Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Feeling Helpless

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My father feels his car is his "independence," but here's what I see: Dad is so hunched over the wheel, he sees more of the floor than the dashboard. His response time of gas-to-brake has become slower and slower, and in order to look over his shoulder, he must turn his entire body. Dad wears hearing aids, but has the radio on so loud that any emergency vehicle would have to be on top of him before he noticed.

Dad has had three accidents in the past two years, but thankfully, no one was hurt. Once, he had his foot on the wrong pedal, but he said that's "not my fault." He reasons that his vision is fine, he doesn't use the highway, and he drives when the roads aren't crowded, so as long as he can teeter his way to the car, it must be OK.

The state just issued him a new driver's license. What is the difference between "diminished capacity" when someone is under the influence of alcohol, and the condition of my father? It is so scary to us, not only for Dad's safety, but for anyone on the road with him.

I will continue to try to convince our state legislature, doctors, insurance companies and my father to reevaluate this issue, but maybe this letter will spark other elderly drivers to reconsider their own decisions to continue using the car. Any ideas, Annie? -- Feeling Helpless

Dear Helpless: In most states, there is a process by which you can report your father. Contact your Department of Motor Vehicles to find out what the requirements are, and then speak to Dad's doctor about evaluating Dad's fitness to drive. You also should look into safe-driving classes for the elderly -- your father might agree to go when he hears these classes can result in lower insurance rates.

Dear Annie: My husband and I are invited to a wedding soon. The groom was a high school classmate of our oldest daughter, "Stacy." The bride was a classmate of our youngest daughter, "Danielle." Stacy also is invited to the wedding, but Danielle is not. Danielle is very hurt by this, so we have decided not to attend.

We think Danielle may have been excluded because she and the best man dated for three years, and he may prefer not to see her. The relationship ended quite a while back, and although Danielle did blame the groom for the breakup, she has moved on and put the past behind her.

Was it appropriate for the bride and groom to include my husband and one daughter, but not the other? Are we obligated to send a gift? -- Ohio Mom


Dear Ohio: Both daughters should have been invited, or neither, but if the groom felt he was not on good terms with Danielle, we understand why he chose not to include her. Nonetheless, you are indeed obligated to send a gift.

Dear Annie: I'd like to respond to "Outraged Friend" regarding baby showers for fathers-to-be.

A guy I work with told me that his wife was getting many baby showers, but he wasn't invited to any. So the men in our department got together and took up a father-to-be shower collection at our plant. The women bought the gifts with the help of the mother-to-be. We then set up a room with food and drinks, and invited his wife. Needless to say, the father-to-be was surprised, and a good time was had by all.

If more men could participate in baby showers, maybe they'd understand what all the hoopla is about. New life should be celebrated by everybody, not just the ladies. -- Big Lew of Redondo Beach, Calif.

Dear Big Lew: Absolutely. As long as there isn't an overabundance of showers (which puts a burden on repeat guests), we think showers for men are great.


"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




Adam Zyglis Free Range Ginger Meggs David Horsey Darrin Bell For Heaven's Sake