Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Looking for Help in New York

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My youngest sister, who lives with my mother, has had head lice numerous times in the past 18 months. When she first got them, I offered to help my mother with the removal process, because Mom could not see the nits in her hair. As a result, I contracted head lice.

I cured myself, but my sister kept getting them. Just last month, she gave lice to me, my daughter and two others. I am worried that this will become a resistant strain of head lice and that she will infect more people.

Are there places that offer lice removal services? I am hoping you can offer me some advice and perhaps a website that can give me some information. -- Looking for Help in New York

Dear New York: There are places that offer lice removal, but you need to check your local phone book to see if they are available in your area.

If your sister is being reinfected at school, it should be reported to the school authorities, so a comprehensive lice check can be done for all the students. It also is possible that your mother is not doing a thorough job getting rid of the lice. Removing the nits from the hair is not sufficient. Mom also must wash (in hot water) your sister's bed linens, towels, clothing, hats, brushes, combs, scarves, coats, toys, upholstered furniture and anything else she comes into contact with. Things that cannot be washed should be vacuumed and/or sealed in plastic bags for two weeks.

Please urge Mom to discuss the problem with the pediatrician. For more information, try the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at, and type "lice" in the search box. (Your letter made us itch like crazy.)

Dear Annie: I am a 17-year-old young man, and this past summer, I began growing a full beard. I really like having a beard and have decided to let it grow extremely long.

My mother hates my beard. She hates all beards, especially long ones. She says most beards will only grow chest length and then stop, because it's nature's way of keeping men from having dangerously long beards. She says I should shave now and save myself the disappointment.

My father, on the other hand, likes my beard and supports my decision to grow it as long as possible. He says beards grow about a 1/4 inch per month. And if I never shave or trim, in 60 years, mine could be 15 feet long. That's what I call a beard!


I've never seen anyone with a beard longer than mid-chest. Do beards continue growing for a lifetime? -- Want to Grow

Dear Want to Grow: According to Guinness World Records, the longest beard ever recorded was 17 feet, 6 inches, but that doesn't mean you will be able to match it. While the average beard grows about three inches per year, individual growth varies. You might, however, consider shaving (or at least trimming) when you need to look for a job. Research shows that employers prefer hiring the clean-shaven.

Dear Annie: You've printed several letters about the woman who was called an "outlaw" by her mother-in-law. I had a mother-in-law who made inappropriate remarks to me at family gatherings, because she knew I was much too classy to call her on it at the time. But later, when it was just the two of us, I held her accountable.

Mothers-in-law like that make such comments because they know they can get away with it. Those remarks are inappropriate and should not be tolerated. I reduced the number of family gatherings I attended to protect myself from such insults.

The good part is, I make sure to treat my son-in-law well. He calls me "Mom," and we have a wonderful relationship. -- Been There

Dear Been There: Your mother-in-law obviously wasn't saying those comments with affection. We're glad you didn't follow her example.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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