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Dear Crabby
by Mrs. Crabcakes - Ketchikan, Alaska
Monday - May 24, 2004

This column is strictly for entertainment purposes only and
is not intended to be taken to heart as serious advice.




I recently married "Harold" and we'll be having our first baby soon. I thought this would be the happiest time in our marriage, but so far it's turning into World War 3.

Harold never mentioned a word about this until I was pregnant, but now he says he plans to name the baby after his uncle and his grandfather. The grandfather died years ago. I hate both names, yet in the interest of peace I still tried to compromise. I thought we could use a first name we both liked, and use one of his 'chosen' names as a middle name.

Well, I had an ultrasound yesterday, and she said I am having a boy. Harold is not budging on the name. He said he's standing firm on the subject and could care less how I feel about it. He thinks paying 'tribute' to these people takes precedence over my wishes, or his baby's future feelings. (Believe me, these are awful 'family' names.) He is destroying any enjoyment I could be getting out of these last few months of my pregnancy.

Harold said he will sign the birth certificate whether I do or not, so the baby will have the names he chooses. I want to have some choice here; my son will live with this name his whole life. What do I do?





I can see it now. First grade roll call: Tommy Armstrong? Susie Ann Barlow? Sharon Carlton? Horace Dirkbincle Winslow?

Your first mistake was to marry a control freak (with such bad taste!) You mentioned the baby's feelings, your feelings, and how bad the names are, yet Harold (is it any wonder he doesn't recognize a bad name? Why does he think everyone calls him Harry?) remains inflexible.

Three things to remember:
If you give in and allow Harold to bully you on this, he will never stop.
If you give in, little Rasputin may hate you both.
If you give in then divorce Harold, you will hate yourself, and everyone will look at you funny each time you introduce little Thadeus.

Doesn't Harold know that most, if not all maternity nurses are women, and they will probably help you name the baby something normal? Enlist them in distracting him long enough to fill out the paperwork yourself. If I remember correctly, it isn't up to him, as many women come in alone to have babies. Not too many men do. Rarely will you find that the wife is out fishing when the man goes into labor. No, it is often the other way around. Englebert may be a Richard after all!
Keep us posted, but if he wins this one, let us know, so we can all make fun of the names and you'll have time to change them before Livingston gets old enough to realize what happened.




My husband retired 12 years ago, and we have a very limited income. I have battled a serious health condition for the past 8 years, and because of the added medical costs, we are barely able to make ends meet.

We're friendly with a young married couple in the neighborhood that is in good health and making a very good salary for their age. They often borrow our truck, to help friends move, to haul furniture, garbage, and other things. We don't mind at all except for the way it is returned to us. They have never put gas in it, always leaving it completely empty, and occasionally in need of a good cleaning. My husband says nothing, even though I know it bothers him too.

I'm debating whether or not to confront them, and am having trouble controlling myself each time I see them now. What do I do?



YES! Say something! How about, "Sure, just sign this, write me a check, and you're off!" (Hand them a typed "borrow" agreement). If you don't have as much audacity as your 'friends', then by all means, "lie to be polite". As you know, that is the true mark of modern civilization.

"My husband won't let me", My wife said we have plans", My parents already said I can't go", are all standards. You can do an acceptable variation. "We just spoke to our insurance company, and in order to keep our current level of coverage, they are increasing our premiums. If we're going to loan you the truck, we'll need a little money to help pay for the insurance. And you need to start filling the gas tank too." They will not say anything, but will stand there and look at you. It is what people do in awkward situations when they've been busted at stealing, cheating, using, or lying to a friend. It will be slightly for uncomfortable you, but more embarrassing for them. You just pointed out their bad manners.

The next time they want to borrow your truck, you might also consider telling them, "This is great! We needed it washed anyway!" If they don't wash it or say they just wanted it for a quick run, and didn't plan to wash it, point out that you've had to wash it many times after they used it, and just figured it was their turn. They will straighten up, buy their own truck, or use it alot less often.

About your truck, I was wondering, what is the hauling capacity and does it have a trailer hitch?




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