Friday, May 13, 2011

Advice Columns

I often read advice columns, mostly just to see if the advice seeker is asking a question that I wanted answered already and can save me the trouble of writing in to the advice columnist. Today's Carolyn Hax column hit upon a situation I hope never to encounter:

"I am the one who hosts holidays for my husband’s family. I also share a birthday with one of the kids.

I completely realize the gift-giving on these occasions is all about the kids. I honestly do not want a gift. The in-laws have very different tastes than mine and pitch a fit if any object they give is not prominently displayed. Nor am I longing for a card.

Nonetheless, it is always embarrassing to me and uncomfortable for other guests when the in-laws arrive with packing crates of gifts for my husband and the kids, then look at me and say, “We would have gotten you a card, but we didn’t feel like going all the way to the drugstore.”

Really, a cheerful, “Happy [whatever] to you, too!” would be all I could ask for, and no comment at all would be fine by me, but it stings to be told in front of others, over and over, that I am not worth the bother.

I have handled the problem for years by just telling them it’s fine, handing them their gift (they do not see it as just about the kids) and excusing myself to the kitchen. I have had enough though. Any suggestions?"

Well, here's my response--modern medicine is coming up with brilliant new poisons that cannot be easily detected. Make sure to give everyone a healthy dose, then take that "poison control hotline" sticker on your fridge and change one of the numbers. With luck, no one will ever suspect you!

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