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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Avoid gatherings with ‘jerk’ cousin

Kathy Mitchell

Dear Annie: My cousin “Tyler,” who had a host of problems as a teenager, became a policeman at age 23. He was a jerk before he joined up, but now he’s become a bigger jerk.

Tyler is always bragging that he can fix parking tickets or give you a ticket just for annoying him. He talks back to people constantly, always trying to have the last word. It’s awful, and it makes family gatherings impossible. His mother is a champion grudge holder and is still angry with Tyler for things he did as a teen. His father is completely passive. Tyler’s wife is OK, although I don’t know what she sees in him. His toddler son is very aggressive.

I’ve asked Tyler politely to behave more appropriately, but of course, he won’t listen. I’ve walked out of family dinners and made it clear why. I’ve even spoken to my family about it, but they refuse to avoid occasions just because of Tyler, even though after these gatherings my mother vents to me in the car.

I can’t take this anymore, and I now avoid Tyler at all costs. I’m thinking of videotaping him and showing his superiors. I would not trust this man to carry a gun, serve warrants or make arrests. I’m afraid he’s going to do something rash and someone will get hurt, and I’ll have to testify against him at his trial. If any police out there are reading this, I’d like to know what they think. – No State

Dear No State: Earning a badge would not change Tyler from a jerk into a responsible adult, but it does increase the fear levels. However, if he is simply bragging to his relatives and not actually doing anything, there’s not much recourse for you. Your parents get to handle Tyler however they choose, so please stop trying to dictate their actions. But if you dislike your cousin so much that you cannot bear to be in his presence, we agree that you should avoid these family gatherings whenever possible.

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