Another Dear Abby with my responses...
DEAR ABBY: My husband tends to be a major clutterbug. We had an argument last night about him storing a set of encyclopedias. My argument is that we have never used them and never will, since they are "dinosaurs" in today's modern world. Any information can be looked up digitally.
He was given these encyclopedias by his grandparents, so he feels they have a "deeper meaning." Although he has never once used them, he says they make the bookshelf look nicer. We recently got rid of the bookshelf and now he wants to store them in our already cluttered attic.
His plan is to pass them on to our child or grandchildren. I don't think they would want to inherit them, as they take up so much space and there are more efficient ways to find information. Please help. -- FRUSTRATED WIFE IN CONNECTICUT
What's it to you if he keeps them? If they are going into the attic you won't even see them. I hate clutter, can't stand it, and I find hanging on to sentimental things a waste of time. But at least I can even put that into perspective: One day you are going to die, and one of your kids or grandkids is going to want to hang on to something you had. If I ever run into yours, I'll tell them to just "dump whatever the old bat had, cause she isn't worth losing attic space."
You realize kids are starving in this country, right? And you still want to whine about a set of encyclopedias?
DEAR ABBY: What should someone do when gifts received via mail or UPS have been damaged in transit? We have received some ceramic objects for Christmas in the last two years. Both were packed and sent by the givers.
My wife would rather remain silent about the damage to avoid the appearance that a replacement is expected. I contend that the damage should be mentioned and that no replacement is necessary when writing the thank-you note, or even that certain gifts should be avoided in the future. Otherwise, the sender has no way of knowing that a better packaging job is necessary. Also, there may be some (insurance) recourse with the carrier. -- "BUSTED" IN PENNSYLVANIA
How is this even a problem? The only person(s) at fault here is the postal clerks. And it probably isn't their fault either; half of sorting is done by machine, and shipping sometimes can be rough. Yes, the senders should be told and No, the senders should not buy you a new gift unless they want to. This isn't a fucking heart for transplant. It was something you never needed in the first place that you probably would have sold at a garage sale. Be honest and tell them, or be polite and don't. Either way you're going to end up with a ceramic, and those things just take up space.
Telling the sender will at least avoid the awkwardness of seeing them in person and having to try to dodge "Where our lovely gift is?", and you having to answer "Broken and in the trash. We didn't care enough about you to tell you it was broken."
Cause, you know, honesty is never the best policy.
Judas' Advice Column
This is where I take a Dear Abby column, and add my own brand of advice. I started by calling it Dear Crabby, but that's taken and JERKASS seems more fun.