The Mailbag will return next week. In its place today, actual questions to Dear Abby – as answered by Stephen Harper.
DEAR ABBY: Please settle a disagreement for us. Is a butter knife used to put your butter on your plate, or to spread the butter on your bread? — ETIQUETTE-CHALLENGED
Let me ask you a question: Why do you hate our troops? I mean, you claim to support the soldiers who are fighting in Afghanistan – and yet here you are, devoting precious time to writing letters about butter and utensils when you could be supporting our troops even harder. Why don’t you ask your friends in the Taliban what the butter knife is for, Etiquette-Challenged? They’ll tell you it’s for stabbing into the heart of freedom and slathering it with rich, creamy terror.
It’s a good thing you weren’t around in the ’40s. We’d all be speaking German but, hey, on the upside, we’d know where the fish fork goes. You sicken me.
DEAR ABBY: My sister-in-law is in the process of losing weight. We’re all very proud of her.
The problem is, whenever we are around her, she goes on and on about what she did or did not eat that day. She also gives us disapproving looks or makes unwelcome comments about what we are eating.
We have tried to gently change the subject, but it always goes back to food. Is there anything we can do or say to stop this without hurting her feelings? – HUNGRY FOR ADVICE
How dare you insult our soldiers in Afghanistan by accusing them of wrongdoing? Our soldiers are above reproach. They have been fighting for democracy and there is not a single shred of evidence to suggest they have been complicit in torture. To suggest otherwise is a wanton act of treason. You sicken me.
DEAR ABBY: I work in an office with more than 30 employees. Two weeks ago an envelope was sent around seeking our mandatory contributions to give gifts to the leader of the office “to show our appreciation.”
I was always taught one never “gifts up” the chain of command. I show my appreciation each day by being a good employee. Am I wrong? – BLACKMAILED
Or should I say, Dear JOHN BAIRD?
That’s right, John. I’d heard it was you that was bellyaching. I hear everything, John.
Plus, I could tell from the card. Everyone else jotted down some nice words like “Thanks for everything” (Chuck Strahl), “You complete me” (Tony Clement) or “Exactly how long are you going to hold this grudge?” (Diane Ablonczy). But you just signed your name, John.
I bet you didn’t even chip in for the bottle of Brut 33. You sicken me.
DEAR ABBY: I work at a public library and live not far from where I work. A lot of people who use the library live in my apartment building and I run into them often. These people never hesitate to stop me when I’m clearly off the clock to ask me a slew of library questions.
I confess I’m a bit of a doormat, and I’m afraid to ask them to leave me alone. Is there a way to tell those people to quit harassing me when I’m not working? I’d feel so much better about myself if I learned how. – THE ANSWER LADY
Dear ANSWER LADY:
Really? You get asked a slew of library questions, do you? People really beating down the doors to get the latest skinny on what’s happening at the public library, are they? Lots of urgent queries related to the hottest advancements on the Dewey decimal front, are there? People desperately wondering if the National Geographic from November, 2004 has come in yet, are they?
You want some advice? Here’s my advice: Stop looking in the mirror and asking yourself so many questions about the library.
You sicken me.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I are involved in a power struggle with my brother. At Christmas we invite him and his family to our home. We try to make our Christmas dinner fun and festive, so a lot of planning goes into the menu.
Every year, a day or two before the event, my brother calls to ask what’s on the menu, then offers his unwanted opinion on what we should or shouldn’t serve.
Last year he told me he wouldn’t be able to enjoy the meal because we weren’t serving one of the items he feels is “traditional” in our family. He says he’s family so he’s entitled to make suggestions. When I was unwilling to accommodate his “simple” request, he got upset. I’m on the verge of not inviting his family in the future. What should I do? — OFFENDED
You know what works for me? Every time I run into a bit of a rough patch, I make one well-timed phone call to the Governor-General of Canada and – poof! – problemo solved. Did it during the holidays in 2008. Did it again in 2009. And each time, all my nagging issues just sort of went away. Takes, like, 20 minutes. I highly recommend giving her a call!
P.S. You sicken me.
DEAR ABBY: How do you explain to a man how uncomfortable hot flashes are? I’m a perimenopausal woman who has been married for 12 years to a sweet husband who loves to “snuggle.” But when I’m having a hot flash, the last thing I want is a warm body touching me. My husband thinks I’m “mean” and that I’m one of those “freaky females.”
How can I make him understand that hot flashes happen, and that it should be OK for me to ask for some space until the feeling passes? – HOT FLASH HILDA
Dear HOT FLASH:
Is this some kind of prank? Hot flashes, snuggling – as if those are real things! That’s hilarious. It must be MacKay. MacKay, you’re hilarious. How do you come up with this stuff?
DEAR ABBY: Please settle a disagreement I’m having with my husband. In the song Jingle Bells, he insists the horse’s name is “Bob Tail.” However, I’m pretty sure it’s a description of the horse, as their tails used to be “bobbed,” or cut short.
Please understand my husband is one of those guys who is “never wrong!” – JINGLE BELLE
Dear JINGLE BELLE: