Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Advice on manners and morals.
Dec. 23 1999 3:30 AM

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

(Continued from Page 2)

Hmmm. Bazoomba fetish. Prudie thanks you for the new word ... and for letting the young man have it with both barrels. Prudie, for some reason, only used one.

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--Prudie, mammiferously

Dear Prudence:

Thanks for all the great advice. Here is my problem: My mom calls me every few days for a chat, and she is in the habit of eating while talking on the phone. She is invariably crunching an apple or snacking on beef jerky every time I talk to her. It's disgusting! I actually try to avoid her calls so that I won't have to listen to those noises. I think this is so rude and inconsiderate of her, but I don't know what to do about it. I have even tried doing it back to her, but she didn't get the hint. Her grazing into the receiver is making me nuts. What should I do?

--S.E.

Dear S.:

Instead of chomping on beef jerky yourself, hoping the mother of all grazers will get the hint, why not opt for a more direct approach? Simply say, "Mother, you know I love you, but the noise of your eating while talking on the phone distracts me from what you're saying." You might suggest that she separate the activities of eating and phoning. If you feel she wouldn't respond well to your request, then avoid her calls when you can, and when you can't, hold the phone far away from your ear. Of course you won't know what she's saying, but life is choices, my dear.

Prudie has the reverse situation by the way. When talking to her mother, if she's in the kitchen it always seems like a good time to do whatever dishes are in the sink. This invariably elicits from Prudie's mother: "Are you running water?" Until explicitly asked to desist, Prudie will continue. This is all by way of saying that people do what they're in the habit of doing, unless specifically asked to cut it out.

--Prudie, habitually

Dear Prudence:

Do you know about the latest craze in parking spots? They are "pregnant lady" or "families with children" spots at malls and grocery stores. My contention is that these are no different in theory than a "whites only" parking spot, though of course, in practice, racial discrimination beats reproductive discrimination hands down. The contention of the pregnant member of the office staff is that I'm a bastard.