Short Answers

By Jeff Johnson and Paula Forman


Dear Short Answers:
I was in line to order a sandwich at a deli and this guy comes up to me and says that he’s in a hurry and can he cut in front of me. I wasn’t in a hurry myself so I said okay.  But when he stepped in line, all the people behind me starting to yell at me because, of course, he cut in front of them, too.  I was so embarrassed that I left the store but I got to thinking about it.  Shouldn’t they have yelled at HIM instead of me?
Just Trying to Be Nice

Dear Trying:
You were not at fault. It is worth thinking about why you left the store and what your other options might have been.


Dear Short Answers:
When you host a dinner party and you know that some people are vegetarians, some are vegan, some are lactose-intolerant, some are gluten-free and some have food allergies – what on earth do you make? Or do you just make what you normally would and let people go hungry if they can’t eat anything?

Dear Short Answers:
These days food is more controversial than religion. We suggest an ecumenical view. On the other hand, you can’t feed all the people all the time. Make more salad than you normally would, serve rice not pasta and no one will starve.


Dear Short Answers:
My niece, who is 19 years old, has had a lot of problems with drugs and alcohol and has been arrested for petty theft a couple of times. I wanted to give my sister (her mother) a break and so I let her stay with me for two weeks before she starts community college in the fall. Now that her stay with me is over, I am finding things missing. Like a set of earrings, a small silver tray and an old watch. None of these things are valuable but I am agonizing over what to do. I’m pretty sure that she took them but it’s really not a big deal financially. I hinted about these things with her but she ignored my hints. If I tell my sister, it might cause bigger problems since my sister is on the verge of kicking her out of the house. My inclination is to just ignore it but I’m not sure whether that is the right thing to do or not.

Dear Auntie:
We wish you had confronted your niece directly when she was still at your house. If your suspicions are true it does not bode well for her new ventures. But there is no point in sharing this with your sister at this point. Next time you see your niece, pay attention and speak up immediately.


Dear Short Answers:
If you’re at a party and you see a girl you want to ask out on a date, what’s the best way to start a conversation?

Dear Shy:
Tell her she “is looking lovely tonight.” Always a good beginning.

Life is complicated. “Short Answers” isn’t.

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