Life Advice



Ask Amy: Memorial service brings on acute anxiety

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Is it the same as if I had food on my face, or if my pants were unzipped?

Should I be embarrassed, but grateful to have this pointed out?

I am about to give away all my black tops.

– White on Black

Dear White on Black: When people do this, they are not doing you a favor; they are treating their own discomfort — by removing something that distracts them and pulls their focus away from you.

You might never feel this impulse to smooth, straighten, or pluck (nor do I), but I agree with your instinct that doing so is something of a compulsion for people who cannot seem to resist.

Dear Amy: I’d like to thank “Old Veteran” for expressing the same discomfort I feel when people thank me for my military service.

I don’t regret being in the military but, given that the war I served in (Afghanistan) didn’t seem to lead to anything positive for anyone, I don’t think anyone has anything to thank me for.


– Another Old Veteran

Dear Veteran: I’ve had a huge response to the heartfelt letter from this Vietnam veteran – most of it compassionate and understanding.

Regarding your own service – it seems that people know how to start wars, but don’t know how to end them.

Your willingness to serve inspires gratitude, regardless of the outcome.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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