Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Stupid Again

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: When our daughter turned 18, she moved out of the house. My husband handled it by getting drunk every night for a year. Now he's cut back to four nights a week.

The real problem is that he goes out with his drinking buddy, "Earl," who always brings his daughter, "Emily," along. I've met both of them, and I can tell that my husband has a huge crush on Emily.

Many years ago, my husband had an affair with his brother's girlfriend. I forgave him, but I don't want it to happen again. The last time we saw Emily, my husband made sure she noticed him by throwing napkins at her from across the room. Last night, he mentioned that he has Emily's phone number on his cell phone and that he was going to call her.

I forgot to mention that Emily is 27 and my husband is 50. Also, she is married, and her husband is stationed 2,500 miles away. He gets defensive every time I question him about her. Am I reading the signals wrong? -- Stupid Again

Dear Again: No, you are reading the signals right. He has a crush on Emily. Of course, that does not mean she is interested in him or that he wants the relationship to threaten his marriage. And there's another problem -- drinking.

Please get some counseling, with your husband if possible. Then look in your phone book for Al-Anon ( It will help.

Dear Annie: My grandmother died 15 years ago and left me all of her journals because she thought I would treasure them. There are more than 200 of them sitting in 20 boxes in my parents' garage. I have read through a couple, but am not interested in the rest and don't think I ever will be. I would like to dispose of them, but I feel guilty about it.

My parents are moving soon and will no longer have room to store the journals. No one else in the family wants them. I do not think a historical society would have any interest, because they are rather boring. More important, my grandmother wrote about personal situations of family and friends that are not for public consumption. Everyone thinks I should have them professionally shredded.


I don't want to destroy an irreplaceable historical record that was entrusted to me, but I can't deal with these journals anymore. I wish they had never existed. Are there any other options? -- Rachel in San Francisco

Dear Rachel: You may be wrong about the interest of a local historical society. Can you (and other family members) go through the journals and select those that aren't personally compromising and donate them? Would you be willing to keep them in a storage facility on the chance that a future descendant would find them worthwhile? Events that your family finds embarrassing now may become fascinating family history to your great-grandchildren. Please consider these possibilities before resorting to the shredder.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Annoyed Patty," who was getting crank phone calls from some neighborhood kids. We used to get annoying phone calls when my boys were in junior high. We hung a coach's whistle next to the phone and blew it as hard as we could whenever we got one of these calls. The calls stopped.

Ten years later, the whistle is still hanging by the phone. -- Wisconsin

Dear Wisconsin: Several readers made this suggestion, and we don't doubt that it would work. But we also know that such loud noises can damage hearing, and we are reluctant to recommend something that could cause hearing loss in a child if a less harmful alternative exists.


"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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