Dear Short Answers >> Last week, when I was in the grocery store, I saw a mother with her four very, very fat children. As she loaded her cart with candy and sugary cereals and potato chips, I wanted so badly to say something to her but I didn't. I am still thinking about it and certainly not sure what I could have said. Is there any way to be helpful in a situation like this? I even considered buying some healthy food and giving it to her for free.
DEAR CONCERNED >> Childhood obesity is now an epidemic. The causes and the solutions are very complex. Sorry, no short answer.
The best defense
Dear Short Answers >> In the small town where I live, I have a large group of friends. Some of us are single, others are married (or on their second or third marriage). A couple of them have started to hint that they would like to introduce "sex" into the group. I'm not exactly sure what they are talking about — but I think they mean spouse-swapping or maybe even something stranger. All I know is that I want no part of it.
No one has come right out and asked me to have sex. But the conversation is getting dangerously close to that. Have these people all gone crazy? If this actually happens, the group will never be the same and I will lose some very good friends. How do I head this off at the pass?
DEAR WORRIED >> Affect a look of total boredom if the subject comes up more overtly and change the subject. Don't apologize, don't explain, don't reprimand.
Dear Short Answers >> As my husband has gotten older (he's in his 70s now), he has started to ignore his personal hygiene. He goes out in public with stains on his clothing and actually smells bad at times.
I'm sure it's because he can't see or smell as well as he used to so he just doesn't notice. But I do and I'm sure everyone he meets does as well.
I have mentioned this to him, but he tells me that I'm wrong and just being overly sensitive. Whenever I can, I wash his clothes but I can't stop him from taking dirty clothes out of the hamper and putting them on. He is an adult, after all. Should I just give up and let him wear what he wants?
DEAR WIFE >> We are of the view that one of the rights and responsibilities of marriage is protecting the other from avoidable signs of aging — poor hygiene, grooming and dirty glasses all signal impending decrepitude. Tell him that even if he doesn't care, you do and that you expect him to check you out before leaving the house.
A paper in hand is worth two in the bush
Dear Short Answers >> I forgot to tip the paper boy at Christmas ... is it too late? And now my paper is always in the bushes.
DEAR SORREEE >> It's never to late to say "thank you," which is what a Christmas tip is about. (Actually, it's never too late to say whatever you've been meaning to say to anyone.)