After a calm fall, Abby has snapped once again, and has been getting a little abrupt and snippy the last couple of days. Snark must be applied with a delicate hand, I've learned....I rarely feel attacked by Carolyn, only rarely by Amy, and more and more often by Abby.
This may also have to do with the way I perceive the columnists: Carolyn as a friend, Amy as my mom, and Abby as in her own special world. Actually, that probably has a great deal to do with it, and could be a whole separate post. So for now I'll just stick with Abby's one-liners of the week.
A grandma wrote in, concerned that her grandson was becoming an "exhibitionist." He works out a lot, and likes to show it off, always finding a reason to remove his shirt at family affairs and walk around with low-slung pants and shorts "almost showing places we do not wish to see." He does this it his own home, and at his grandmother's at holidays, etc. and she wants to know if this is normal and acceptable and, more immediately, how to get him to just tone it down.
Abby was reasonable enough, saying she could ask him to keep his shirt on at her house, but not at his own. But here's the real kicker: while you would prefer that your grandson polish other aspects of his persona, perhaps it's time to consider that this may be the most distinct achievement he's capable of. It isn't the end of the world. It has led to more than one career in show business -- and even politics.
Yikes! Whether your not your pecs are your "most distinct achievement," there is still value in cultivating a sense of modesty and social skill. Professional tuba players and trapeze artists don't whip out their moves in the middle of dinner; geniuses and dramatists who do without a disciplined sense of what's socially acceptable and appropriate are annoying and often not liked. I feel like Abby wrote this kid off--and let him off the hook--a little too quickly, and with unnecessary harshness.
Neeext! A man complains that his brother, a rookie policeman at 38, also inappropriately demonstrates his distinctive skill set--subduing someone resisting arrest. He has apparently used his skillz both on the brother and on the brothers' small children--great! Bullying the defenseless, AND teaching them to fear the police!
Abby said to tell him if it occurs again, they'll file a report with the police chief. And then do it, because " he's sadistic and not very bright" and "It is officers like your brother who give law enforcement a bad name."
I agree with her on this one. There's not much wiggle room and there's no point in mincing words. Frankly I'm surprised someone prone to physically dominating children (their relatives no less) passed the psychological evaluations necessary to get on a police force.
A woman wrote in complaining that her mother had a strange habit of going out of her way to keep in touch with all her exes--starting when she was a teenager and continuing through to the present day. She was pretty much "over it" (well, kind of) until the mother (now a grandmother) did the same thing to her adult granddaughter--going out of her way to maintain relations with a guy after his three-year relationship with the granddaughter ended. Writer wants to know if they should just not introduce anyone to grandma until a wedding. I'm printing all of Abby's answer because it fits in the short and sweet category, but is perplexingly useless. She gives commentary, but no advice.
DEAR SICK OF THE EX-FACTOR: You're within your rights to do that. However, I find it odd that not only does your mother have such a hard time letting go of these men, but also that all of them seem to have a hard time letting go of her. I could see this happening once -- but that it's happening with all of them seems peculiar.
Peculiar indeed. But other than slightly turning the tables and casting suspicion on the men as well, what good is this answer?
And just one more doozy: an older gentleman jogs regularly in a park or other public area, and is distressed that his nods, smiles, and greetings go generally unreturned by other joggers. His logic led him to believe that women (especially young attractive ones) were right to ignore him, because they naturally thought he might be a rapist/killer, but everyone else was rude not to respond. He found this logic defied by the fact that in fact, the "prettiest" women DO greet him in return, and everyone else ignores him.
DEAR FRIENDLY: Maybe the less "pretty" ones are so winded they can't respond. So keep jogging and don't let it get you down.