Interesting goings-on in advice world today!

DEAR ABBY: I went for a jog the other morning, and when I returned home I discovered I was locked out of my house because the garage door keypad wasn’t working. I had left without my cellphone or a key, so I tried to contact my wife through our Ring doorbell. My wife told me she’d phone a friend and my mother to see if they could deliver a key.

In the interim, I fidgeted with the garage door keypad and discovered I could remove the battery. I knocked on the door of a neighbor who’d previously popped their head out and asked to use their cellphone and also asked if there was any chance they had a replacement battery, which they did. My neighbor invited me inside to call my wife and wave off a key delivery.

I later stopped and bought a thank-you card, a replacement battery and $20 in Amazon gift cards with the intention of gifting all three to my neighbor. My wife thinks the gift cards were unnecessary and a “weird” thing to give my neighbor.

The neighbor and their partner are in their late 30s or early 40s, seemingly financially well enough off, and I thought a gift card was a universally accepted gift. I thought it would be a nice gesture without being too over-the-top. Was I too generous? Or is it too forward of an offering? — SAVED IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR SAVED: Your offering wasn’t weird, too generous or over-the-top. The gratitude you were expressing was from your heart and a reflection of how desperate you felt at the time. Your wife should have stayed out of it. (c) DEAR ABBY

Wow, I agree. That was incredibly unkind of his wife to say. Even if it was weird to be so generous, it’s unnecessarily critical to say so. It reminds me of my mom and of how critical she is.

Oh, geez. This just in: here’s Annie Lane’s column for today.

Dear Annie: I am asking you to reprint your column with the letter from “Neil,” who lost his wife to cancer and was having a difficult time coping with his grief. I am giving my copy to my brother-in-law, as he lost his wife, my sister, to glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, Nov. 1. Now I would like to have another copy. — Kansas Karol

Dear Kansas Karol: I’m so sorry for your loss. Many were touched by Neil’s letter. Here it is. (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com

The rest of the column is, you guessed it, Neil’s letter. And it didn’t need to be reprinted because of a magical invention known only as the internet. [Facepalm.]

A quick internet search just led me to the original column which came out on February 10, 2017. And it’s right there at her syndicate in the archives. I just googled “Annie Lane Neil” and there it was. The letter writer (assuming the letter writer isn’t a figment of Annie Lane’s overactive imagination, which is a pretty huge assumption) could’ve done the same thing.

So, instead of giving good advice, Annie Lane has mastered yet another way to not have to give good advice: she can run repeated letters requested by imaginary readers. It’s just cringeworthy.

Anyway, yeah, getting back to Dear Abby, the letter writer’s wife was mean to him. There’s no reason at all to be overly and unduly critical of people. That just reminds me too much of my mom. She’s always saying, “Well, don’t you think it was weird that Bob did such-and-such?” Or, “Don’t you think it’s weird that Alice hasn’t figured out her life yet, and at her age?” Or, “Don’t you find it odd that your cousins never keep in touch with you? They must not like you very much.” Yeah, that’s what the letter writer’s wife is reminding me of.

My reaction, if he were my husband, would be, “Oh, that was so thoughtful of you! It’s great that we have such nice neighbors, isn’t it? I bet they loved the Amazon gift card.”

Moving on, we have a letter from Miss Manners’ column that takes the prize for most inventive letter ever written to an advice column. You all have got to see this.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I made the mistake, during COVID, of buying and renovating a home in the town where my parents and sister live. It’s right next to the town where I grew up — which I hated. However, there are some wonderful people in this “next-door” town, where my parents have lived for 25 years.

While the sale of my former house covered most of the renovation expenses, my dad generously paid for the rest, saying that it was part of my inheritance in advance. But I am miserable here in this beautiful house because I feel I have nothing in common, politically or lifestyle-wise, with the people who live here. Many of the residents are my parents’ age or older.

The house itself is on a highway, so the traffic is loud, and it’s also famously haunted, which I didn’t realize when I bought it. There are noises all night, and I can’t sleep.

I’ve tried to make friends here and reconnect with relatives and people I knew during childhood, and although there have been some great moments, there have also been some shockingly rude and downright frightening ones.

For instance, one night I went out with my parents’ friends’ daughter, and she arranged for her boyfriend to meet us there. Two hours into the evening, they asked me to sleep with them. When I said no, she refused to talk to me as if I was the offensive party!

I have tried to reconnect with several other people, only to be met with terrorist propaganda. In short, I am in rural hell — single and surrounded by conspiracy theorists.

How do I tell my parents and my sister, who were so excited to have me here, that this is breaking my heart and I want my old life back? And how do I pay my father back?

GENTLE READER: Blame it on the ghosts. If the house is a terror to live in (in many ways, it seems), your conspiracy-loving friends will no doubt understand your desire to move.

That your fear must take you miles outside the town and back into the city will, Miss Manners suggests you emphasize, confirm just how deep this conspiracy runs. Paying your father back, on the other hand, will be dependent on how fast the current house sells. Which may well also be up to the ghosts. (c) MISS MANNERS

Wow. Seriously, the letter writer deserves a prize. Miss Manners’ column has never been so interesting! And her advice was brilliant! 😀 Of course he should blame the ghosts!

2 thoughts on “Interesting goings-on in advice world today!

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