Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Worried Mom

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My young-adult son, "Elliot," delivers pizza for one of the top chains. His assistant manager constantly harasses my son about being gay, which he is not. He even has gone so far as to write things in the bathroom.

Would this qualify as sexual harassment? Elliot already has complained to the local manager and the area manager, and nothing has happened. He is getting quite depressed about it. The assistant manager has connections in the company, so this could be the reason.

Elliot also has seen this assistant manager, along with others, take breaks to smoke -- and I don't mean cigarettes. Elliot doesn't join them, and he has asked me not to contact the authorities.

My son has seen several counselors about personal problems but hasn't found anyone he is truly comfortable talking to. Life is hard even for the kids who do the right things. Is there any way I can help him? -- Worried Mom

Dear Mom: First, keep in mind that it is common for young men to tease one another about being gay, and if your son overreacts, it will encourage a bully to escalate the torment. If the company will not address the issue, your son can take legal action, but he may not be willing to do this. (Let's leave the pot smoking out of it.) We also recommend he lodge a complaint a little higher up the chain.

It sounds as if Elliot may have other emotional issues going on. We strongly recommend that he look for another job immediately, and in the meantime, seek additional counseling. It can take time to find the right "fit," and Elliot's track record with counselors may actually reflect his own unwillingness to open up. Keep trying.

Dear Annie: My husband is a farmer. I married him four years ago, knowing he has a seasonal job. He is a good, faithful, funny, smart man.

So, here's my problem: "Carl" never has time for the family. Our youngest child calls other family members "Dad." We are so far on his back burner, we barely reach the stove.

Carl always has something else to do with his meager free time. He works with other family members, and their farming needs come before us. When he's not busy harvesting, he's working on equipment. I've told him his schedule makes us feel unimportant to him, but he replies, "You could help more."


What can I say to make him realize that someday the kids will be gone and so will the chance for memories? I feel like I'm single without the right to look, and boy, am I lonesome. -- Spinning My Tractor Wheels

Dear Spinning: You cannot expect Carl to change how he does his job, so find ways to work around it. Vague complaints that "you don't spend enough time with us" are not going to work. Instead, plan a "family night" once a week. Put it on Carl's calendar, and inform the other family members that the evening is taken. Ask Carl to try it for the children's sake, and let's hope he enjoys it.

Dear Annie: Do you have a proclivity against beard growers? I refer to the letter from "Want to Grow," the 17-year-old boy who wanted a long beard.

Contrary to your observations, many employers do not mind facial hair. My own has never presented any issue. I have an 18-inch beard and work for a law firm in the Sears Tower in Chicago. I have received nothing but accolades from the attorneys who work for this firm. If a person wishes to express himself by growing a beard, by all means, one should be supportive. -- Chicago

Dear Chicago: We think men can grow whatever they want as long as it is kept well-groomed and doesn't frighten the horses. We simply said most employers prefer to hire the clean-shaven. It's wonderful that your law firm encourages your hair growth, but we suspect it's in the minority. We're glad you found each other.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2017. 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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