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This Month:

September 2007

Dear Madrone,

What is it with people who say one thing and then do another? Let me tell you what happened to me. My neighbor across the street, Lismina, told me that under no circumstances was she going to the fortieth birthday of our neighbor Caddie's husband down the block, which was being held at the Legion Hall, but we were told it was formal, and that they were keeping a list of who gave what. Which I didn't mind, because, hey, it's their party. By the time Lismina got through with her complaining about their nerve and the dump that the Legion Hall is, and why should she spend good money on a nice dress, and who did they think they were, demanding gifts, especially after the skimpy check they gave her goddaughter for her first communion. My head was spinning. And I made some excuse and didn't go. Guess who did? And told everyone that I was a crepe hanger who didn't know fun if it hit me in the face. She does this to me all the time. Last straw, Aaronsville

Dear Straw,

Sorry to add to your pain, but there are plenty of other things that could hit you in the face, and you'd still be looking behind you for the palooka who threw the punch. I mean seriously, how long have you known this Lismina? And you finally get around to writing me? Face it, you are a doormat. Falling for it once, ok, understandable, but all the time? You need to pick yourself up and dust off the mud she's tracked on you. As for your question. Who knows why phonies lie? I certainly don't. It's a mystery right up there with why it's OK to mix tonic water with gin, but not wine. Not that I ever do, but you know what I mean. God bless, Donna.

READERS -Take this simple quiz- It could save your life, or at least spare you some agita. Or at least you'll know why people are kicking you in the teeth, and then asking you to thank them.


Your mother in law who still doesn't know how to pronounce your name (It's Jane, mother. That's right, I always forget, thank you, Jean.) is coming to spend a month. You-

A. Dust constantly, hoping THIS time her "mold allergies" will not act up.

B. Spend one week beforehand doing extra dusting, even though you know she will come with a white cloth and find dirt. You did what you think is enough.

C. Don't do anything different. After all it's your house. If she doesn't like it, let her lump it.

D. Empty out the vacuum bag of your Hoover, and spread it around the room where she'll be sleeping.

Your neighbor's dog routinely does its business on your berm. Nothing you say makes a difference to the jamoke, who also has dandelions all over his front yard.

A. You despair as the brown spots spread.

B. You pick up after the dog yourself.

C. You rat them out to the town dog catcher

D. You collect all the offerings, pack them in a well insulated container, and FedEx them to the creeps COD.

Your boss always takes credit for the work you do for her and gives herself raises, but docks your pay when you are sick for more than a day at a clip, and tells you you are lucky to have a job with health benefits when you try to object.

A. You would never object, you ARE lucky, in this day and age to have security.

B. You complain to your spouse and to your co-workers, who nod sympathetically.

C. You file a grievance with the local union rep.

D. You arrange that one of your "uncles" have a little chat with her about "leadership" and a "culture of respect".

How to rate yourself

All A's - you're a lost cause, you first thought was that you probably deserved the slap the doctor gave you when you were born.

All B's - Long suffering, a saint.

All C's - Evidence of backbone, you are not to be sneezed at.

All D's - I admire your style, although I can't say I'd like to know you.

Doormats, don't despair- my pamphlet, "BUY THIS OR ELSE: how not to be a doormat" is available through my cousin Augie who will contact you. Bring cash.



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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