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August 2006

Dear Madrone,

What can you do when faced with a no class individual, who has no idea of what's right and when this is pointed out, takes offense when he should take a lesson?

Let me explain. I was at dinner, a nice restaurant, cloth napkins and flowers so perfect you could swear they were real, and this babbo starts in on the cell phone. Now if it was an emergency, like his mother was drawing her last, or he hit the lotto and someone was calling to tell, now that I could understand. But no, it was an old girlfriend calling up to find out the high school reunion time. When I pointed out that the call could wait, it was our tenth anniversary, he, shall we say, reacted poorly. Now we have to pay for the glassware that was shattered in the ensuing discussion and most likely will not be welcome back at the eatery, whose veal scaloppini is to die for. I ask you. Aggrieved, Half Moon Bay

Dear Aggrieved, There are so many things wrong here I am not sure where to begin, but that hasn't stopped me yet. I'm not sure whether to congratulate you on holding on to such a prize for ten years, or to send my condolences for same. Off hand the cell phone stuff sounds like the least of your problems.

But this you did not ask. What do you do when a person doesn't take kindly to your suggestions for improvement? Forget nagging, waste of time. Resign yourself, or make it cost. Good luck on making it to your twentieth. God bless, Donna

Dear Readers, the above letter brings up an important topic: The high school reunion.

This event is filled with dangers on every side, not the least of which is some aging Romeo running off with the Juliet he left behind. No matter that he's bald and she's put on more than a few. It happens all the time. I recommend my pamphlet:

SURVIVING THE HIGH SCHOOL REUNION: How to knock them dead without knocking them out. This is available as always, under the table and off the books. Just contact my cousin Augie, he'll make sure you're taken care of.

Dear Madrone: What do you suggest I do when my mother in law comes over and weeps in her beer about her second husband who, to put it mildly, has the self restraint of an alley cat on Viagra. Which he may be. He is not the father of my husband, so no blood ties anywhere. My husband washes his hands of it, he says, it's her bed. But he's a man, she doesn't speak of things like this to him. I get the earful every morning over coffee. Which I wish she would be drinking. Drowning in Tears and Bear, Santa Ana

Dear Drowning, You are under no obligation to listen to her complaints. So the short answer is don't. How? Stop listening that's how. Now you already knew that, it's not what you're asking. You're asking if you can get out of this without causing hard feelings, which is not possible. So, answering the question you asked, I say, tell her to stuff a sock in it. Period. God bless, Donna

Dear Readers, nine times out of ten, the question you are asking already has an answer you don't like, and you think that by asking me you are going to hear something different than what you already know, but don't like. I'm not complaining, this pays for my rent and the occasional trip to Aruba. Your thin skin is my 401K. Grazie.

"I'm working on the world, revised improved edition,

featuring fun for fools

blues for brooders

tricks for old dogs,

combs for bald pates." Wislawa Szymborska

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pamela Bongiorno Monk is a full time faculty member of Penn State University, where she teaches creative writing, both fiction and non fiction. She pursues freelance writing, authoring plays and feature articles. She has broken nearly as many rules of family as she has enforced.

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