Saturday, May 26, 2007

Is This Really Funny Or Really Sad?

Disclaimer: This post constitutes an effort by me to keep Five Rupees as something less than completely depressing.

So I was surfing Slate as I'm wont to do on a lazy Saturday morning and I clicked on their advice coumn which is called Dear Prudence. Now, I have a strong distaste for advice columns because I remember reading one in Young World when I was a kid (note to non-Pakistanis: Young World is a weekly children's magazine that comes with Dawn). Anyways, the Young World woman always had the same answer: concentrate on your studies. It really didn't matter what the question was, the advice was the same. "I'm thirteen, have acne, and everyone else makes fun of me." Solution? "Concentrate on your studies." "I'm eleven, I like this girl in my class, she doesn't know me, what should I do?" "Concentrate on your studies." ""I broke my leg trying to save my mom from my dad who beats her, any ideas?" "Concentrate on your studies." Anyone who read Young World in the early 90s knows exactly what I'm talking about. The point being, I have a natural disinclination to read these bullshit advice columns based on what transpired in my childhood.

Anyways, as I said, I clicked on this advice column, and honestly, it was the best decision I've ever made. For one thing, it convinced me of how normal my life is, which is always nice. More importantly, however, was the sheer comedic value of some of the things in there. I think this particular plea for counsel took the cake.
Dear Prudence,
My ex and I divorced nearly 10 years ago; we have two children and share custody. We have both since remarried, and our relationship is very friendly. Now that our children are older and busy, family time is harder to find, so we've decided to share beach week this year. He and his wife will take the first three days along with our two children and his stepdaughter. My husband and I will take the last four days. All the kids (his stepdaughter also) will stay for the entire week. He will pay for three days, and I will pay for four. If it were only our children going, that would be fine with me, but his stepdaughter will also be there, so I feel that he and his wife should pay for his stepdaughter's portion of the vacation. I prorated the costs, having him pay for one of our children's time at the house, me paying for one of our children's time, and he and his wife paying for his stepdaughter's time. I also included a proration schedule for the adults so that he pays only for three days for himself and his wife, with me paying the remaining four days for me and my husband. He thinks I'm nitpicking and we should not worry about the kids. Well, that's nice for his stepdaughter to get a free four-day beach vacation! How would you break down the pricing for this vacation?

—Wanting Fairness

Dear Wanting,
How would I break down the pricing? I'm having a breakdown just thinking about your spreadsheet. What do you say to the stepdaughter at breakfast? "Caitlin, please, you've taken all the cream cheese the prorating allows." Your ex is right, you are being ridiculously nitpicky (could this have been an issue in your marriage?). Be glad everyone gets along, make sure they all wash off their feet before coming into the house, and leave the proration schedules for the office.

I think it's safe to say that Dear Prudence has found her way to my permanent reading list. The column has the added benefit of being named after my favorite Beatles song, so it's a no-brainer, really.

3 comments:

Silver Naked Lady said...

If you enjoyed Dear Prudence, you should check out Savage Love; the meanest and most hilarious advice column out there.
http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?archives=all

Some important terms to keep in mind:
DTMA- Dump That Motherfucker Already
GGG- Good, Giving, Game
Santorum: The frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of sex. Name in honour of the former senator who compared homosexuality to bestiality.

Ahsan said...

thanks snl!

Ahsan said...

i just had a look at a couple of those columns. remind me, snl, to take any advice you give in the future with a bucket of salt. a really, really big bucket.