Friday, December 23, 2005

Ask Mrs. Linklater "DEATH IS AN OPTION" Edition

Mrs. Linklater is no stranger to performing good deeds -- some of which are considered acts of mercy and cannot be included here. The deeds she performs here are to protect the unwary public from advice columnists by offering her candid responses to their often misguided advice. How convenient that she offers her selfless second opinion at the self titled Ask Mrs. Linklater, so that all ye who are heavy laden, or just big boned, can find solace from her skillful dissection of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Dear Abby: Please explain the saying, "No good deed goes unpunished." I have heard it many times, but can't imagine where it comes from.
-- Curious in Georgia

Dear Curious: It is usually uttered when someone has tried to do something for someone else, and instead of being grateful for it, the recipient finds fault or resents it.

Mrs. Linklater snorts milk through her nose remembering all the news items describing good deeds that turned into misdemeanors or much worse. Finding fault, resentment, or even a complete lack of gratefulness hardly begins to describe the consequences that can screw up the lives of those whose sense of doing goodness overwhelms their good sense.

NOTE TO ABBY: This isn't about surprising a friend by generously painting their kitchen while they're on vacation and having them get all huffy because you chose lavendar.

This is more like the kind soul who pulls over to aid a helpless old lady who has to change her flat tire on the highway. Unfortunately said kind soul soon finds himself dead when he's killed by a careless passing motorist while tightening the lugnuts. Good deed -- PUNISHED.

There are entire professions devoted to living by the No Good Deed Goes Unpunished mantra. Obviously that would include firefighters, police officers, members of our armed forces -- you can probably see a pattern here. GAZILLIONS of Good Deeds -- ALL PUNISHED.

Your mother is another fine example of the Good Deeds Guarantee Plenty of Punishment rule. While most, but by no means all, of a mother's good deeds do not end in death, destruction of her property, ruination of her financial security, and undermining of her health no doubt happened on your watch at some point.

If dismay and disappointment were the only effects of good deeds, there would be more good Samaritans living among us. Now good deeds require plenty of cash and a comprehensive retirement plan.

Mrs. Linklater feels safe performing her acts of goodness without regard for her life only because there is an internet separating your sorry ass from hers and she can delete any comments she doesn't like.

Na na na na na.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Mrs. Linklater has noticed a double standard in this Women Can Have It All world. Men can be forgiven for being messy. Women
don't get a pass.

No matter how accomplished a woman is, if you can leave a few footprints in the dust on her coffee table, she's a failure as a human being.

Not only does the world put dirty dishes, messy closets, and dust fuzzies on her permanent record, but her own mother will rat her out.

Why is it, no matter how many times a woman is told to be all she can be, if Mom stops by and finds a couple of mushrooms growing in the clothes left on the floor, she'll call a therapist, or worse, write to an advice columnist about her daughter's "problem." Sheesh, maybe she was just growing a few fungi for a tossed salad.

Mrs. Linklater would like to take the toilet brush to this tattletale mom, but she used it to clean her car tires.

Published December 3, 2005

Dear Amy: I have a daughter who is married and has a child with another child due soon.

They have been married for four years. They lived in an apartment until last year, when they built a large home.

When they lived in the apartment, my daughter always commented that her apartment was so messy because there was no room. Now she has a large house and it is worse than before. There are dirty dishes in most of the rooms, food on the floor, clothes everywhere and toys scattered throughout. She does not seem to want to clean or keep the house in a nice condition.

I cannot tell you when the last time was that she cleaned the house. She worries about insects and other pests getting in. I have told her that she needs to keep the house cleaner in order to avoid unwanted pests, but it does not seem to do any good.

People tell me that it is none of my business and if they want to live like that, then I need to let them. I am only concerned for my grandson and for them having problems with their house. I am looking for suggestions to motivate my daughter to clean up a little better.

Her husband works and then comes home to cook the meals.

-- Concerned Mom

Dear Mom: There are a number of factors that could contribute to your daughter's messy habits. She could be depressed and/or overwhelmed by family life. Studies have established a connection between people who have ADHD and "hoarding" behavior, so treatment for ADHD can help hoarders control their problem.

Your daughter's house-cleaning isn't likely to improve once she has her second baby. Perhaps she would be open to having someone come in to help with the cleaning. Having cleaning help even twice a month would help her get a handle on the house.

You could help out by offering to do the cleaning yourself, or by paying for some sessions of cleaning help, as a gift.

Otherwise, you might point your daughter toward The "Flylady" shares common-sense cleaning and folksy organizing tips, meant for people who are overwhelmed and don't know where or how to start cleaning.

So, Amy, how clean is your house? Huh? Huh? Any yogurt lids in your bedside drawer?

In support of women who remember when landing a plane in the hanger had nothing to do with feeding a baby, Mrs. Linklater socks it to this meddlesome, unsupportive mother not once, but twice:

First a quickie: Back off, bitch!

Second, something longer and harder:

Just because your daughter isn't cleaning up to your neatfreak standards, that doesn't mean she is suffering from OCD, depression, or needs tips from Consider the facts:

1. She is a mom with two babies to care for.
2. She lives in a large house.
3. She doesn't have any cleaning help.
4. She doesn't have a nanny or a babysitter for the chidlren.

This young mother doesn't have psychological problems. She has a psycho for a mother. That would be YOU.

Mrs. Linklater knows that you and everybody else gave her husband a million points for coming home to cook dinner. You did, didn't you? Hey, anybody can microwave!!!

Which one of you Judge Hatchetts nodded your head in agreement with mom's concern about her daughter's housecleaning? You know who you are. Mrs. Linklater is tracking you down even as we speak.

Meanwhile how many points did anybody hand out to the daughter for probably giving up her career to stay home with two babies, deal with a big house, and get by with NO HELP? Can you count to zero?

WELL, SHAME ON ALL OF YOU!!! May all your vacuum cleaners choke on a hair ball.

Just because a woman can have it all, doesn't mean she should have to DO IT ALL.

If this young family has enough money for a large house, they should have enough money for a nanny or a babysitter.

They have should enough money for cleaning help once a week. Not twice a month.

And Dad can do more than dinner - he can do the dishes, the laundry, and put the kids to bed, too.

Over the years Mrs. Linklater has noticed a disturbing trend. When she was growing up Moms stayed home with their children. Even then, middle class families could afford cleaning help twice a week. That's why mothers wore dresses. They had time to take a bath and look nice. They had time to enjoy cooking.

Why is it, the more accomplished a woman has become, the more she is expected to do. The bigger the house, the better she's supposed to be at keeping it clean and decorated.

Without any help.

That's what's depressing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ask Mrs. Linklater POKER FACE Edition

Sometimes Mrs. Linklater wants to scream at the people who are stupid enough to play poker on the internet, but today she would rather scream at the people who were stupid enough to write to advice columnists because they were stupid enough to fall in love while playing poker on the internet. HEY, YOU ARE SO STUPID!! Of course, she means that in a concerned and caring way.

When it comes to internet relationships of the love or poker playing kind, Mrs. L thinks men fall in love faster online than anywhere for any reason.

A twenty year old headshot with a forty year old hairdo and good typing skills is about all it takes to get a proposal from Mr. Lonely. Women are more gullible, however. You can tell a woman you're a short, heavy version of Vince Vaughn with less hair or you drive a five year old Toyota Corolla that looks like a Corvette from the right angle, and she'll fly you to Vegas.

Meanwhile, here's today's tragic tale with Mrs. Linklater's opinion following right behind Amy's behind.

Published November 30, 2005 Chicago Tribune

Dear Amy: I need advice on what is happening in my life. Eight months ago, I joined an online poker site to unwind from work.

I met a lady on this site. It started out innocently enough. We'd meet at the tables and do some flirting back and forth. We started trading information. She's a little older than I am. She has two kids -- one in college.

For a couple of months, I thought she was either divorced or widowed and lonely, because we started to get more intimate (if that is the right word) on the chat. We'd make plans to meet and run off to Vegas. Then one evening she let me know that she was still happily married. She said that she was sorry, but she hadn't felt like this for some time. I made her feel like she was in high school again.

I haven't felt like this in a long time either. I really love her, even though we have never met in person. We decided to step back, and she was going to work on things with her hubby. We also decided to try and stay friends, a little poker now and then and flirting with other people on the poker site. But things have started heating up again.

We don't know what to do. We don't want to lose the other, but we know this can't go on as is. Can you help us?

-- Poker Face

Dear Poker Face: Poker is a game that rewards craftiness, feints and deceit.

Love, however, is not a game. Love needs honesty and integrity to grow.

I feel the need to point out the obvious -- that your love object might not be a married woman with two kids in college. She might be a middle-age long-haul trucker named "Manny" who enjoys messing with you.

Internet "relationships" are so enticing because we can invent our own identities and hide our weaknesses and insecurities. You don't love her. She doesn't love you. This entire relationship is an invention.

If you can only develop relationships in the virtual world that you can't develop in the actual world, then you have a problem larger than whether you and your poker buddy love each other.

The Web can be highly addictive, and the consequences of Internet addictions are similar to other addictions. This addiction would be hard to break without help, and I hope that you will recognize this problem and decide to do something about it.

Mrs. Linklater yells from the bathroom where she is removing unslightly blemishes with a flamethrower.

"Yo, Poker Face -- TURN OFF THE COMPUTER!!"

Sometimes this job is a little too easy.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Ask Mrs. Linklater MONKEY POOP Edition

Mrs. Linklater was shocked to learn of the misinformation foisted on small children by their parents. She can feel the pain of this conscientious zookeeper who is upset when dumb old Mom or Dad is so ignorant they don't know a Horses Assaronious from a Dumb Assaronious. Dear Abby's advice is that we should all learn to say, "I don't know." But Mrs. L thinks we all ought to follow Steve Martin's sage wisdom and simply say, "I forgot."

Published November 18, 2005

Dear Abby: I work at a large zoo, in the children's zoo department. I cannot count the number of timesI have heard parents lie to their child about the animals they are observing.

In an enclosure with several species of animal, for example, they will tell their child that pygmy species (smaller than non-pygmy when full-grown) are actually babies of large animals. I have also seen them give incorrect information about animal behavior, diet and habitat.

These parents should respect their child enough to admit that they sometimes don't know the answer. If you don't know the answer, ask a keeper. We are usually on hand and don't mind talking about the animals we love and interact with daily. It pains us to hear parents provide misinformation to children.

-- Keeper in the East

Dear Keeper: It does a child a grave disservice to give him or her misinformation. Children are little vessels. If you fill their heads with nonsense, they'll pour it forth at a later date -- embarrassing themselves in front of friends or in the classroom.

It seems that one of the most difficult phrases in the English language for people to utter is, "I don't know." Perhaps that's because they are afraid it will make them appear stupid, so they try to fill the vacuum by saying something -- a mistake. A more constructive approach is to say, "I don't know, but I'll help you get the answer," especially when talking to a child.

Zoos were created for the purpose of education, conversation, recreation and research. When visiting a zoo, if you have a question, you should ask a zookeeper or a docent, if one is provided.

Mrs. Linklater leaps up from her spot under the bridge. Holy pygmy rhino, Ms. Zookeeper, have you been sniffing the monkey kibble? Parents have been lying to their children since they asked where babies came from. What's wrong with making up a story about why elephants have trunks? Kids love to tell Mom and Dad they're wrong.

Mo-o-o-m, elephants don't buy their trunks at Sears! What a perfect time for a parent to feign shock and ignorance, then invoke the Steve Martin mantra -- "I forgot." Your children love it when they can know more than you do. Isn't that the real lesson for them to learn at the zoo?

As for you Abby, zoos aren't for education, recreation, research, etc., etc. Zoos are for bears that sit up and eat marshmallows. Elephants that crush watermelons. Monkeys that throw poop. And parents who make up crazy stories about strange and exotic creatures. Yes, that's a real snuffalupagus, Susie.

Basically are you two sticklers for truth saying Mrs. Linklater and her ilk can't tell the kiddies that a camel is a horse made by a committee anymore? You're no fun.

So when we see baboons copulating or, ahem, other gratifying behaviors, you want us to DESCRIBE THEM honestly and truthfully? Well, honey, even though they're monkeys, the scientists call that doggy style.

Actually, on reflection, Mrs. L thinks you two zoo twits may both may be right after all. It IS better to find a zookeeper and ask her what the heck they're doing. Just to see the look on her face.

Meanwhile, I have to get this monkey shine off my jacket.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Ask Mrs. Linklater TUB O' GUTS Edition

Mrs. Linklater loves it when hubby finally puts down the remote and declares himself a disaster area. And then starts pointing the finger at wifey-poo like it was her fault for his bad self all along. Looks like it's crack the whip time here in Mrs. L-Town. While she's looking for her leather bustier and thigh high boots, you can read what advice Miss Ellie suggested as a solution to this marital monkey bidness.

BY ELLIE TESHER Publiched in the Chicago Sun-Times November 19, 2005

DEAR ELLIE: I'm 57, and I haven't had physical relations with my wife in 14 years. I've been getting therapy for depression, and I've started a lifestyle change. I've lost a lot of weight, and my libido has improved along with my energy.

However, I no longer find my wife attractive, as she's gained a lot of weight over many years. When we met, I told her I wasn't attracted to heavy women. She gave up trying to hold her weight down. Now she's working out with me four days a week but not making much progress.

My therapist said to develop a network of friends, but I have a hard time making male friends. So I've tried to make female friends, but this upsets my wife. I don't know what to do.


DEAR CHANGING: First, put down your bag of excuses and defenses. That should make your situation easier to grasp.

Your lifestyle change for better health, energy and mood is good news. Expecting your wife to change and catch up immediately is just plain unfair. Women have a harder time losing weight -- they put it on in different places and need longer periods of behavior change in diet, exercise and nutrition -- than men.

Unless you give her encouragement for trying -- rather than rejection -- it's that much harder for her. It seems you believe it was OK to give up sex when you chose. Now, saying you're "not attracted" sounds to me like yet another punitive rebuff. Talk to your therapist about how you relate to your wife.

In my opinion, you may need friends, but you also need to work on repairing this marriage that you've neglected too long.

Mrs. Linklater cracks her original Lash LaRue hand tooled leather whip. CRACK.
Take that you friendless former Fatboy. You lose a little weight and think you're God's gift, huh?

Mrs. L especially loves it when husbands like this newly slim Jim claim,"I haven't had relations with my wife in fourteen years." Are you bragging or something, Lover Boy?

Doesn't sound like she's been DYING to have sex with YOU either, Flabio. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! If you're like many husbands who complain about not being attracted to their spouses, your Rollover Beethoven technique probably got old pretty early.

So on some level she listened to what you said about not liking fat women and said, "Hey, If I can keep this bozo away from me with a few bags of Oreos, it'll be worth it." Worked didn't it? Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't you FAT too?

Meanwhile, your therapist has encouraged you to create a network of friends, now that you're feeling more friendly. But despite your best efforts they're all females? Where are you hanging out? Chat rooms? How's that combover working for you?

You married someone who was willing to put up with your no fun self for all this time. Now that you're getting sleek and feeling sassy you want a do-over? So typical.

You're a work in progress. Half-baked at best. Don't jump off the train when you're only halfway to the destination.

Mrs. Linklater sounds so zen sometimes.

Okay, gotta get out of this bustier, it's chafing. And these boots are killing my feet.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mrs. Linklater Kicks Butt In A New Place

Mrs. Linklater has been kicking butt wherever she finds it. Now she's here.

She is going to devote this blog to taking on advice columnists. For years she wondered what her life's work would be. Making fudge in a beachtown? Not a chance. Removing shoelaces from old Nike waffle trainers? It didn't happen. Working in a bikini wax factory? Unlikely.

Until one day a girlfriend called her for advice about something her child did. Her friend had already asked everyone else what to do. She was beside herself, convinced she had raised a criminal for a son. Needless to say, the actual transgression is lost to history, but Mrs. Linklater was inspired to suggest a trip to Dairy Queen for a chocolate sundae as "punishment."

She thinks that the trouble with most families is not enough chocolate sundae time with your kids. A little whipped cream. A cherry or two. Imagine the look on a juvenile delinquent's face when you don't ground them for life, you take them for a chocolate sundae.

Use your time together to review Class X felonies and their prison terms, if you feel the need. Or ask them about their friends, their schoolwork, what they're interested in, what they look for in a good parent, stuff like that. Your angry, snarling, grunting, misbehaving child may be stunned into having a conversation with you. The kind where he talks, then you talk, then he talks, you talk, remember?

Instead of those one-sided monologues you're used to.

Mrs. Linklater's friend was ecstatic. She loved chocolate sundaes.

Immediately, Mrs. Linklater realized she was on to something. This early success led her to read Dear Abby and the rest of that fraternity of females over forty to see if she agreed with their advice. After reading several disappointing columns, she decided what the world really needed was a second opinion. Hers.

And she couldn't wait to provide it. So she will be offering her take on the advice those garrulous girls in the newspapers dish out. When she can tear herself away from the fridge.