Saturday, July 07, 2012

Ask Mrs. Linklater "GRUMPY GRANDPA" Edition

Oh, how it pains Mrs. Linklater to discover that it's still illegal to dip vindictive grandparents in hot tar and coat them with chicken feathers. But that's why nursing homes were invented. Meanwhile, before setting Amy's whacked-out-wisdom up in flames, Mrs. L must first unstick her butt from the plastic beanbag chair she recently rescued from a dumpster she was diving. Ever the accommodating hostess, she will graciously step aside to allow Amy to display her latest miscarriage of advice, right here in public. 

June 29, 2012 • Ask Amy/Chicago Tribune
Dear Amy: I have a 26-year-old daughter that my father has decided to disown because she forgot to thank him for his $25 Christmas check. My father knows all of this. My daughter graduated from law school last fall and is also into competitive boxing which takes a lot of time (my fault).
She crams 40 hours in a 24-hour day. Lots of things go undone in her life.
However, my father will not cut her any slack.
I love my daughter very much and we are very close.
When a gift is given, an official and timely "thank you" is required.
I'm on good terms with my father but don't know how to deal with his bullheadedness on this issue.
My sister and I take turns taking care of Dad (taking him to doctor's appointments, etc.).
If I abandon that duty, my sister will be overwhelmed. What to do?
— Loyal Daughter and Mom
Dear Loyal: Rather than cut off your relationship with your father, how about you suggest to your daughter that she needs to step up?
All of your excuses are running in the wrong direction.
You should say to your daughter, "Look, your grandfather is older. He might even be a little bullheaded. But for goodness sake, cut the guy a break and just say thank you! It is rude, tacky, ungracious and wrong not to thank someone for a gift. And it takes two minutes."
Your message to your father should be, "Dad, I'm embarrassed about this. I can't offer excuses. I wish she was different, but it seems like she's stubborn — like you!"
After that, both parties should be responsible for their relationship.

Sit down, Amy, you missed the boat. Mrs. Linklater thinks this whole sad episode went off the rails with Mom's first sentence:

         "I have a 26-year-old daughter that my father has decided to disown because she forgot to thank him for his $25 Christmas check."

         So this is all about a $25 Christmas check? Really. Twenty-five bucks, Grandpa? For what? Bus tokens? Extra tampons? Five gallons of gas? $25 ain't exactly Donald Trump money, considering you're going to "disown" your allegedly ungrateful granddaughter for not saying "Thank you" in a manner you deem appropriate for a man of your supposed stature. Seriously, $25 is not even one dollar for each year of her life. Mrs. Linklater's own frugal grandma managed to pony up that much for seven grandkids out of her tiny Social Security check. 
         Not that Mrs. L thinks one should ignore anybody's gift. But American grandchildren have been ignoring their grandparents for generations. It was a national pastime until Grandma and Grandpa got SKYPE and starting tracking down their thankless loved ones. 
         So, join the crowd. 
         But wait just a frickin' minute here, you chintzy old fart. Disowning your granddaughter implies that she could be one of your "heirs." And the last time Mrs. L looked, it's hard to qualify as an "heir" unless there's considerably more than $25 to inherit.
         Which makes you one helluva stingy bastard in the Christmas check department.
         And speaking of stingy, there's no mention of you sending your granddaughter ANYTHING for graduating from law school. Did you even call to congratulate her? Or take her out to dinner to celebrate? 
         If your $25 Christmas check is any indication, chances are you didn't donate a penny to offset her $100,000+ law school costs, which she probably paid for herself with scholarships, loans and endless jobs waiting tables. So your $25 may have left her in shock. Because it was such a thankless amount. 
        Perhaps it's time to cut her some slack instead of sitting there, steaming like the miserly pile of shinola that you are. Get over it, or get somebody else to drive you to your doctor's appointments. 
        Who knows? Maybe a note of thanks will arrive tomorrow. With your check inside. And a message from your granddaughter, "No thanks, Gramps. You need this more than I do."  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ask Mrs. Linklater "PARTY POOPER" Edition

At the request of Homeland Security, Mrs. Linklater has been keeping her opinions to herself lately. Staying out of trouble becomes a full time job when you're sixty-eight and living on borrowed estrogen. Just keeping her new hips bright and shiny can waste most of the morning. [Amazing who keeps asking to take them out for a test drive.] Meanwhile, the silly siren calls of the yadda-yadda sisterhood [plus Dr. Phil] have been making so much noxious noise lately, Mrs. L feels compelled, once more, to revisit her old haunts and hand out some serious bitch slaps. Time to restore order around here. Needless to say, she's rounded up one of her usual suspects, that madwoman of monumentally annoying advice, Dear Abby herself. So put on your Spanx, Abarama, and LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!

DEAR ABBY: I just celebrated my 80th birthday at a party with 22 of my dearest friends. I also invited my daughter-in-law, "Sydney," and her mother.

The problem is, I didn't invite my 8-year-old granddaughter. I explained that I felt she wouldn't enjoy herself with all of us senior women. Sydney disagreed.

I then suggested perhaps it would be better if I had a dinner party for the entire family the following evening (on my actual birthday) at a fine dining restaurant. In retaliation for my not inviting my granddaughter, Sydney declined the dinner invitation, although all other family members attended. My "punishment" was not to receive a birthday present from her.

Was I wrong not to invite my granddaughter to a party with my 80-year-old friends? -- TRIED TO BE CONSIDERATE

DEAR TRIED: I don't think so. You were being considerate of your granddaughter's feelings. Had she attended, she would have been bored, and one of your guests or her mother and grandmother would have had to entertain her. Frankly, it would have been a distraction from the celebration. That your daughter-in-law would be so petulant as to "punish" you for making the intelligent choice you did indicates that she has some growing up to do. You owe no one any apologies; Sydney does.

Just a minute, Polident breath. Mrs. Linklater knows in her heart of hearts that the rest of the world thinks you've struck a winning blow for the rights of a bunch of 80-year-old biddies to sit around and drink Baileys until they're falling off their walkers -- without having any annoying grandchildren around to witness the frightening spectacle. 
           On the other hand, Mrs. Linklater will bet her granny pants that this little episode has NOTHING to do with a child being bored. And everything to do with a grandmother who can barely tolerate children. Which is why Mrs. Linklater is so sorry that this selfish, mean-spirited senior citizen couldn't invite her granddaughter to one of the few birthday parties she has left -- especially if the young girl's mother was also invited to provide adult supervision. 
          Unless this eight-year-old girl is tattooed and pregnant, Mrs. L is thinking she would have made a charming addition to the occasion. And considerable entertainment for the guests. 
          In fact, the generous, kind, and always caring Mrs. Linklater would have bought her own granddaughter [if she ever has one] a lovely new dress to wear, perhaps some new shoes, a cute little purse, and a pair of darling white gloves, with a special request that she be Mrs. L's personal helper on this momentous birthday. 
          The experience would create a memory so wonderful, it would last all her life. [Mrs. Linklater almost made herself cry with that one.] 
          How fun for the little girl to bring the guests their plates of cookies or pieces of cake in between their endless Irish coffees and Long Island iced teas. Seriously, what grandparent wouldn't be thrilled to show off a young granddaughter of any age to her friends!! Apparently, not this one. 
          From where Mrs. L sits, snooty old grammy can take her friends and shove it. Sorry, Abs, the "family party" sounds like a lame attempt to keep the kid away from the really meaningful birthday gathering. Mrs. L sides with Sydney, the granddaughter's mom on this one. Even though Sydney sounds like a royal bitch in her own right. But that's for another day.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Ask Mrs. Linklater "BLOW LUNCH" Edition

    Mrs. Linklater realizes that some people may have felt shortchanged by the previous entry. By now you must know that she doesn't really give a crap about your feelings, but, since she's trying to impress the people at ChicagoNow, she'll fake it till she makes it. So, in an attempt to give you, her dear and loyal readers, more value for the sticky quarters in your pocket, she takes another crack at Washington Post's paid adviser to anyone who needs to get a life -- Ms. Carolyn Hax and her relationship cartoonist, Nick with the long Greek last name. Just to show that Mrs. L has no hard feelings because she has to work for food free, here's another one of Nick's cartoons that has nothing to do with Ms. Hax's advice:
Dear Carolyn:
     This feels like an absurdly specific question, but it's a kind of question about courtesy that I have sometimes. I'm in college; sometimes, after class, a friend and I have lunch together. Her boyfriend lives near the cafeteria, so my friend tells me to go ahead while she uses the boyfriend's bathroom and fetches him to have lunch with us. The problem is that, often, I've been completely done with my meal by the time they show up. She always apologizes for keeping me waiting, but then it happens again. (I gather that the delays are caused either by spontaneous make-outs or by her coaxing him out of a bad mood to come to lunch.) I find this more annoying than I feel I should.
      My friend is normally the most considerate, courteous person I know; she would be mortified if I told her how cranky I get waiting for her. The thing is, even if I were to bring it up, I have no idea how I'd even phrase it. I don't want to embarrass her by bringing it up spontaneously when the boyfriend is there, but it seems weird to be all planning and calculating to tell her later, "You know how sometimes it takes you a while to get X from his room? I find that irritating." Part of me thinks I should forgive her this one thing, but the other part is repeatedly sitting alone at lunch, wondering when my friend will join me. I cannot believe how much brain real-estate this is taking up, but I just don't know how to handle it.
      Carolyn responds:
Yikes. Next time she tells you to go ahead without her, say, "Why don't you just call him? Otherwise I end up eating alone while I wait." You can also just leave when you finish your lunch.
That's for you. For your friend, if she happens to read this:
1. Stop "coaxing" your boyfriend out of a "bad mood." When you take it upon yourself to manage someone's emotions like that, you might as well be diapering a baby. (Alas, babies eventually grow out of diapers, where big babies often don't outgrow their enablers.)
2. Stop ditching your friend to go make out! Cheez. Either excuse yourself from the lunch date, or skip the boyfriend out of respect for your friend -- who needs to grow a spine, but who also, in the meantime, isn't going to tell you how rude and annoying she finds your little he-tours.

Good heavens, Carolyn, Mrs. Linklater is aghast. Have you ever noticed how "aghast" kind of looks like what it means? Sort of scary and appalled. "Agh" even sounds painful. And "ghast" is almost like ghost. Cosmic. Don't you think? No? Well, clearly Mrs. L is somewhat off topic and she doesn't want to waste any more of her dear and loyal readers' time. Has she referred to those of you who can read as "dear and loyal" enough, yet? 
       Back to hammering at the sad and pathetic advice of Carolyn Hax. [Hey, she's got an "ax" in her name.] Mrs. Linklater can't help but notice that Ms. Hax refuses to leave well enough alone. She spreads her advice around like mayonnaise at a picnic, insisting on sharing what passes for wisdom to not just one, but both of these ditzy coeds. While you're at it, how about telling the boyfriend he's a dick? Might as well include everyone. 
      Okay, let's get this over with. Dear College Girl Who Doesn't Know What To Say To Her Friend When She Asks Her To Go To Lunch And Then Leaves Her Alone So She Can Fart Around With Her Boyfriend And Use His Bathroom -- the next time you get an invite "JUST SAY NO!!!" 
      Sometimes Mrs. Linklater is the soul of brevity. Other times, not so much. 

Monday, March 08, 2010

Ask Mrs. Linklater "TATS ON YOUR BACK" Edition

Mrs. Linklater had hoped to announce that she had been chosen as one of the 4000 columnists at ChicagoNow, but, n-o-o-o-o, that's not going to happen anytime soon. Apparently she has to start posting in a more regular manner. More than every five weeks or so. Well, same to you, bitch. Geez. It sure ain't easy bein' me.
      But instead of crying in her Mrs. H.S. Ball's South African peach chutney, Mrs. Linklater will simply tough it out like the semi-professional she is. 
      Shake it off, Mrs. L. 
      All right, let's do this. Today Mrs. Linklater takes on Carolyn Hax who writes for the Washington Post. Ms. Hax is such a fancy advice maven that she also has her own "relationship cartoonist."  Who knew? Apparently he draws things that have no relevance to the advice Ms. Hax is handing out.
This seems to be an annoyed person checking the time. 

Dear Carolyn:
     Please help me figure out what to say to my sister, who got a tattoo yesterday. I have two myself, so I have no problem with tattoos. However, hers is HUGE. Big-black-lettering-on-her-back huge. I think it's awful but she loves it and keeps asking, "Isn't it great? Don'tcha love it?" My only response thus far is, "Wow, it's bigger than I imagined."
     Carolyn responds:
"You love it, right?" [She presumably says yes.] "Then that's awesome." Or, "It's a real statement." Or, "I love how happy you are."
Find a happy truth, then repeat as needed.

Mrs. Linklater steps up to the plate, takes a couple of swings and hits one out of the park:
     Ya know Carolyn, that advice just plain sucks. 

     Okay, we're done here. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ask Mrs. Linklater "CHEATING BASTARDS" Edition

Can't sleep? This book is better than Ambien.

Mrs. Linklater thinks there should be new categories created for the Big Book of Clever Names Psychiatrists Like to Call Your Crazy Uncle Bob, more formally known as the DSM [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders].  Why not get rid of arcane multi-syllabic descriptors like "schizophrenogenic" and use more familiar, family friendly terms? How about categories like Dicks, Schmucks and Mofos? With subheads that could include Cheating Bastards, Lying Bastards, Thieving Bastards, and in the Quentin Tarantino edition -- wait for it -- Inglourious Basterds. What? I can't make jokes? 

Today's advice abomination, which will be hosed down soon, is about a classic case of liar liar pants on fire.  Mrs. Linklater found it languishing at Dear Margo.  Margo, in case you don't know, is Ann Landers' daughter. She's also Dear Abby's niece. [Mrs. L is referring to the original Dear Abby, not the current Dear Abby, because the current Dear Abby is the former Dear Abby's daughter, which makes her Margo's cousin].
     Abby and Ann were sisters, identical twins, in fact, until Ann went and got a nosejob. Anyhoo, Margo has been married four times, maybe five, but who's counting? Mrs. Linklater likes to mention these things so you can estimate within a couple of inches the quality of expertise you're getting. But what the heck. It's free.

DEAR MARGO: I’ll bet you’ve heard this before, but it’s a first for me. While putting away my husband’s laundry, I came across a packet of letters shoved into the back corner of his drawer. They were in a rubber band, without envelopes. These were definitely love letters — some with lipstick kiss prints at the bottom, but not signed with a name. Because of a few references, I know they are relatively recent. None of them, however, referred to my husband by name, merely as "Darling" or "Babycakes." I decided against pretending I had not discovered them and handed the packet to my husband when he came home from work. He seemed quite nonplussed, then said they had nothing to do with him … that he was merely "keeping them for a friend." And I told him I was Marie of Rumania. I need to get to the bottom of this and would like your opinion as to whether I am jumping to conclusions. — HOPPING MAD

DEAR HOP: It would be a safe bet with a bookie that the conclusions you are jumping to are the correct ones. His excuse is on par with trying to convince you that a dinosaur died, standing up, in the museum of natural history. I would love to help your husband out and spare you some grief, but to quote Thoreau, "Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk." What you don’t know is whether there is a flirt going on or a full-fledged affair. I suggest you invite him to reconsider his explanation, cough up the truth and then decide, together, what this means for your marriage. You may find that a professional, neutral third party should be the "referee." Good luck. — MARGO, PERSUASIVELY

Mrs. Linklater, cleverly, points out to Margo that once you find a trout in the milk, size doesn't matter. It all smells fishy. 
     "Honey, I found a pile of love letters in your drawer all covered with lip prints. Is she a pen-pal or are you slipping your tubesocks into some hi-de-ho's groove thang?"
     "What do you mean by 'groove'?"
Margo, any guy stupid enough to think he can hide stuff in his sock drawer and then lie about it needs a major dose of Tough Love, Mrs. Linklater style.  Here it is:
     Divorce his sorry butt. 
     "Babycakes" has violated Mrs. Linklater's three strike rule. 
     Strike One: He cheated. Strike Two: He lied about it. Strike Three: He's so arrogant he couldn't be bothered to hide the evidence in a place where you would never find it.    
     The marriage is over. No matter how many fess ups, meaningful talks and neutral third parties you hire. 
     UNLESS. . .

     Unless he can actually return the love letters to the 'friend' he claimed he was keeping them for. Hand them over in your presence. In front of witnesses. Preferably at your attorney's office. On videotape [for the reality show].
     In an attempt to appear fair and balanced, Mrs. Linklater has learned there might be a chance of that happening.  But it's in small type and she can't read it. Something about Donald Trump's hair. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ask Mrs. Linklater "DR. PHIL" Edition

Fasten your seat belts, this one is the motherlode. 
     Mrs. Linklater is loathe to admit this publicly, but, uh, she likes all things Dr. Phil. Mrs. L likes his show, his kids, his wife, the whole nine yards. Even after he came clean about his alcoholic dad and his early marriage. All good. Except for one thing. That lame mustache. How's it working for you, big guy? Yeah, that's what YOU think. Not working for me. AT ALL. Never has, never will. [Especially after a picture of Dr. Phil's bare-naked face appeared on national television and it was obvious that he looks 100 percent better without it.] 
     Mrs. Linklater thinks he should also shave off what little hair is left on his chrome dome, but she has learned to fight one battle at a time. Or at least wait until she has better ammo. And air support. 
     Despite her prejudice against Dr. Phil's continued pursuit of things hirsute, Mrs. L doesn't think his advice stinks. And she's been trying to find something stupid he said for years. Really and truly. But so far, nothing. 
     Until now. For the first time EVER, Mrs. Linklater has found a chink in the good doctor's armor. You may not be aware, but besides his show, Dr. Phil is a regular contributor to O Magazine, i.e., the world according to Oprah. 
     At the end of each article, Mrs. Linklater discovered that the Philmeister writes something called "The Script of the Month." This is a speech he constructs for the terminally tongue-tied to say to an asshole who is making life a living hell
      That's when Mrs. Linklater realized she'd found Dr. Phil's Achilles' heel. In fact, as she was getting out of bed that morning, she stood up and said -- while smiling like Jack Nicholson that time he stuck his head through the door in The Shining --"Ahaaaaaa! Gotcha!" [Actually, he said "Here's Johnny!" But you get the idea.]
     Ever the polite adversary, Mrs. Linklater lets Dr. Phil go first [as if he had a choice]. In the November, 2009 issue of O, he attempts to help someone "Confronting A Rude Friend." A distressed reader writes:
     "I have a friend who often makes cutting remarks to me. Our husbands and children are friends, so avoiding her would likely just alienate me. For a while I thought she was jealous because I have a successful career and she didn't have a job. But she has worked for the past year, and her treatment toward me has worsened. The arrogant things that come out of her mouth leave me at a loss for words, but then later I fixate on what my reply should have been. I spend sleepless nights obsessing over my inability to tell her off. Please help." 
Here's Dr. Phil's Script of the Month about dealing with bullies:
     I have something to talk to you about, and I want you to hear me out before you respond. For some reason, you have given yourself permission to act rude, crude, and condescending toward me, and I don't know why. 
     What I do know is that I will not accept it from you for one more day. I can't expect you to change if I don't tell you how I feel, so that's what I'm doing now. You may disagree, and that's okay. But you need to understand that you are going to treat me with dignity or you're not going to treat me any way at all.
     I believe that when people show your kind of behavior, it's really based on pain and fear. If that's the case with you, I'm willing to talk to you about the underlying issue or to support you in anyway I can. But I am not willing to allow you to continue to abuse me. If you want to think about what I'm saying and respond when you're comfortable, that is fine with me. If you want to respond now -- without being abusive, then I'm happy to listen. And if you'd just like to declare this the end of our friendship, then so be it. If that's the case, I recognize it will also affect the relationship between our families, and I'm sorry for that. But our relationship as we have known it is over. My hope is that we can define a new one, but that's up to you. I await your response. 
Mrs. Linklater is sure everybody thinks that's got to be one helluva good script because Dr. Phil wrote it. Sorry, tongue-tied breath. First, it's too damned long. Second, it misses the point. Third, it's -- well, you get the idea. See what you think after Mrs. Linklater's has HER way with that freaking bully:
     Here's Mrs. L's first suggestion: WRITE AN EMAIL OR A LETTER. Think about it -- if you get tongue-tied, why are you TALKING to a bully when you're just going to freeze up again? Duh. TALK. LATER. With a letter/email you can put down the words exactly the way you want them. TALK. LATER. With a letter/email, there's no time wasted dealing with blowback. And you can both read what you wrote over and over again because it's all down in black and white.
      Something like this for instance: 
Dear Pusface Annoying Bully,
Our husbands are good friends. Our children are good friends. But I will no longer consider you a friend until the following changes in your unacceptable behavior toward me have been made: 
From now on, listen to yourself. Listen to what you say to me the moment it comes out of your mouth.
I'm tired of your insults, arrogance, and abuse.
I do not want to hear anything negative. 
I do not want to be ridiculed, belittled or made the butt of your jokes.
I do not want to listen to any more snide remarks about my career, my family, my clothes, my car, my house, my education, my cooking -- anything.
If there is nothing nice to say to me or about me, keep your mouth shut.
On the other hand, I do want and need your support and encouragement. I like compliments as much as the next person. 
If you can do this, I can consider friendship with you again. 
But if the cruel and unnecessary comments do not stop, I will not speak to you anymore.
Have a nice day.
Dr. Phil keeps missing the point in his script. He talks about expressing feelings, but then he doesn't. Instead he makes whiny accusations: ". . .you are going to treat me with dignity or you are not going to treat me at all, blah blah blah, rinse and repeat."
     Come on, Dr. Phil, psychology 101 -- YOU messages just make a bully defensive, "Huh? Whaddya mean? I do so treat you with with dignity, just like I treat all the other bitches around here." "No you don't." "Yes I do."
     He also wastes a bunch of time with psychobabble stuff like  "I believe that when people show your kind of behavior, it's really based on pain and fear." Seriously, Dr. Phil, the time for empathy is over. Who gives a crap WHY these people are acting like jerks?  The idea is to stop them once and for all. And the way to do that is to TELL them SPECIFICALLY what they're doing wrong. Most bullies are so emotionally clueless they often don't realize what they've done, until you lay it out one point at a time, the way the lovely Mrs. Linklater does in her far more useful script, which she summarizes this way: 
     "Say one more obnoxious thing to me and you die." 
     So, GAME OVER. This one goes to the charming and intelligent Mrs. Linklater. FINAL SCORE: Mrs. L, 1. Dr. Phil, O. Except for one thing. 
     Mrs. Linklater also realizes that both she and Dr. Phil are just kidding themselves with their attempts to change behavior using a cockamammy script. Because here's how the actual conversation would take place:
     *ring* *ring*
Bully: Hello.
Victim: Hello, Bully.
Bully: Oh, it's my favorite victim. What do you want? I'm too busy for one of your boring conversations.
Victim: I'm not boring. I'd like to talk about how you treat me.
Bully: Oh, please, I treat you like you deserve to be treated, loser.
Victim: I'm not a loser and I don't like being treated like one.
Bully: Loser, loser, loser.
Victim: Dammit, stop calling me names.
Bully: Like that's going to happen anytime soon.
Victim: Please, don't say mean things to me any more.
Bully: You're ugly and your mother dresses you funny.
Victim: Please don't do that.
Bully: Who's going to stop me. You?  Haaaaaa.
Bully: Oh boo hoo, you crybaby. 
Victim: [SOBBING]
Bully: Seriously. You are such a waste of time.

And so it goes. Another day. Another interpersonal triumph. A world without Mrs. Linklater is like a world without those colored sprinkles on your donuts.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ask Mrs. Linklater "DON'T TREAT ME LIKE AN 8-YEAR-OLD" Edition

From time to time even Mrs. Linklater becomes overwhelmed by the EEEEEWWWWWW Factor. Occasionally she discovers an advice column travesty that is so out of whack, so blatantly inappropriate, or just so gross that even she refuses to touch it with a stick. This, however, is not one of those times. Nope. This is just another day at Dear Abby, now written by her daughter, Dear Blabby.  To clean up the mess, Mrs. L slips on a pair of latex gloves, steps into her freshly pressed Hazmat suit and wades into the middle of this flaming pile of shinola, but only after the Blabmeister has had her chance to muck up everything first. You go girl!!!   

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old girl whose parents treat me like an 8-year-old. They not only refuse to let me see any movie that isn't G-rated, but they still cut my meat for me! Once a week we go to the park, and they still push me on the swings.
     I don't want to tell them it's embarrassing because I'm afraid I'll hurt their feelings. Please tell me how to convey to my parents that I'm not a child anymore. -- OLD ENOUGH IN VIRGINIA

DEAR OLD ENOUGH: Your parents mean well, but children who are overprotected to the extent you have been often become stunted in their development. Teens do not learn social skills and how to make appropriate choices when they are "supervised" to the extent you are.
     Tell your parents that you love them, but in three years you will be 18 and an adult. Explain that you know they love you, but if you are not allowed some freedom now, then you will be behind your peers because of your inexperience when you have reached an age when you'll be expected to make wise choices. Remind them that even children half your age are sufficiently coordinated that they can cut the food on their plates, and you would appreciate their allowing you to get some practice.
     If this doesn't help them let go, then ask another adult to help you deliver the message.

* THWACK * Mrs. Linklater slaps Dear Flabbablabba upside the back of her head like Leroy Jethro Gibbs smacks DiNozzo on NCIS.  Helloo-o-o-o-o?!?  She's FIF-FREAKING-TEEN and her parents STILL cut her meat into little pieces?  And what's with swinging her on the swings? Do they make her wear diapers and Winnie the Pooh jammies, too? I smell Children and Family Services. All of which begs the question -- do her parents treat her like an eight year old because she's the SIZE of an eight year old? Regardless, even if she's tiny, she's got fifteen years of vocabulary. "Mom, I realize that my knife and fork skills may not be up to your exacting standards, but touch my meat one more time and I will stab you." [Mrs. Linklater says you can interpret "meat" any way you want.]

    Frankly, whether this young woman is full-sized or pint-sized, Mrs. Linklater hasn't been this creeped out since that whole Pee Wee's Playhouse debacle. In fact, if her rapidly diminishing memory serves, Mrs. L was almost six feet tall when she herself was fifteen -- taller than her mother AND her father. What is it about NO, I'd rather do it myself that these people don't understand?
     On the chance that this girl looks remotely like an average fifteen year old female [if you catch Mrs. Linklater's thinly veiled reference to her nobbulas], she shouldn't be asking for more freedom, please, the way Abbablabba naively suggests.  As if parents who slice your meat when you're fifteen might actually be considered within the normal limits of ANYTHING. 
     This girl should be demanding barbed wire boundaries between herself and those truly icky people. Ptui.   
     AND -- in Mrs. Linklater's humble opinion, the only adults she should be going to for help ought to be locked and loaded. 
     Boy, it sure feels good when Mrs. L can bring loved ones together.