World’s Greatest Deadbeat Dad

Dear Carolyn: Seventeen years ago I divorced the mother of my four children. After a heated divorce lasting several months, we agreed on things and split up legally. Throughout the proceedings my wife used my children as weapons against me, and I spent the next several years listening to insult after insult from my children, driven from their mother. Under no circumstances will I paint the picture that I was the perfect angel, but I never expected or deserved what I got from them.

My work had me out of state for the past seven years. During that time, I had little to no contact with my children. I came back home in December of 2010 and quickly tried to rebuild my relationship with my children thinking that now, as adults, they would be able to see that my love for them never died. I lent them money, I bent over backward to spend time with them, nothing.



Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997 as a weekly feature for The Washington Post, accompanied by the work of “relationship cartoonist” Nick Galifianakis. She is the author of “Tell Me About It” (Miramax, 2001), and the host a live online discussion on Fridays at noon.


(Nick Galifianakis/For The Washington Post)

This past weekend I visited my 28-year-old’s Facebook page to discover she has now declared her stepdad as “Navy Dad for life.” She bought him the T-shirt, took the picture and posted it.

Needless to say I was devastated. My plans to visit her were canceled as a result. She sent me text messages telling me I had no reason to be upset and that I would never hear an apology from her. The next day, my ex sends me a text telling me that SHE in fact bought the T-shirt for her husband and to lighten up on our daughter.

First of all, what business does my ex have buying that T-shirt? Second, how do they justify hurting me like this without taking any responsibility for their actions?

My daughter deploys next month and I don’t want her to leave under these conditions, but I will NOT stand for the disrespect from her. All four of my children are not speaking to me over this (all driven by the mother). — F.


You’ve been in parental purgatory for 17 years, and you’re planting your flag on a lousy T-shirt.

And now that I’ve said that, are you going to blame me, too, for your tattered bond with your kids?

Dear Dr. Brothers: I did something to my mother, and I am not sure whether an apology will really help. I knew she didn’t want me to borrow her car because I haven’t had much experience driving since I got my license. But she knew how much I wanted to go visit a certain friend, so she let me. Then I had a minor accident, and I know she was very upset, though she tried not to show it. I paid for the damages, but I somehow don’t think that is enough. Do you? — F.F.

Mine Mine Mine

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to figure out that Yahoo Answers! is full of people looking for advice on all sorts of subjects. I present this letter in all it’s un-edited glory.


My mom is renting my sister room cause she moving out and she knows I really want it and she said she going to rent it out to people she doesn’t know if she has to. I think it kinda ****** up that she is doing that.the big problem is that I don’t want a stranger living in my house when my room will be 5 feet away from it . And my mom said it will be a girl it doesn’t matter we can be robed or molested and i have been molested and I dont want it to happen again and it doesn’t matter if it a girl bad things can still happen am I wrong I talked to my mom and if I can’t confence her I’m just going to make sure every person that moves in I will make them move out am I wrong for being mad? Help me please !.!

Shut the fuck up, kid. You throw around the word “my” a lot.  It’s not your anything.  Until you pay the bills and stop being a deadbeat, you get no say.  Nut up. Times are tough. You’re bitching about not getting your choice of room and living with strangers when right now, there are hundreds of starving desperate illegal immigrants in container ships SHITTING IN BUCKETS who would slit your fucking throat open to just deal with your pathetic little problems.

You know who else probably doesn’t want a stranger in your house? Your mom. She probably has to so she can keep the roof over your ungrateful head.  She obviously is sparing her little prince the stress of her financial problems, but 23% of people are underwater on their mortgages, and it looks like your mom is one of them.  So go ahead and try and “make sure every person that moves in moves out,” because you’ll be right behind them. You know what else isn’t fun?  Foster care. Thats where you’ll end up if you drive away your family’s only means of support and you lose the house.

You want help.  Here it is.  Stop making things harder for your poor mother than they already are and get a fucking job. You might actually learn something, since the fry cook next to you probably has a PhD and only took the shitty job because it was all that is available.

Oh, and stop telling people you were molested so casually.  It makes people not believe you.  I sure don’t.  You’ve already said you’re a manipulator who will do what it takes to get rid of people you don’t like. You know who gets molested?  Kids that keep their mouths shut.  Not whiny little crybabies that go bitching to anyone that will listen when they don’t get their way.


One Line Wednesdays: Binge and Purge

June 15, 2011 : Savage Love | The A.V. Club

I’ve been married to my amazing husband for 11 years. I’m straight and love being with two men at once, and he’s bi, so that makes for crazy-hot-fun times. We have all the kids we want, so he’s had a vasectomy. I’m still fertile, but don’t want to end up pregnant by one of our thirds, so we’re taking every conceivable precaution. (See what I did there?) My question is this—if we’re performing oral on our third and he comes in my husband’s mouth and then my husband goes down on me, could I get pregnant via oral transfer?

Baby Shop Is Closed

Look, I’m as open minded as the next person, but while reading your question, I threw up in my mouth a little.

Passive Aggressive Grandmother

Dear Abby : Our daughter is divorced with two children. She has been dating a man who has three

children. Recently, they decided to move in together. All the children are first grade or younger.

oh, you shouldn't have

What would be the proper way to handle birthdays?

If my daughter and her boyfriend were married, or even engaged, I wouldn’t have a problem sending gifts to his children. But since my husband and I hardly know this man (we live in another state and have met him only once or twice), we’re not sure how to handle this. Should we just continue to send birthday gifts to our daughter’s kids and nothing but cards to his? Or would that look bad? What’s the proper thing? — FAIR-MINDED IN WEST VIRGINIA

Abby ‘s response as always offers good solid advice.

DEAR FAIR-MINDED: Your daughter and grandchildren have formed a household with her boyfriend and his kids. If you’re compassionate people, you will treat all of the children equally for as long as the

relationship lasts. If they decide to marry, which is a possibility, you will wind up being grandparents to all of them. If they eventually separate, you will have done the right thing and lent some stability and happiness to those children’s lives.

You almost had me fooled, Fair-Minded, but I see exactly what you are doing.  Letters like this are common, and usually it has to do with the parents not liking the new boyfriend or being downright cheap bastards. I’ve taken the liberty to rewrite your letter so your actual question is clear.

My daughter is living in sin with her new boyfriend.  I really want to see a ring on my daughter’s finger more than she does and it is driving me batty.  I think if they had one little extra push, they would do the right

thing and make their union official.  I don’t like confrontation.  Would it be ok for me to subtly exclude his children from our family until I get the wedding I so desperately want? – Grandma Knows Best

The answer is still no. Nice try though.


Snopes is Your Friend


DEAR MISS MANNERS: At least several times a month, I receive “warnings” from well-intentioned friends. These are usually messages that have been forwarded many, many times, containing alerts about computer viruses, credit card scams, health issues, dying children yearning for business cards and the like.

Trouble is, that when I check the accuracy of these well-meaning messages, the vast majority turn out to be false alarms, many of which have been circulating for years.

Of course I always ignore the “please forward this to all your friends,” but what do I do vis-a-vis the sender? It seems rude to return a message telling them they’ve alarmed folks unnecessarily, but my not doing so simply encourages them to continue the practice of sending on unverified information.

Miss Manners follows up with some good advice

GENTLE READER: The phrase you need, if you wish to alert your friends to their mistakes, is “You will be relieved to hear that…”

Miss Manners’ idea here is to show sympathy for their concern, thus enabling you to explain how you found out, thus possibly encouraging them to check themselves before sending out the alarm.

So, we have a reader with a relatable problem, a nice tidy answer.  All should be good.

But I have to drive home a point.  While you can ignore these warnings all you like.  ALWAYS CHECK THEM OUT before you respond.

A few weeks ago, the following warning showed up in my email from a friend of my mom.

Yesterday I received a strange phone call. The man politely explained that he was a technician for Windows and that they had received complaints lately that Windows was causing a problem with their computers and he was calling to repair the problem. He asked me to sit at my computer and he would tell me what to do to fix the problem. Anyone who knows me will know that I question every little thing that involves even a whiff of a hoax, so I questioned the polite man on the other end of the phone. Why was he calling me? Why hadn’t the Windows company made it known that a problem existed with their program? Were they calling every person with Windows on their computer (which would have been in the millions, since every computer sold has a Windows program in it)? Why didn’t I receive notice that a Windows rep would be calling me? In the end he was a little jangled by my questions, but kept quietly insisting that I just sit at my computer, turn it on and follow his instructions. I told him I don’t do anything like this over the phone and would check with my provider if his claim was valid. He said my provider had nothing to do since it was a Windows problem. In the end he (again) politely thanked me and hung up. Of course, I went to my computer and entered Windows scam. There it was!

It’s a scam that has been going on since 2008. A “windows tech” (exactly what the man had claimed to be) calls to help cleanse your system of the problem caused by windows. He will ask you to look for an ev e nt war ning. You will find something, since there are many harmless such things on computers. He will instruct you how to get rid of these. The “technician” will instruct you to use a legitimate logmein123.comservice. This allows the hacker (because thats what the “technician”) is to gain remote access to systems that infect your computer with malware and takes as much personal information as they want off your computer, even before you hang up! That includes all banking information, credit cards, SS number and everything else about you. They will sometimes tell you your computer is about to crash so you will be frightened enough to cooperate. Their intent is to gather information about you and to leave behind malware. another thing they tell you is that they gained you name from your ISP. None of what they say is true, but they sound convincing.

Microsoft Does Not Contact Anyone without what is called a support ticket, and thy do not monitor the millions of computers in the world looking for signs of problems or infections. A phone call like this is a very big and dangerous hoax. When I told the man I was not going to do this until I checked with my provider and other sources, he thanked me for listening and said he was sorry I did not choose to use his help. All the time he was soft spoken and polite and sounded like he might be legitimate. These peopl are Not! Just hang up. After I hung up I thought of several things I hadn’t asked for, like how did he get my number and Name (he even knew my Name!!). Tomorrow I will tell the Town Watch leader about this, and maybe call the computer expert our township uses to monitor computer fraud, to tell him about his hoax. so, keep a watch. If some one wants information from you over the phone (surveys, credit card companies and such) tell them you will check thier reque st first and You will call Them back. Don’t fall for any phone scam, even requests for donations for police and firemen!

If you want to know more, just enter Windows scam and Goggle it up. There are explanations and warnings all over the internet.

I see these things all the time, and it has all the hallmarks of a hoax.  Bad English, confusing Windows (a program) with Microsoft (a company), surprise and alarm, and somehow the writer out-smarts the scammer and wins in the end. Pretty standard, and I wrote back to my friend saying as much.  That would seem to end things,  except for one thing.
Every word was absolutely true.  It actually happened. Not only did he have that happen to him, he didn’t just forward the e-mail, he actually wrote the whole damn thing.  Every word.  I was floored and my friend was pissed. Understandable, since I basically called him gullible and told him to check his facts without checking my own.
I learned my lesson, and hopefully you will too.  Even professional advice givers need to follow their own advice. No matter how stupid and far fetched a story it seems, depending on your friends, it could actually be true. Make sure you check your facts before you you hit send.

Off the Marky Mark

Marky Mark
Talent on Display

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with a great guy, “Jonah,” for four months. We get along well and enjoy a lot of the same things. At times he can be jealous when other men notice me, but we have never had arguments about it. Only one thing about me really bothers him — it’s my infatuation with actor Mark Wahlberg.

Jonah is so upset about it he refuses to see any of Mark’s films with me and gets annoyed when I mention him. It irks me because I know being with Mark isn’t a realistic option, but Jonah acts like it is. What can I say to make him see that he (Jonah) is the only one I want to be with and Mark is just a fantasy? — STAR-CROSSED LOVER

Abby, apparently suffering from the same crush, responded with

DEAR STAR-CROSSED: You may have said too much already. Stop bringing up Mark Wahlberg and see his films in the company of your girlfriends. While Jonah may be a “great guy,” he appears to be somewhat insecure, which is why he becomes jealous when another man notices you. And insecure men can become irrational and controlling, so monitor his behavior and do not make any commitments until you both have matured.

You call yourself an advice expert and actually tell someone to go see a Mark Wahlberg film anyway?

Your boyfriend doesn’t have a problem with your fidelity.  It’s your judgement he’s got issues with.  You are swooning over an actor with the range of a baked potato. Sure, he has nice abs, but don’t you find his third nipple a little disturbing?

It is making your boyfriend insecure, because if you can overlook huge obvious flaws in Marky Mark, what are you overlooking in him? Guys need reassurance just as much as women, but when you show just obvious lack of judgement, it makes him have second thoughts about him, and you.

Everyone is entitled to a secret guilty pleasure.  Mine happens to be America’s Funniest Home Videos.  You have chosen to waste yours on the star of Planet of the Apes, I won’t stop you.  Just please, for all of our sakes, keep it to yourself.


Guest Commentator: Asked and Answered

Ask Carolyn tackles a 20 year old issue

CAROLYN: I am writing to ask if you think men and women can ever be just friends. Most of my guy friends started out liking me as more than a friend, settled for friendship but then let the friendship fade away as they started dating people. My boyfriend has no problem with my having guy friends, but my guy friends drop me once they find a girl to date.

Last year, I introduced my best guy friend to a good female friend. They hit it off and started dating. She soon stopped speaking to me, and he became very closed-off and awkward around me. When I asked him why everything was so weird, he would only tell me that she was uncomfortable with our spending so much time together. I live 10 minutes from him; she lives six hours away.

Is it, in fact, possible for a man and a woman to spend time together without causing jealousy from one or both significant others?

– I really just want to be friends

This question is so old and tired, I can just copy and paste verbatim a clip from a 22 year old movie (until it gets a  DMCA notice).



I just hope someone asks about faking orgasms soon.  That scene is much better, but sadly not relevent to the question.


Oh what the hell… you guys deserve it.


Customers respond

Heloise passes on some “tips” from a salesperson.  I have tips of my own.

Dear Heloise: Regarding your question about salespeople, as a salesperson, I have some suggestions:

  • When I greet you, please have the courtesy to acknowledge me.
  • Keep food and drinks out of the store. Merchandise, carpeting, etc., can get ruined.
  • Escalators are machinery, not a toy. People stand by as kids go up and down. Kids can get hurt!
  • Carry your charge card with you. We waste a lot of time looking up accounts.
  • Carry ID in case you are asked for it. I don’t know who you are.
  • When buying gifts, know the person’s size. Don’t come in and try to guess.
  • All tags should be left on merchandise until you are sure you are keeping the item.
  • Please don’t use your cellphone when with a salesperson. Rude, rude, rude.
  • If someone helps you, make sure to give that person credit for the sale.
  • Don’t give me a $50 or $100 bill for a small purchase.

Thank you for letting me vent. I feel better. — A Frustrated Salesperson in Ohio

Agreed, as long as you do the following

  • If you don’t want our phone calls interrupting you, return the fucking favor and don’t answer yours.  We took the time to come in.
  • Asking if we need help once is courteous. Asking five times is harassment.
  • Admit you just sold me a piece of junk, and I’ll consider your extended warranty
  • Learn how to use your register.  It shouldn’t take three of you to void out the item you accidentally entered in twice.
  • If you lock items in a cabinet, do not play hide and seek when we need something from there… stay nearby.
  • Make sure you de-activate all alarm tags on things we buy.  Being stared at with suspicion isn’t fun when the alarm goes off as we leave.
  • If a shopping cart has less than 4 functioning wheels, get rid of it.
  • If your credit card terminal is down, put a sign on the front door, not at the register after I spent 40 minutes gathering things I apparently cannot buy.
  • Small, Medium, and Large are sizes. Venti, Tall, and Grande are not.

Thank you for letting me respond.  Your Frustrated Customer

The Case of the Missing Loot


Dear Amy:I’m torn. I was recently at my best friend’s birthday party. I’ve known him since childhood.

I usually never carry cash, but I had some in my purse on this particular evening.

I was mostly hanging out with his girlfriend and left my purse, closed and tucked away, in the living room.

There were only four other people at the party besides my friend, his girlfriend and me.

The next morning I noticed that $80 was missing from my purse.

I was really blown away by this. I confronted my friend about it to see if he knew who would have taken it, and he completely blew me off.

He told me that no one at his house would do that, but I know I didn’t lose or spend it because it was in my purse when I arrived.

I feel completely betrayed because I think he should replace it, and he says it’s not his problem. What should I do?

I love our friendship, but if he’s not willing to help protect people’s personal property when they’re in his house how can I really trust being in his house unless I have my purse tightly in my grip?— Hurt Friend

Amy actually buys into this nonsense:

Dear Hurt:I agree with you that this creates a problem in your friendship but disagree that your friend should replace your stolen money — unless, of course, he took it, which you don’t seem to believe he did.

Approach your friend again, and tell him that his reaction concerns you. Ask him if he has any ideas of who might have taken it, and ask for his help and advice.

For the sake of your longtime friendship, you should give him an opportunity to step up and be a compassionate friend to you now.

And yes, I agree that in the future you should watch your valuables while at his house.

This issue requires some group intervention. I’d like to come over to your house some evening and discuss this in person with you and everyone who was at the party.  I am sure that I’ll find $5000 missing from my wallet that I knew I had when I arrived, but discover is missing the next day.  Even though you never saw it, I’m sure since we were all at your house, you would agree that is your responsibility to re-imburse me for my lost money (which you never saw by the way – just trust me).

Do you see how bat-shit crazy that sounds?  Now imagine how your friend feels. I don’t know where you grew up, but here’s a lesson that us city folk learn when we are children: Always watch your shit. If you don’t, it’s your own fucking fault. Just because you invite people over to your house, doesn’t mean that you are responsible for everything they may do. If you want to hang on to your valuable stuff, use the sense that God gave a squirrel and don’t let it out of your sight or hide it where no one will find it.

"Ridiculous --- NEXT!"

The last thing I would do is bring it up again. Your friend didn’t care much the first time.  Bitching about it again won’t help either. It will sound accusatory. And let’s be honest, you obviously think he had something to do with it and was using his girlfriend to distract you. You wouldn’t think he had a responsibility to replace it if you didn’t.

Had you discovered it before you left, or had some hard evidence, I would say press the issue, but you don’t.  Any number of things could have happened in the time you left his house until the next morning.  Accusing others of theft without any real proof only deflects any responsibility from your own actions.