How To Deal With a Needle Artist
Dear Margo: Like many people (politicians, police, journalists, attorneys, car salespeople), I work at a job that a good many people love to hate. Most people I meet, however, are gracious. The exception is a close relative’s new wife. I’d never met her before the wedding and only see her at family gatherings. I’ve always been cordial, and she is friendly. However, her smile and greeting are quickly accompanied by a critical remark about my profession or my employer. Last time, she told me what a jerk my boss is.
Part of me believes she thinks this is clever conversation; another part says the fact that she has a master’s degree in counseling means she can’t be that clueless. Do I keep doing what I have been doing, which is to smile, say something bland and disengage quickly? Or should I point out that she’s being remarkably rude? I don’t want to start a family fight, but I’m tired of being her dartboard. –Losing Patience
Dear Lose: Kinda too bad that this woman feels she needs to give you her unsolicited and impolite opinion every time you meet. Your passive avoidance responses just ensure that she will continue with the needles. I would, the next time this happens, return the volley. You might respond, when next you hear the same song, umpteenth verse, that she certainly seems too young to be memory impaired, but she tells you of her disdain for your work every time she sees you. You might throw in, “It almost seems as though you don’t want us to be friends.” When she picks herself up off the floor, I predict you will have heard the last of her digs. –Margo, responsively
Pets and Vets
Dear Margo: In November 2010, I almost lost my 16-year-old Baby-Girl Sassie (Shepherd/Chow mix) to cancer. I opted for surgery and treatment, and she’s doing great. It cost close to $2,000, but I didn’t care; she’s my girl. All of my friends and a few family members called me crazy for saving her life and spending the money to treat her. When I asked for prayers, they thought I had gone off the deep end. Last week, my beagle, Mac, had a tumor appear on his left hind leg (he’s 14), and I opted for surgery once again (another $1,000), and tonight the doc told me Mac will be around for a long time. Again, I was called nuts.
Last week, I had surgery for breast cancer. The people who saw me through the operation thought nothing of praying for me, but they fail to realize that my pets are with me 24/7. When I come home from chemotherapy and radiation treatments, they are the ones who greet me at the door, crawl up in my bed and comfort me when I’m crying from fear. Is it wrong to want others to pray for your pets when their lives are in danger? Or to spend money on their health as you would for a human? –Mom to Pets
Dear Mom: People who aren’t pet people are never going to get it, so stop trying to get them to understand. It should not matter to you what others think of your priorities. I don’t think it’s wrong, exactly, to ask friends to pray for pets, but I can see how some people would think it a little strange or even sacrilegious. I suspect there are people who make a distinction between animals and people, and once you understand that, you won’t be angry with the people who decline to pray for Mac. –Margo, understandingly
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to email@example.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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