This week’s query is from The Love of Pete. But don’t be fooled by the “Pete” part. There’s no way this was written by a man. Oy!
The Love of Pete writes:
“Gilda Sue, my brother needs me to help him with his marriage, but I’m too busy with my own marriage and my kids to help. How do I tell him to stop drinking and get a damn job already without hurting his feelings?!”
Hon, though the truth can be real-real hurtful, sometimes we just need to say it. “The truth shall set them free,” as Lynyrd Skynyrd says.
There’s an old adage that tells us, “if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.” But my bobeshi taught me that that is for suckers. She always told me, “if you can’t say what you mean and mean what you say, then don’t say anything at all.”
And Pete, here’s something that only you (and maybe Sherlock Holmes, or even Dr. Phil) can ever know for sure, but it’s worth investigating: Is it possible that your concern over hurting your brother’s feelings is just a disguise for your fear of being vilified by him, or being disliked? Being disliked isn’t as bad as you might think, by the way. I find it’s often way better than the alternative, especially if that alternative involves keeping my mouth shut (as you might well imagine). And, anyway, to quote another great Skynyrd tune, you might ask that schmendrik brother of yours, “what have you done for me lately?”
Now, shouldn’t you be changing a diaper, Sherlock Holmes-ing what the heck your family wants for supper, or Dr. Phil-ing the corn out of someone’s nose? Pour yourself a double tall Drambuie-tini (light on the vermouth, heavy on the tini). Block/hide that brother on your facebook. Then text him to stop drinking and get a damn job, already.
This week’s Mail Bag pick is from a Charlie Perkins in Georgia. Charlie writes:
“Is it wrong for me to wear tube socks and high heels? My niece and nephew say that it is. Some people point and laugh at me, especially at the beach. I think that it is both fashionable and comfortable. I told my niece, ‘There is no rule book that says that men cannot wear women’s shoes.’ Tube socks add a masculine touch to my day wear. Some people just don’t get fashion. Don’t you agree?”
Oy, Charlie. I had to turn to some other folks for some help with this problem of yours.
Super-brainy literary icon and extra-terrestrial humorist Mark Twain once wrote this:
“We are all alike on the inside.”
By this, I believe he means that we all need love, we are all seeking something of substance that makes life worth living, we all have skeletons in our closets, we all crave more Drambuie than Rabbi Spiderman thinks is good for us, and, though our many prejudices may keep us from acting like it most of the time, we all agree that we probably are all alike on the inside. He means that it’s really the OUTSIDE that matters.
So, fashion is important, hon. Real-real.
Now the rightness or wrongness of those tube socks is debatable. Here are quotes from two other famous brainy folks:
“Are right and wrong convertible terms, dependent upon popular opinion?” ~William Lloyd Garrison (abolitionist and feminist)
It doesn’t seem as though Garrison knows the answer to this, but I do. It’s “of course they are.”
“The only correct actions are those that demand no explanation and no apology.” ~Red Auerbach (National Jewish Sports Hall of Famer and basketball coach)
I think Coach Auerbach would read your long-winded query and advise you to keep that beach attire in your closet. Right behind those skeletons.
But, Charlie, I once wrote this:
“If it feels real-real good, just damn do it!”
So. Do with all of that what you will. Just remember, sunscreen is essential when frolicking on the beach, but bossy nieces and nephews are for suckers.
Thanks for your letter, Charlie. Y’all keep ’em coming. Leave a comment here or at The Gilda Sue Rosenstern Computer Internet Show.
This week’s letter is from Frimunt.And that’s this person’s name, y’all. Not a town. And I’m not sure if this Frimunt is male or female, but no matter. My answer will be the same, regardles.
OK. Frimunt writes,
“Dear Gilda Sue, I have lost faith in my dreams, my family, my friends, and my religion. Everything and everyone around me seem to lack the depth and substance that make life worth living. I’d kill myself, but I’m afraid of dying. What should I do?”
Well, Frimunt, hon, thanks for giving me a little break from all the tough questions. This is simple, because you are on the right track. At least half-way.
Y’all, the world is totally full of meshugeners and putzes wading around in ankle deep waters volleying hollow and meaningless banter at one another and dressing it up as thoughtful discourse, whether it be on the broad public forum or in seemingly intimate, personal relationships. But, as for being afraid to die, oy! That’s just crazy.
Hon, first of all, death is a lie, and once you realize that, it stops being so scary.
Here’s the thing, bubee. I grew up in a small town and once I could buy my own bus ticket (or secretly borrow some money from my mama’s purse to buy my own bus ticket), I moved as far away as that bus would take me, and I never went back. Now, when I left, those people in my home town didn’t think I was dead. Well, actually, my bobeshi did think I was dead for a few days, and she’s never forgiven me for giving her such a scare. But my point is that I wasn’t dead. And though it is possible for me to return to my hometown, I’ve just never had a reason to do so, which is why I left in the first place. I moved forward. I changed residences. And that’s all “dying” really is.
Disclaimer, hon: Neither Rabbi Spiderman, Father Fitzpatrick, or Pastor Grizzle agree with me on this. And, I don’t claim to know what the forwarding address will be for you, but I feel fairly certain that whatever it is, you should definitely not be afraid of to “die.”
So, no worries. Thanks for your question, Frimunt, and happy trails!
I’d like to answer a missive from German Joe Pulver in Berlin. (I KNOW!)
German Joe asks,
“Can I have a pony???????????????????????”
Well, hon, I realize you are a speaker of a foreign tongue, but oy! In American the saying is “have a cow,” not “have a pony.” And my advice to anyone struggling with how to deal with feelings uncomfortable enough to make him want to break down and have a cow is to just stop. Stop and take a deep breath, hon. And push it down. Take those feelings and push them deep, deep down. Smile. Indulge in a Drambuie Margarita, or a red wine spritzer, or any legal “drug” of your choosing. Then indulge in a second, even a third. Surf the computer Internet for videos of dogs befriending whales or of Nancy Grace falling off of her roller skates into a group of tot mom groupies, and follow that down the rabbit hole until you fall asleep. It works for me. It’ll work for you.
Thanks for your letter, German Joe.
”Gilda, I’m trying to learn how to be a tougher, more grounded person, rather than be such a hot mess. Where do I start?”
OK, I looked up some words on the computer Internet.
“Tough” is defined as “durable, tenacious, and lusty.” But, also as “callous, stern, and harsh.”
“Grounded can mean “mindful, and wise.” But, also “beached.” Like a dying sea creature.
Drambuie is Gaelic for “the drink that satisfies.” But some folks use some other words, like “never in a million years!” or “you’ve got to be kidding me! People actually DRINK this #*@!!?”
And, I think it’s important to point out that the good folks at Drambuie don’t really care which one you are, as long as there are enough of the former buying their drink that (apparently only sometimes) satisfies to keep them in business, and to The Devil with the latter!
Do you see where I’m going with this, Liz?
Hon, I suspect what you are really looking for is the inner strength to do whatever you damn well please regardless of what folks might think, which must just damn rock! I mean look at Barbara Bush. Oy! Well, I’ll bet she looks in the mirror each morning, as she drapes those gigantic pearls around her neck with the confidence that defies reason, and chants the mantra that every successful woman lives by: “Pleasing everyone is for suckers.”
Nobody, not even Drambuie, can please everyone.
Now, Outlaw Farmer asks,
“What the heck is a hot mess?”
A hot mess is bad, as far as I can tell, though it is apparently, by most counts, also considered sexy, which most folks think is good. So, once again, perspective is key. You can’t please ‘em all.
In sum, rock on, Liz! And damn give yourself a break.
Y’all keep your questions coming! Leave a comment here or see me at The Gilda Sue Rosenstern Computer Internet Show and leave me a private missive. I look forward to hearing from you!