Editor's Note: The Dear Abby Appeals Board is a loose--one might even say "disjointed"--coalition of failed Planet advice columnists who band together periodically to revisit some of Abby's less stellar advice. (They resent her because alone among them she is paid.) The letters seeking and giving advice here are excerpted from Abby's syndicated column. The rest is, as ever, PURE PLANET!
DEAR ABBY: I need your help in dealing with an old "frenemy." "Jenny" and I were friends in high school, but she constantly berated me and accused me of taking advantage of her. She would make herself feel better by putting me down.
After she went away to college, she got pregnant by a non-boyfriend. When she had an abortion, she swore me to secrecy because she didn't tell the father. Shortly thereafter, he came to me and tricked me into telling him. To this day, Jenny still blames me and says I was out to get her and ruin her life.
Jenny spread rumors about me around our group of friends, on the internet, and told my mom horrible lies about me. She even threatened a lawsuit. Ten years later, she still pops up out of the blue to attack me. A year ago, she sent me a message saying she wished I had died in a tornado that struck my area. She sends taunts about an old boyfriend of mine who got married and had a kid.
I never respond because that's what she wants. She pops up at the worst times and makes me feel worse. How should I deal with her?
-- AT A BOILING POINT IN TENNESSEE
DEAR BOILING: Continue to ignore this troubled woman. Block her anywhere you can, and delete any messages that leak through so you won't have to see them. If you have mutual friends who don't know the whole story, you should have enlightened them years ago -- and the same goes for your mother.
Jenny appears to have serious issues. She isn't a "frenemy." She is strictly bad news, so recognize it and move on.
Charlene, the Small-Town Snoop: It ain’t fair. Old Abby makes the big bucks, and all she ever does is agree with folks.
The Dade Planet: Or tell them to consult a “licensed therapist.” But that letter-writer struck me as a little disingenuous, too.
Does “disingenuous” mean “so full of s**t you couldn’t beat it out of her with a stick?”
More or less. It’s more polite, though.
Socrates: Υπάρχει ένας ευγενικός τρόπος να καλέσετε κάποιον ψεύτη?
Cheryl, the Goddess of Love: No, there’s probably not a polite way to tell somebody they're so full of it their eyes are brown, Socrates. But we don’t have to give her our blanket endorsement either, do we? Which is what Abby did. I think this is one of those times when Abby should have remembered that two sides to a coin are a dead minimum.
Which means you smell a rat, too, I take it?
Now that I think of it. She probably would have slipped by me if she hadn’t pinged your keen BS detectors, Cat Women.
What pinged mine first was that “non-boyfriend” thing. How do you get pregnant by a “non-boyfriend”? I mean, according to my understanding of biology, nobody ever got knocked up by exchanging pleasantries.
Well, hon, I ain’t accusing no one of doing it recently, but go far enough back and I reckon we’ve all exchanged more than hellos with people whose names we still ain’t sure how to spell.
μίλα για τον εαυτό σου!
Sorry, Soc, I wasn't talking about you. I'm sure you'd never hop into bed with just anyone though there is folks who would consider wearing a bedsheet all day a mite suggestive.
But if the non-boyfriend really was a non-boyfriend, why would telling him about the abortion ruin her life?
And why would he want to know? How would he even have suspected enough to ‘trick’ Boiling into spilling?
Which brings up the question of how, or why, you would trick somebody into telling you something like that about somebody who wasn’t even your girlfriend. I mean, how would the subject come up?
What’d I’d like to know is what the hell he was doing over there in the first place.
Ίσως ήταν ο υδραυλικός
Be serious, Socrates. I’m sure if he was the plumber Boiling would have mentioned it.
You know, Soc, if I ever get tried for murder I hope you’re on the jury.
And what part of “sworn to secrecy” did Boiling not understand? That’s a pretty deep dark secret to have parted with by accident.
The thing is, once you admit the possibility Boiling is lying about one thing, you do a double-take on everything else. Like maybe that biz about what a bitch Jenny was in high school is just to make Boiling feel like she was justified in betraying her love and trust.
Right. And maybe the terrible things Jenny was telling Boiling’s mama and their mutual friends was how Boiling had ratted her out.
Ίσως ο φίλος που παντρεύτηκε και είχε παιδί ήταν ο μη-φίλος.
Well, for goodness’ sake, Socrates, who would have thought you’d have as nasty and suspicious a mind as the rest of us? But you’re right. Why shouldn’t Boiling’s boyfriend who married somebody else be the same “non-boyfriend” she ratted Jenny out to?
Now you’re cookin’, Soc! It sure would give Boiling a motive for finking on her friend. Boiling was describing him as Jenny’s “non-boyfriend” because he was Boiling’s future boyfriend?
Αλλά για να της δώσει το όφελος της αμφιβολίας...
Yeah, yeah. We’d have to give Boiling the benefit of the doubt if this were a trial.
But it ain’t, and frankly Boiling is laying it on too thick. If somebody’s as mad at somebody as Jenny is at her, I’d bet the doublewide she’s got a pretty good reason.
I agree. Not just telling Boiling’s mother, but threatening a lawsuit? That’s what I fantasize about when someone hurts me really deeply. I imagine these whole courtroom dramas where I explain to the judge the terrible things somebody did to me and how they made me suffer.
Yes! And in mine the judge says there, there, hon, I’m cutting this here sumbitch’s testicles off and hanging ‘em around his neck.
That’s your man-woman stuff, Charlene, and it’s a different ballgame. They say all’s fair in love and war. But the fact is, women can hurt women as bad as men. Worse, sometimes. It’s your bestie you tell the deep dark secrets to, not your boyfriend.
Right. Your boyfriend may very well leave you for a Waffle House waitress, but you ought to be able to trust your girlfriends.
Hey! What’s wrong with Waffle House waitresses?
Σκέφτηκα ότι εργαστήκατε στο σπίτι του “Huddle?”
I am a Huddle House waitress but it’s still too close to home. We both go around with our shoes sticking to the floor with syrup, smelling like bacon and calling everybody hon.
But back to the subject at hand. The bottom line is Abby gave Boiling crappy advice. It’s time for a second opinion from--
The Dear Abby Appeals Board!
You know, Boiling, in medieval times there used to be somebody called a pardoner. You gave the guy money and he told you God forgave your sins. I think that’s what you’re trying to do with Abby.
When who you really need to pardon you i Jenny. The way she keeps popping out of rabbit holes to tell you, your friends and your mom you ruined her life, it sounds to me like, brace yourself, you might have done something to ruin her life.
Der Fuhrer: But dot vas vay too long ago to shtill be mad about! I agree mit Boilink. Jenny should forgiff and forget.
Charlie Manson: Yeah, man. Jenny is, like, totally EVIL. Can you believe it, guys? There are people who are still mad at me!
Oh, lordy, it's them creeps again. What are you two doing back? I thought you had both landed top-level jobs in the Trump administration.
Two vords: Russian collusion. Der idiots! I keep telling zem, ja, I colluded with the Russians, yust like I did in 1939. So vot? I vas plannink to fink zem out again, yust like I did in 1942!
Eww, you're slimy. Go back to Washington where you belong!
But that brings up an important point, Boiling. When you hurt somebody, you can't just decide it wasn't important, it wasn't your fault, and it ought to be forgotten. They get to make that call.
So the way to settle your ghost, Boiling, is not to go crying to Abby but to face Jenny squarely. I mean, have you ever tried simply apologizing? Your letter doesn’t say that.
What it does say is, “I never respond because that's what she wants.” If you want things settled, why not try giving her what she wants?
Μια τακτική που μπορείτε να δοκιμάσετε στο Huddle House.
It is a principle I try to practice at Huddle House. I’m sorry. Socrates. I could have sworn you asked for tater tots.
Ποιο μέρος των πατάτες τηγανιών δεν καταλαβαίνετε?
What part of "curly fries" do I not understand? The part where you pronounce it "Σγουρές πατάτες" in a thick Greek accent, you asshole.
Get him his fries , Charlene. If there's a lesson here it's about setting things right before they have a chance to fester.
Listen up, Boiling. Here is what you do when you’ve done somebody wrong: (A) Admit you’re wrong, and apologize abjectly; then (B) do everything within your power to set it right; and (C) go forth and sin no more.
And here’s what you don’t do, hon: (A) Deny you did anything wrong, (B) blame the whole thing on Jenny, and (C) tell everyone including Dear Abby she’s a crazy bitch.
In your case, it might be too late to set things right. I presume the boyfriend, "non" or otherwise, is long gone, and it doesn't sound likely you and Jenny will ever be friends again. But apologizing to her might make Jenny feel better.
And wouldn't it make you feel better, Boiling, knowing there was no longer an angry woman out there somewhere stickin' pins into a little doll that looked like you?
Hey, are we done here? Because I got to go get Old Sheethead his fries.
Και βεβαιωθείτε ότι είναι καυτή αυτή τη φορά.
Yeah, yeah. they'll be hot all right. (In his lap if he don’t shut up.)
So let us end on that note. Revenge is a dish best served cold, and french fries are only good piping hot. Forgiveness is more, well, forgiving. It tastes good fresh but it stays sweet no matter how long it sits on the sideboard. And if admitting wrongdoing sticks in your craw, Boiling, try washing it down with the milk of human kindness.
But for God’s sake don’t put it off any longer, Boiling! We’ve got to get out of here before The Planet stretches that metaphor any further! Go forth and sin no more, Boiling, and Planet, not one word about ketchup!