Friday, October 29, 2010

Dear Abby, Why is This Mom So Creepy?

I have been reading Dear Abby for years. Every day in my sociology class during senior year of high school, I would skip past the front page news and the sports section and read whatever craziness Abby and her opinion-seekers were willing to dish out. I still read it everyday, online now, but today's column had a letter so batshit crazy, I had to share it with everyone:

DEAR ABBY: I have been keeping a journal for my son since he was born 22 years ago. I have never missed a single day. I write about him regardless of whether I see him or not. Sometimes I'll jot down a verse I remembered, or something happening in his world or an item of newsworthy information. I have also written my thoughts about his life and decisions.

My dilemma is when I should give these writings to him. I don't want to keep them indefinitely because they are meant for him. He is married and has a son on the way. My inclination is to give him the writings of his life on the occasion of his son's birth. He has no idea I've been doing this, so it will be a complete surprise. I'd appreciate your input. -- BLOCKED WRITER IN OKLAHOMA

No, I am not making this shit up. This is real and needs to be addressed. First of all, this woman (I'm assuming this is a woman because only a mother would do something as ridiculous as this) clearly only had one child, never had a career outside of the home and had a housekeeper to do all the housework because who the Christ else has the fucking time to sit down and write their thoughts about their son's life every fucking day for 22 years. Between working, shuttling me and my brother around and watching Dr. Phil, my mother certainly didn't have the time to do this. There wasn't one day where she was like, "Wow, I am super exhausted. I don't think I have the energy to sit down and write about my son and how important he is to me today."? Seriously? This lady needs to get a life, especially if she's still writing about him presumably after he's moved out of the house.

Secondly, is anyone else more than a little creeped out by this? If my mother ever handed over a box full of journals she has secretly kept about my life, describing in full detail every decision I have ever made with my life and her opinions on those decisions, I would be like "Crazymamadidwut?" Listen, I love my mama, but sifting through 15 volumes about my mundane life or of news articles and people that remind her of me (although, according to my mother, any kid with glasses and asthma reminds me of her) would freak me out. The whole idea is just insane. Couldn't she have bought her son an expensive gift to show her love like a normal person would?

Finally, what about the last line of the first paragraph where she mentions that she has been critiquing her son's life choices? That makes this whole idea even worse. Unless she's one of the 1% of people on this planet who is completely incapable of speaking bad about someone, I imagine there are going to be some negative thoughts included. I imagine I'm not alone in saying that I would never want to read multiple criticisms of every important decision I've made in my life. I hope that if I was making a large enough mistake, my mother would come to me and say, "Hey, maybe you need to rethink this..." instead of writing it down in a journal so that I can read about it 10 years later.

Abby had a response for this woman that, although it wasn't exactly what I would have told her, offers a smidgen of good advice if you look carefully:

DEAR BLOCKED WRITER: What an amazing gift those journals will be. However, allow me to caution you against giving them to your son when his child is born. There will be a lot going on at that time, and you do not want to distract from that momentous occasion. My advice is to wait until his next milestone birthday and present them to him when he's 25. And because you enjoy journaling, consider starting one about your own life then.

I'm not surprised that Abby praises her because she's loves sentimental bullshit like this and is about as morally progressive as pilgrim on the Mayflower. I like that she told her to wait a bit to give him the journals because who will have time to read all that shit with a brand new baby. That last line, though, is the real kicker. She's basically telling her to stop with the creepy journals about her son and start chronicling her own life. She clearly has the discipline to do it and, in all honesty, I know I would be far more interested in hearing about my mother's life from her own thoughts than about my own life, which I've already lived, through the perspective of my mother. So, all in all, Abby gets it right in the very end. That's pretty much par for the course with Dear Abby and why I still find myself reading her.

No comments: