I neglected to comment on the death of Dear Abby last week, so a belated RIP.
I realize in retrospect how much I read her in my 20s, even as I bitched and bitched about the arrogance (and dangers) of giving profound life advice to someone based on a few lines in a one-sided story in one letter. One of the things I did appreciate was her sense of humor. She was a genuine smartass, and some of her best advice was hidden in a quip:
Our son was married in January. Five months later his wife had a 8 1/2-pound baby girl. They said the baby was premature. Tell me, can a baby this big be that early?
Dear Wondering: The baby was on time, the wedding was late.
I know boys will be boys, but my ‘boy’ is seventy-three and he’s still chasing women. Any suggestions?
Dear Annie: Don’t worry. My dog has been chasing cars for years, but if he ever caught one, he wouldn’t know what to do with it.
I have always wanted to have my family history traced, but I can’t afford to spend a lot of money to do it. Any suggestions?
Sam in Cal
Dear Sam: Yes. Run for public office.
How quaint it all seems today. In case you haven't been following it, the advice business has changed these days. Just check out Dear Prudence over at slate.com. Here's a column from last week:
My brother and I are having a physical relationship . . . I'm now a senior and he's a graduate student. About three months ago we were sitting on my couch watching a sad movie and when it was over we turned to each other, exchanged a look, and started kissing. Now we lie on the bed, clothed, and kiss and talk and hold each other . . . We have not had sex because there's a psychological barrier that neither of us wants to cross.
No Sibling Rivalry
You say you don’t want to cross the ultimate line, but you continue to slow dance to the edge of it. If one day Jack’s resolve breaks, you, Jill, are likely to come tumbling after. You profess you two want normal lives, but if you violate this taboo you may never get there . . .
Eeeeu, and whew! But just in case you think Prudence is an old fuddy-duddy for not giving these lovable kids the green light, she reminds them that each case is different:
I know I more or less gave a pass recently to a pair of middle-aged incestuous gay twins, but they had long ago made a physical and emotional commitment to each other, and were asking me about whether they should let their family know. I think even those two men would advise you two to stop the rubbing and get yourselves disentangled emotionally.
Bless her heart, she gave them a pass. All of a sudden, I miss you, Dear Abby.