Monday, April 22, 2013

What Dear Abby should have said

I don't often disagree with Dear Abby, but I think she missed a golden opportunity on this one.

This was in her April 20, 2013 column:

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating my boyfriend, "Adam," for three years. Although we are young, we are serious about our relationship. Not too long after we started dating, Adam began staying over at my house on most weekends. I live with my mom, who is 47.

For the past year when Adam comes to visit, my mom has been coming out of her bedroom in her bra and panties, for the most part exposed. She also makes flirtatious comments to Adam that I feel are completely inappropriate.

I have tried talking to her about it, letting her know how uncomfortable Adam and I and some of my friends are about it. I hoped she would understand, but she continues with the flirting and underdressing. What can I do about this? I'm desperate to try anything. -- DESPERATE IN MAINE

This was Dear Abby's response. She put the blame, rather unfairly, on the girl's mother.

DEAR DESPERATE: You may be desperate, but not as desperate as it appears your mother is for attention. Because talking to her hasn't helped, accept that she is not going to change her behavior. Have Adam stay over less often. When you meet with your friends, do it at someone else's house. And if you can afford to move elsewhere, you should consider it.

Here's what Dear Zyzmog would have written:

DEAR DESPERATE: Let's back up this train, all the way to the station. You say that your boyfriend comes over for sleepovers on the weekend. When you say you are "serious in your relationship," I assume that means he's not sleeping on the couch, and you two aren't keeping your foot jammies on all night long.

Then you say that you feel uncomfortable about your mother running around in her underwear while Adam is there, and that she makes "inappropriate" and flirtatious comments. 

Don't you see the (logical or moral) inconsistency here?

If you don't feel that it's "inappropriate" for your boyfriend to shack up with you on the weekends, in your mother's house, then you have no right to feel that it's "inappropriate" for your mother to run around in her own house in her skivvies. At least she's wearing skivvies. You two aren't.

You say that you are young, but your mother is 47. That makes you about 20, I would guess. Sweetie, where I come from, 20 isn't young; it's about two years past voting age and deep into "old enough to know better." And if you're old enough to sleep with Adam, then you're old enough to live on your own. 

Are you really desperate enough to try anything? Then try this.

Move out of your mother's house, so she can run around in her underwear all she wants. Get a place of your own, so she doesn't have to carry your freeloading weight anymore, and so your boyfriend won't see her when he comes over. You're a grown-up. Try acting like one.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why would you want to be a teacher in today's system?

How many more teachers' careers will be ruined before the states realize that standardized testing, as it is currently administered, is ineffective and counterproductive? And when the states finally discontinue standardized testing, who is going to apologize to those teachers and make amends for ruining their careers and taking away their dignity?

Standardized testing today has nothing to do with education. It is nothing but a well-intentioned but tragically misguided fad. It is a myth that the educational establishment has bought into - everyone except teachers, that is. It has turned our schools into factories, our administrators into frightened cowards, unwilling and unable to act for themselves, and our teachers into disposable assets, to be used up and then thrown away when they break or wear out.

Why doesn't anybody listen to the teachers? Why, instead, do they "discipline" the teachers? Why would anybody want to be a professional teacher in today's hostile environment?

Monday, April 1, 2013

All I wanted was some breakfast

This morning I went downstairs to get some breakfast.

I saw the high chair sitting in the dining room, and thought, "I should put that away."

I saw some crumbs and stuff in the high chair tray, and thought, "I'll take this into the kitchen and clean it off."

Someone had mounted the tray crooked on the high chair last night. The release mechanism wouldn't engage. I thought, "It's gonna take a screwdriver to pry this loose. But no, I don't wanna distract myself." (Too late!)

So instead I went into the kitchen to get a wet, soapy dishcloth to wipe the tray. The sink was full of dirty dishes from last night's family feast. I thought, "I should put these in the dishwasher first."

The dishwasher was full of clean dishes. I thought, "I should put these away first."

When the dishwasher was half-empty, my sweet wife called out from upstairs, "Now I know why the house smells like ham. I left the crockpot full of ham juice after last night's feast." I thought, "I should get rid of that ham juice for her." I cleared out the kitchen sink, just enough to pour the ham juice down the drain.

That the left the crockpot insert greasy and gooey. I set it in the sink and filled it with hot, soapy water, intending to scrub it out as soon as I took care of the other dirty dishes.

The aluminum foil that had covered the crockpot was covered with ham juice and couldn't be recycled, so I put it in the trash. I noticed that the trash smelled too, and it was pretty full. So I took it out to the garbage can.

Back in the house, I put a new liner in the kitchen trash can. I finished emptying the dishwasher. I refilled the dishwasher with dirty dishes. For good measure, I put the hammy crockpot insert in the dishwasher. I made a mental note to start the dishwasher after breakfast.

Breakfast! I'd forgotten all about breakfast.

But the sink was still dirty, so I scrubbed it out first. Then I got a wet, soapy dishcloth and wiped down the high chair tray. I went out to the garage, got a screwdriver, jimmied the tray loose, and put it on straight. I made a mental note to put the screwdriver away when I leave for work.

I put the high chair in the basement. When I got back upstairs, I looked around at my neat, orderly dining room and kitchen. My stomach growled. I thought, "This is a funny story. I should write it down before I forget it."

So I pulled out my computer and turned it on. Now I'm sitting at the computer, entering this story in my blog.  I still haven't gotten my breakfast. And I'm worried about what will happen when I try to put the screwdriver away.

Note: I know you read these funny stories online or in magazines, and you wonder what kind of creative mind could make up such a story. Well, it's not made up. This is a true story. It happened to me only minutes ago.