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This Month:

JULY 2007

Dear Madrone,

My sister in law's youngest brother's nephew, is, through nobody's fault, a very religious person. He prays at the drop of a hat. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against prayer, really. And he can pray 24/7 in the privacy of his own home, more power to him. It's just that at the family barbecues, he makes everyone drop what they are doing and hold hands while he composes prayers that wander around a whole bunch of different neighborhoods, some of which I don't mind living in, but some of which I would lock the car doors before I drive through, if you know what I'm saying. How can we tactfully suggest to my sister in law that she makes this problem go away?

Soul no doubt in danger anyhow, Medford

Dear Soul, You can pretty much forget about the tactful. Whatever you say, your sister in law is going to get the message that you think her youngest brother's nephew is an out of line whack job. Here's the thing- whose house are you at when the praying commences? If it's not your house, then please, not much you can do about it, except vote with your feet, or suffer through. (although this is also a good time to use the facilities.) Now if it's your house, then you have some say. Here are some things you can do, if you feel like it. But forget about tactful. That's not happening.

  • Interrupt and whisper to him: In our house we don't talk like that.
  • Train your children to shout GRACE, when he says, Let's say grace.
  • Put Perry Como's Catch a Falling Star on repeat. THAT is a religious experience that everyone should have routinely. Should take care of any urges to address the man Upstairs.

God bless, Donna

Dear Madrone,

What do you make of all this PC stuff? Can't anyone take a joke anymore? Signed, A Polish guy, an Italian and A Swede, who just walked into a bar

Dear Guys,

I got no problem with jokes if they are funny. So tell me a funny joke, and you're my friend forever. Tell me something stupid, and you're just a palooka with spaghetti for brains. That's just how that goes. Now if you can't tell the difference between funny and stupid, you shouldn't be going around telling jokes to begin with. But here's a way to think about it for what it's worth. Funny is a hammer. If you decide to hammer someone bigger than you, well you're foolish, but brave. If you decide to hammer someone smaller, you look like a pathetic bully. Take your pick. God bless, Donna

Dear Readers: A thought for the day: Life is too short to sit around organizing your papers. God bless. Donna.

"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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