Dear Ann Landers: I am sending you an article from the Marin, Calif., Independent Journal that I hope you will print. I could not believe my eyes when I read it. Here it is - another one for your “goofy judge file”:
An Ohio man with 18 drunken-driving convictions has been sentenced to live within walking distance of a liquor store or bar to try to keep him from driving drunk again. “It’s my hope that he’ll walk to get his beer and wine rather than drive,” said the judge. “Whether it will work or not, I don’t know.”
The 50-year-old man has been charged with DUI at least 24 times since 1971. He’s been sent to prison twice, and the state of Ohio has permanently revoked his driver’s license. The sentence, which also restricts where the man may sit as a passenger in a vehicle, was a product of the judge’s frustration. The judge said he’d run out of ideas to get the man to stop drinking and driving. Said the judge, “He doesn’t deny he’s an alcoholic. He just doesn’t see that as a problem.”
The man’s most recent conviction came last month when a jury found him guilty of driving under the influence about 45 miles east of Cincinnati. His wife was convicted for allowing an unlicensed driver to operate a motor vehicle. The couple must move near a bar or liquor store by Jan. 31. The order defines “easy walking distance” as 3/4 of a mile in the country and 1/2 a mile in a city.
Ann, please tell me what you think. Is this judge for real? - Mill Valley, Calif.
Dear Mill Valley: Not only is that judge “for real,” but he has exceeded the limits of his judicial responsibility to help a man with his drinking problem. Unfortunately, the man seems to have no interest in sobriety. Until he wants to stay sober, nothing will make him give up the booze.
There is help for him at Alcoholics Anonymous. I hope he sees this column and avail himself of the benefits that have helped so many over the years.
Dear Ann Landers: You told that woman whose husband has become a steady beer drinker to enlist the help of her husband’s doctor. Well, Ann, I hope she has better results than I did.
I have been married to “Artie” for 44 years. Lately, he has started to do some really bizarre things. He talks crazy and has become very negative and argumentative. He doesn’t have any friends anymore since everybody is sick of him. When we go out together, I can count on being embarrassed. He argues with waitresses in restaurants.
I called his doctor to suggest that when he next sees my husband, he might pay special attention to Artie’s answers because he just may be heading toward Alzheimer’s. The doctor’s response was, “I don’t have Artie’s permission to talk with you,” and then he hung up on me.
So, Ann, I am wondering how many other doctors are willing to talk with wives. - Worried in Ohio
Dear Ohio: I suggest that you drop that doctor a note. Tell him briefly that you were not calling to get information but to let him know of your husband’s bizarre behavior and your fear that he might have Alzheimer’s. In my opinion, he owes you an apology. I hope he responds appropriately.
Dear Ann Landers: Enough already of those World War II stories telling “how we met.” I’d much rather read about how they achieved 55 years of marriage. - Loyal Reader for 30 Years in Sunnyvale, Calif.
Dear Sunnyvale: I, too, find it fascinating that so many of those World War II marriages took place after a brief courtship and long periods of separation, yet they endured. What’s the magic formula? Will you share it with my readers?