Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Not the Parents' Fault

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I am a Black physician who was born in Haiti. From my first days in the United States (in the early 1960s), I have been appalled at the "race" tag hanging on all of us.

I can understand ethnicity and country of origin, but when I hear the word "race," I always feel all of us are from the same "human race." After all, we don't separate animals, as if there were a race of black horses or black dogs, and other colors were different animals.

I look Black, but many of my ancestors were white, Caribbean Indians and Hispanic, with a dash of Mayan, Chinese and a few others tossed in here and there. Because of that, I consider myself a human specimen and would never turn my back on my multiple ethnic roots. Perhaps if we start looking at each other as members of the same wonderful human race instead of members of a white race or Black race, we will start feeling closer to one another, don't you think? -- Dr. R.M.

Dear Dr. R.M.: We do indeed. We never have understood why some people feel others are superior or inferior because of the shade of their skin color. Sounds like a serious case of ignorance to us.

Dear Annie: I hope you don't mind one more letter on the issue of vasectomies. I would like to state that it is important for a man to put aside emotionally charged comments, such as you are a "coward" or "wimp" if you choose not to have a vasectomy, or that having a vasectomy is a reflection of character and maturity, as some of your readers wrote. Men should examine, in a reasoned fashion, the pros and cons of vasectomy. I wish that I had done that before I had mine.

I am one of the clinically proven 1 to 6 percent of men who have post vasectomy pain syndrome (PVP). It is thought to result from the body's inability, for unknown reasons, to absorb the sperm that continues to be produced. Because the causes are not clearly understood, there is no way of predicting which men will end up with PVP.

It is a difficult condition for both the patient and the doctor. Over the years, I have undergone a reversal, two epididymectomies and an orchidopexy to try to resolve PVP. I still have residual discomfort, but generally, I am much improved.

Please let your readers know that there is a support organization for those with post vasectomy pain syndrome (PVP) at the Canadian PVP Association, P.O. Box 1272, Smith Falls, Ontario, Canada, K7A 5C7 ( -- Greg at the Canadian Post Vasectomy Pain Association


Dear Greg: Thank you for letting our readers know that a small percentage of men develop pain after a vasectomy. There are many possible causes, some of which are treatable. We hope all men with this problem will talk to their doctor and contact your organization for more information.

Dear Annie: You recently printed a letter about parents keeping their children home when they are sick.

My children's school district allows your child to be absent only three days per semester, so unless they are really sick, you have to send them to school. Of course, it is perfectly OK with the school district if you take them home after roll call, but by that time they have passed their cold on to the other kids. -- Not the Parents' Fault

Dear Not Your Fault: You are right that there is pressure not to be absent, which makes it hard not only to keep children home from school, but to keep adults away from the office. Colds seem minor, and for some, are so frequent that missing all those days is not feasible. We wish we had the answer.


"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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