Short Answers

By Jeff Johnson and Paula Forman


Dear Short Answers:
My husband just got an amazing job offer in another city working for a theater company. Unfortunately, I also work in the theater and if we move there, I would probably have to work for him since that is the only major theater in that city. I truly don’t want to do that and possibly screw up our marriage. But I also don’t want to stop him from advancing his career. But if I take a job in another industry in our new city, I could mess up my own career. How do we figure this out?
The Other Half

Dear Other:
This is tough, but we think you should hold out for a bigger city where there are independent opportunities for both of you. Not because working for one’s husband is inherently a bad idea, but it sounds like this is nothing even close to equal opportunity.


Dear Short Answers:
My mother died over a year ago and her cremated ashes were sent to my brother (who is the oldest sibling in the family). We were supposed to have a memorial service last summer when the whole family could be there but nothing was ever scheduled. When I bring it up, he changes the subject and refuses to discuss it. After much questioning, I found out that he lost my mother’s ashes and has no idea where they might be. He swore me to secrecy. Of course, I’m upset about this but I still think a memorial service is appropriate – with or without ashes. Do you think it’s too late now and we should just move on? I would like the closure of a service but I don’t want to stir up a lot of anxiety in the family. I think an empty urn would be fine but my brother doesn’t want to lie and is convinced that everyone will find out anyway. What do you recommend?
Still Grieving

Dear SG:
The ashes are beside the point. If you want a service — have one. “Life Celebrations” are very much the rule these days and no ashes required — only good wishes.


Dear Short Answers:
Last week, I went to a party and the host insisted that everybody have a few cocktails before dinner, then wine with dinner, then after-dinner drinks. When anybody tried to refuse another drink, he got a little belligerent. I had a little too much alcohol and accidentally broke a vase that was probably a bit precariously balanced to begin with. The host later called to ask for $250 to replace the vase. First, I don’t think it was really worth that much. Second, I think it’s the host’s fault for plying me with alcohol. I think I should refuse to pay. What’s your opinion?
The Dinner Guest

Dear Dinner Guest:
We think you are responsible for how much you drink no matter what the circumstances, and hosts are required to be graceful and reassuring about ANY damage done in their homes unless it was clearly deliberate.


Dear Short Answers:
What do you do if you find out that your best friend is saying mean, horrible things about you behind your back?

Dear Hurt:
Maybe your best friend isn’t your best friend. Ask her — but be prepared for more bad news.

Life is complicated. Short Answers isn’t.

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