Dear Angry Sister in London,
I think you should call up your sister and praise her. Your father is teaching his grandchildren that it is OK to be a mean, nasty drunk. She rightfully refused to watch her husband getting torn down in front of his own children. Could she have been less dramatic and more polite while making her point? Most likely. But as a mother bear, she was right to defend her den. “Defend yourself from those who attack you” was broadcast on Italian radio after Italy switched sides in WWII, and it is still good advice for everyone. It is not only minority-interest groups who are allowed to make a fuss about fair treatment!
Your father should know by now that if he wants to be a crotchety drunk, he has to spread out the abuse to include all guests. It is unfair to single out one person; let everyone join in the family fun. From time to time, a family can put up with a grumpy grandfather who is mean to everyone. But a grumpy grandfather who focuses on one victim should expect retaliation from his prey.
Sometimes things happen, and one of them was that on an impulse I left my husband. He did not take it well. I reconsidered my action and offered to move back in with him as his housekeeper. I said I would take care of him, but without the added requirement of conjugal relations. To my surprise, he turned me down and filed for divorce. Now I don’t know what to do. He needs a housekeeper, and I need a place to stay.
—Bewildered Helpmeet in Hanover
Dear Bewildered Helpmeet,
Things don’t just happen. You don’t just happen to leave your husband. It is like saying that you just happened to have sex with a person because you tripped and fell on top of them.
People don’t leave husbands “on impulse.” What part of the story are you hiding? Something tells me you ran away for some fast-talking Romeo who then dumped you, and now you’re stuck in the middle holding an empty bag and are too humiliated to admit it. Whatever sort of impulse-control problem you have, even Wikipedia will tell you that “The ability to control impulses, or more specifically control the desire to act on them, is an important factor in personality and socialization.” Translation: You will have no friends and no long-lasting relationships if you can’t control your urges.
Maybe—just maybe—your husband could have forgiven your capriciousness if you’d also offered to come back as a sex slave, but a housekeeper “without the added requirement of conjugal relations” will only attract middle-aged closeted homosexuals in Northern Ireland.
Please write to Delphi at firstname.lastname@example.org
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