Time once again for actual questions to Dear Abby, as answered by Stephen Harper:
DEAR ABBY: None of my nieces and nephews has ever called me “Uncle Sam.” When the five-year-old called me “Sammy,” a name I loathe, I nearly snapped. Whatever happened to respect for your elders?—SAM
Dear SAM: From my experience, you can’t just demand respect. You have to get out there and coerce it. It’s up to you to find the combination of threats, bullying tactics and cold, unblinking stares that works for you. And always remember: Respect is a two-way street. If the people around you can no longer respect themselves, then you’ve got them right where you want them.
DEAR ABBY: When I see someone with a label sticking out of his or her shirt, is it proper to just walk up and stick the label back inside? Or should I ignore it?—OBSERVANT
Dear OBSERVANT: I handle this delicate situation by politely informing the concerned party that his shirt is ugly and so is he.
DEAR ABBY: I was married to my high school sweetheart, “Linda,” for 37 years. I am a widower now, going into a new relationship with “Susan.” How do I integrate pictures of Linda with Susan being there?—LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE
Dear LIGHTNING: I just experienced a similar challenge. For years, I had supported, praised and relied on a talented military general named “Andy.” Then he retired and started working for my political rival. This made him dead to me. And, personally, I find the most effective way to navigate the grieving process is to subject the “deceased” to a blistering personal attack of dubious accuracy. Let “Linda” have it with both barrels.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a secretary who makes really good coffee. A man in the building likes my coffee and has made himself comfortable at my desk. He plants himself there all day, doing nothing, and I have to work around him.—NOT HIS BARISTA
Dear BARISTA: Sounds like one of our senators got out. We’ll send a truck around to pick him up.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend says Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday to get people to spend money. He never buys cards or flowers. How do I communicate to him that this is important to me?—CRAVING ROMANCE
Dear CRAVING: It’s crucial to keep working at any relationship. For instance, I’ve been going steady with a country for more than eight years now—but lately, things have started to sour. It’s become infatuated with a younger man. No matter what I do, no matter what I say, no matter which political opponents I smear without shame or regret, I just can’t seem to make it love me once again with more than 28 per cent of its heart.
I’m not saying our relationship has been perfect. We’ve had some money problems. And yes, we’ve experienced some intimacy issues. (I’ve ended a few of our sessions “prematurely,” if you know what I mean.) But each and every election, I go to the trouble of taking my country by the hand, looking it in the eye and whispering in its ear an apocalyptic warning that dumping me would result in financial ruin, social upheaval and, quite possibly, the end of days. It’s gestures like that that keep the magic alive.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter sent me a two-word text message, “I’m pregnant.” She has been seeing a marijuana-smoking man for less than a year and I’m disappointed by this outcome. Suggestions?—DISGUSTED
Dear DISGUSTED: This marijuana-smoking man—did he happen to be named “Justin?” Does your daughter have any video of him sparking up or maybe taking off his shirt? Or both?? Both would be great! Please send immediately.
DEAR ABBY: What is the proper way to kiss after the wedding officiant says, “You may now kiss the bride”? Should the couple share a simple kiss or can it be a little more intense?—DANIELLE
Dear DANIELLE: I, for one, will never forget my own wedding day: the sight of my beautiful bride, the solemnity of our vows and the intensity of the handshake we shared.
DEAR ABBY: Every day, my boss brings his not-so-sunny outlook into the office and drags me and everyone else down. What can I do?—HELP ME
Dear HELP ME: Get back to work, Baird.