Dear Ann Landers: I read your stuff occasionally, but I am turned off by your constant warnings, threats and guidelines on how we should live our lives. Other than to make a good living, what business is it of yours? If folks want to smoke, drink, drive fast, not use seat belts, take risks and have affairs, so what? They are going to die anyway, so why don’t you let them die happy?
I smoked about three packs of cigarettes a day for 30 years and wound up with all the smoker’s crud you have written about - difficulty breathing, heart problems and so on. I quit on my own many years ago but have felt deprived and been mad ever since. I’m going to start smoking again regardless of what the croakers say. I figure it’s better than waiting for a stroke and being carted off to a nursing home. My wife smoked three packs a day for 60 years and died after suffering every kind of smoker’s hell known to mankind. She refused to quit and I admired her guts.
Doctors started knocking cigarettes when the tobacco companies stopped paying them off and using them in endorsements. Apparently, paying off politicians wasn’t enough.
Over the centuries, war has killed, maimed and cost the country a heck of a lot more than cigarettes, but I never hear anybody complaining about war. You constantly nag about people’s problems and tell them to see a shrink or a clergyman. It’s sickening. Most of the trouble they get into is their own darn fault, so leave them alone. I’ll sign off now and light up a cigarette. - Mad in Indianapolis
Dear Indy: You are “mad” all right, and I don’t mean crazy, I mean angry. You obviously don’t want any advice, so why did you write? To sound off, maybe? OK, go ahead, and blow your top.
You tell me to let the folks alone who want to smoke and drink and ignore seat belts. You say, “Let ‘em die happy.” Have you seen pictures of people who died from emphysema or who were unbuckled in car wrecks? Well, I have, and they didn’t look very happy to me.
Whether or not you realize it, your letter was a cry for help. I wish I could rescue you, but no one can help you but yourself. Good luck.
Dear Ann Landers: Two weeks ago, we went to a family wedding. The people I consider my in-laws attended as well. My mother-in-law was the minister who blessed the couple. When we were seated with my in-laws and enjoying the refreshments, one of the guests approached my mother-in-law and asked, “Who is that handsome young man with your son?” She replied, “He is my son’s housemate.”
Should she have been more upfront and described me as her son’s lover, companion, spouse or friend? We have lived together for six years and are an established couple. We bought a lovely house in an exclusive area, work hard and mind our own business. Somehow, I felt uncomfortable when I heard my mother-in-law’s response. - An Inquirer in N.Y.
Dear Inquirer: “Friend” would have been a more tasteful designation. You would not be out of line to let your mother-in-law know how you feel about this in case the question is put to her in the future.
Not so confidential to all my readers: Today is Reconciliation Day. Since 1989, I have suggested that April 2 be set aside to write that letter or make that phone call and mend a broken relationship. Life is too short to hold grudges. To forgive can be enormously life-enhancing. Cast your bread upon the waters and I’ll bet you get back caviar sandwiches.
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