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May 2006

Dear Madrone,

I worry about my boy Eddie. He lives a wild life, ok he's 21, when else is he going to do it? But still, no health benefits, smokes cigarettes, and who knows what else, rides a motorcycle without his helmet, and doesn't go to church. I can't even talk to him these days without bringing up one or another of these topics and then we fight, or worse, he ignores. You don't have to tell me that nagging is a waste, it hasn't done any good. and yet, what if he kills himself or someone else, how will I feel if I just let all that go without saying a word. I will feel guilty, which is another one of your wastes. HELP ME MADRONE!! I am going crazy. Worry Wart, North Pensacola

Dear Wart,

You at least know you have a problem which I am going to solve for you. All things should be this simple. Eddy knows every single thing that bothers you. Trust me. This is your nag list. Next time, before you get into it, just say, Hey Eddie, you know the list of things I nag you about. Review them in your mind. Any progress to report? He will either say yes and report or say no. Then you can get on with whatever else you want to talk about.

NOW- If you have nothing else to say to him, then THAT's where your real problem is. God bless, Donna

Dear Readers,

Nags, if you remember, are on the list of things that annoy me. The NAG LIST, is the only surefire way to deal with this. IF you are a nagger, follow the above advice. Now if you are the nagee, it's the same but different, takes more nerve, and savvy, but you can deal with it. I mean, one way is to take an ice pick or some such sharp instrument and brandish it with the implied threat that you are going to stick it somewhere unpleasant if the nagging should continue, but my experience has been that this only makes the nagging worse, in other words, the nagger will then nag you to put down the ice pick. Unless of course you actually use it, in which case, what was just an annoyance turns into jail time, unless of course the jury has been seriously nagged themselves, in which case you will get off either with a self defense or an insanity plea.

If you decide to go that route, good luck, and my uncle Rafael has a very good record of overturning convictions, I recommend him. But even better according to me, and I know what's what, sit down with the nagger in question, make them say everything that bothers them, write it down, give it to them, and promise that when you have something to report you will. And if they add new, then give them the paper to write it down, and SMILE while you do this. The smile is key. It makes everything nice as the same time it makes the nagger wonder whether or not you are carrying an ice pick. God bless, Donna

Dear Madrone,

What do you think about a person who comes over for dinner and doesn't bring cake? Flummoxed, Madison

Dear Flummoxed,

I don't. God bless, Donna

PS. On the off chance that I run into one of them I treat them the same way you would treat someone who drools uncontrollably through no fault of their own.

Dear Madrone,

Please publish this as a public service to your readers. The nice weather is coming and that means the barbecue season is here. So much heartbreak and tragedy could be avoided if families followed this simple precautions. Giacomo "Light My Fire" Relini, President, Family Barbecue Survivor Association (FBSA)

Dear Giacomo,

I am proud to help out such a noteworthy organization as your own. Readers, pay attention to this, cut it out and stick in near the Charm Glow, but not where it will catch on fire. God bless

SIMPLE RULES FOR SURVIVING THE FAMILY BARBECUE:

1. For the love of Mike, do not, I repeat DO NOT get in between someone and their mother (Sound familiar? following this rule alone would save thousands of lives each summer. DC)

2. Keep your hands to yourself. Always good advice.

3. Keep the barbecue sauce in a labeled container, which should be kept far away from the lighter fluid.

4. Under no circumstances correct a child over whom you have no rights: IE any child not your own personal child.

5. Do not attack others. (this includes wisecracks, making of jocular comments about the number of helpings, or the lack thereof and pushing baby's faces into cakes )

6. If attacked, you may defend, but you may not enjoy it.. Your pleasure will not be lost on the others and will come around to bite you in the future, like at this 50th anniversary party, or that Confirmation.

7. Remember: There is no statute of limitations on paybacks. .


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pamela Bongiorno Monk is a full time faculty member of Penn State University, where she teaches creative writing, both fiction and non fiction. She pursues freelance writing, authoring plays and feature articles. She has broken nearly as many rules of family as she has enforced.

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