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. Advice for the over 60 (Part 4)

I continue to be amazed at the number of over-60 folks who request advice from the Old Advice Person. It’s sometimes as many as 5 or 6 every 2 or 3 months. Here are the letters that have accumulated since the last advice column.

Dear Old Advice Person—“I believe my wife is developing a hearing problem. She keeps the TV turned up real loud and sometimes she just ignores me when I talk to her. The other day I was feeling kind of playful and said to her, ‘Tickle your feet with a feather.’ She said ‘Yes, it is really nasty weather.’ Then yesterday she told me she bought a new toaster. I said, ‘What kind is it?’ and she said, ‘It’s about 3 o’clock.’ SOMETIMES I HAVE TO TALK IN CAPITAL LETTERS TO GET A RESPONSE FROM HER. When I mention that she should see about getting a hearing aid, she says there is nothing wrong with her hearing, and accuses me of mumbling. How can I get her to have her hearing tested?” Talks Loud in Toledo

Dear Talks Loud—I’m on your wife’s side. I, too, have a spouse who mumbles and keeps the TV turned down so low that no one can hear it and who refers to me as a “deaf old flatulent.” She is very abusive. Your wife probably ignores you because she doesn’t want to bother to answer you. You should just quit mumbling and keep the TV turned up to a reasonable level. And quit whining.

Dear Old Advice Person—“I’ve been a member of Weight Watchers for the past 17 years. In that time I’ve lost 573 pounds and gained only 567 pounds. That means I’m 6 pounds to the good. I feel that’s a pretty successful run. I am now worried that Weight Watchers has been taken over by an evil force that is trying to undermine the program. For example, for 16 years Weight Watchers counseled us to avoid fats and load up on carbohydrates. So I faithfully ate my bowl of cereal with skim milk for breakfast. It was that kind of advice that allowed me to lose so much weight. Now they are saying that we should eat protein for breakfast, like 2 eggs and a piece of bacon or sausage. I’m afraid to follow this advice because I don’t want to regain the weight I’ve lost. What should I do?” Plump in Peoria

Dear Plump—It is possible that Weight Watchers has been taken over by an evil clandestine force. You may recall that one of our presidential candidates discovered that a clandestine force had messed with his mind, so we know that the force is out there. It is also possible that Weight Watchers sold out to Dr. Atkins, who is now in heaven eating grits and donuts. If I were you I would stick to the cereal and skim milk for breakfast. Save the eggs and bacon for a mid-morning snack when you are so hungry you think you will starve to death because your cereal won’t hold you until lunch.

Dear Old Advice Person—“I’m a single mom trying to look after my son and keep him on the straight and narrow. He pays no attention to what I say and does just whatever he wants to. He goes out with trashy girls. He stays out late. I don’t like his friends. I’m in such a state I don’t know what to do. I’ve even threatened to kick him out of the house. He just laughs and says it’s his house. Also, he didn’t get me anything for Mother’s Day. His birthday is next week. He’ll be 47. Do you think I would be wrong to just ignore his birthday? Please tell me what I should do.” Distraught in Detroit

Dear Distraught—I know that the current thinking among psychologists is that we shouldn’t spank our children but in your case that might be appropriate. It seems that things have gotten so out of hand that strong measures are called for. Spanking may the best course of action. I’ll bet he is already getting spanked by some of those trashy women he goes out with. Whoop him good. (Did you notice that I used a preposition to end every other sentence with?)

Dear Old Advice Person—“My husband is 83 years old and lately has developed a habit of talking to Jennifer at great length while she is sitting in his lap. He will tell her all about his problems. He even talks to her about our love life. He doesn’t know that I’m listening when he talks to her. I speak to Jennifer some myself, but I don’t try to carry on sa long conversation with her. We have only had Jennifer about 2 years. We were going to buy a gold fish but Jennifer looked so cute in the pet shop that we couldn’t resist bringing her home. She is a golden retriever and weighs about 75 pounds. Do you think we should have bought the gold fish instead?” Concerned in Carmel

Dear Concerned—It has been my experience that most gold fish are not nearly as good conversationalists as most golden retrievers. I had a friend who tried to hold his gold fish on his lap and the fish got sick and died. I think the best conversationalists are German Shepherd Dogs. I have 2 of them and have found that they consistently provide good advice. I even discussed your letter with them. They said, “Stick with the dog.”

Well that’s all the space we have for today. There will be no advice column for the next few weeks because Lynn and I will be riding the train across Europe. We will be in Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Salzburg, Vienna, Budapest, Frankfurt, and one other place I can’t remember. You’ll get to read all about it.