Short Answers: Disgusting habit turns stomach


Dear Short Answers >> I have a friend who goes out to lunch with me and after her meal, she takes out a toothpick or a floss stick and begins to pick at her teeth. It turns my stomach as I sit across from her. Am I wrong to be grossed out?

— Totally Nauseated

DEAR TN >> Sometimes you are so right, it needs no further explanation.

You're right. So what?

Dear Short Answers >> My brother-in-law is 53 and has been an alcoholic for 15 years. He has been arrested, in jail, and homeless. He has no job. His wife left him and his kids won't acknowledge that he is alive. But my husband (his brother) continues to try to help by bailing him out, cleaning him up and sending him money. The only reason he does this is so that Tom (the drunk) won't die before their mother does. But I want my husband to stop. It is tearing him apart inside. We live 1,000 miles away from Tom, so like his wife and kids, we can pretend he doesn't exist. What do you think?

— Sick of It

DEAR SICK >> On every rational level, you are right. Helping Tom is enabling all that ails him. However, we suspect your husband knows this and can't make his heart listen to his head. Hard to watch, but we suggest you leave it alone because you are unlikely to effect the outcome.

Go with the flow

Dear Short Answers >> I hate "token gifts." I'm an all-or-nothing kind of guy, but friends and relatives seem to prefer giving and getting some piece of junk. I would rather get or give something significant — or skip the whole thing. What should I do? Roll over or hide through all the birthdays, holidays and other gift-giving occasions?

— Bah!

DEAR BAH >> We get it, but in this case, you should follow the traditions of your friends and family. If you give it some constructive thought, inexpensive or homemade gifts can be fun to ferret out and can be useful or perhaps amusing. And if it makes you feel better — go crazy with gift wrapping.

Recipe for heartache

Dear Short Answers >> Is it possible to be friends with your ex?

— Missing Her

DEAR MISSING >> No. Although there are some exceptions, friendship with an ex is a very risky proposition. There is something inherently unbalanced in the relationship. One party is likely to be needier or more vulnerable and the designation "ex" is the elephant in the room. Person A is not the answer for Person B. This has already been established. Make new friends.


Dear Short Answers >> What do you think about Facebook?

— User

DEAR USER >> This is not something we think about — do it or don't do it.


Dear Short Answers >> How many bones in the human body?

— Billy, the Boy

DEAR BILLY >> Plenty. Only seems to matter when you have a broken one — and not always then, either.

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