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.
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.