Dear Nathan

DEAR NATHAN: Have you any advice for how a person can handle mornings better? No matter what I do, I start off every work day irritated and grumpy.

I love the mornings, and even get up early so I can enjoy sitting with my coffee and relax before heading out the door. But as soon as I get out into traffic, I’m immediately in a bad mood. Then, sitting down at work and facing all the emails that come in from my global associates — usually about some emergency that is plopped in my lap — puts me in more of a foul mood.

I actually like my job, despite what it sounds like. I just hate starting off every day like this. Telecommuting is not an option for me. What can I do? — MS. GRUMP IN DENVER

DEAR MS. GRUMP: You seem to be suffering from a bad case of what doctors like to call the “Man do people sucks.” As you may have noticed, you love morning until the second you step out your door and encounter other people.

I can relate. Nothing upsets me more than other people. Just today I witnessed a lovely gentleman cut into traffic and attempt to pass me, only to realize he needed to be back in the lane that he had just left. He then proceeded to cut me off to get back into my lane.

The way I like to deal with this is the following. Take a deep breath, count slowly down from ten, then remember all of the best parts about your life. Then, when you’re done with that, scream at that driver until you feel like your vocal chords are going to explode. Nothing makes you feel better than elevating your blood pressure to insanely dangerous levels. This also works for emails or any other work related task, though I recommend doing it much more quietly in the office environment. If you do it too loudly, you risk triggering other people “man do people sucks.” They will then have no choice but to scream at you letting you know how much they hate your screaming and that is just awkward for everyone involved.

Happy expressing your rage and anger in a mildly unhealthy way,



DEAR NATHAN: My wife and I are starting to hate our older daughter. After dropping out of college, she moved home to “save some money.” Since then, she has lived as she pleases. She isn’t saving money and is contributing nothing toward her support. We have given her a deadline to move out and will hold to it. But her slovenly ways, sullen attitude and disregard for rules have created such a toxic atmosphere we’re afraid our relationship is forever changed. Abby, this is not the daughter we raised! What do we do? — SAD DAD OUT WEST

DEAR SAD DAD: You have reached a point where I feel you have only one option: just move.

Wait until the darkness of night. When your daughter has gone to bed, quietly wake your wife and sneak down the hall, get in the car and go. You have no time for packing things. Just leave it all, burn your IDs, and start a new life somewhere far away. The further you go the better. I hear they’re looking at colonizing Mars. If you can’t wait until then, I would try living in yurt somewhere in Africa.

Good luck with your very secretive move,



DEAR NATHAN: I’m in my late 20s, single and have no children. I have lived on my own since I was 18. I own my home, my car and have no credit card debt, but my mother refuses to acknowledge me as an adult.

When I do simple chores or cook meals, she acts surprised. She constantly pleads with me to move back home because she insists I can’t take care of myself and refuses to discuss it any further than belittling me.

My friends say what she’s doing constitutes abuse. I’m not sure I agree, but I do think it is rude and manipulative. How can I deal with her condescending attitude when I’m with her? — AT MY WIT’S END

DEAR WIT’S END: I don’t know if you read my last letter, but I recommend getting in touch with Sad Dad’s daughter and asking for pointers. She really knows how to drive her parents away.


DEAR NATHAN: I was invited with four close friends to a “goodbye” tea at the request of a dying friend. Her four children were hostesses and had issued the phone call invitation the day before.

My friend is still alive. Is it necessary and proper to write a thank-you, and to whom? — BEWILDERED IN PHOENIX

DEAR BEWILDERED: I myself have never run into this problem. If I were to face it, there is no way they would be getting a thank you card. This isn’t because I am ungrateful for the invitation, but because I would procrastinate until the friend’s funeral. Everyone knows it’s awkward to take a thank-you card to a funeral, so the card would definitely never be delivered.

This is not to say that you SHOULDN’T send a thank you card. You don’t want your friend on their deathbed thinking about how everyone said thank you for the tea except you. I don’t know if you believe in ghosts, but that is a serious case for a haunting.

What I would do is stop wasting time writing me to ask if you need to write a thank-you and just write the stupid card! You’re procrastinating like I do and we’ve already established that this is not a good option.

Stop reading this and spend 20 freaking seconds writing a card,



8 thoughts on “Dear Nathan

    • The way that I read this made me offended. In my head, it was typed with a tone that shows that you think no one would possibly ever under any circumstances ask for my advice. I mean, I think I offer some really good advice!

      And the answer is no. If someone would like to email me problems, though, I would gladly give them advice that is probably very questionable.


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