The original name for this journal was going to be Ask Mrs. Linklater. The name still pops up in my link.
I have friends who, over the years, have called me for advice about any number of things -- husbands, boyfriends, neighbors, and often, their kids. Usually I preface whatever I say with a disclaimer [this one was true at one time, btw]: "Remember you are asking me to give you advice about your children and mine aren't speaking to me right now." Stuff like that. Kind of like the surgeon general's dire warning on cigarettes. Use this advice at your own risk, the source you have queried doesn't have any more of a clue than you do.
For some reason, my warnings never stopped them from asking. Or me, from answering.
When Ann Landers' advice column left one of the local papers here to go across the street to the other paper, there was a huge contest to replace her at the old place.
I was a creative director at an ad agency and more than one person suggested that I try out for the job. I don't know whether they thought I would be good at it, or whether they thought they could finally get rid of me. Probably a little of both.
One of the local morning shows had all the finalists on one day so that people in the audience could ask questions and test their mettle. I guess it was a "how well do the prospects think on their feet?" moment.
An audience member stood up and said, "I have a friend with an eating disorder. Every time I invite her for dinner, I know she goes into the bathroom afterward and throws up. What should I do?"
The wannabe advice columnist she asked blathered on and on about eating disorders and after awhile, I wanted to shoot her just to put her out of my misery. It was then that I realized I had missed my calling because Mrs. Linklater would have said,
"What should you do? Stop inviting her to dinner, you sick bastard."
With that in mind, Mrs. Linklater has decided to offer her answers to some of the current questions being posed to the advice columnists in Chicago, which include Ask Amy, Dear Abby [now written by Dear Abby's daughter], Judith Martin [aka Miss Manners] and Cheryl Lavin.
She'll be back shortly after she has decided which question to answer. Meanwhile, feel free to leave your own questions about your life in the comments. If you're lucky Mrs. Linklater won't answer them.
Published November 12, 2004 Chicago Tribune
Dear Abby: Last summer I was attacked by my boss' dog at work, leaving a nasty scar on my nose.
My boss, claiming to be a "healing expert," advised me to avoid a trip to the doctor (as they don't put stitches in one's nose, he said) and to instead let him apply "healing oils" to my face. He said the scar would be gone within a month. I naively heeded his advice.
During my remaining time at work, his wife (also my boss and the true owner of the dog) looked after me caringly, always wishing me well on my healing, swearing genuinely by her husband's talents as a healer.
Three months and nine days later, the scar is still there, and on a recent trip to the doctor he informed me that I should have gotten stitches.
I now face expensive plastic surgery or dermatological work if I want to be rid of the scar.
I am debating whether I should take legal action.
I'd feel guilty because the wife would take the brunt of any lawsuit when, I believe, she sincerely had faith in her husband, but I can't help but feel he cheated me. What should I do?
-- Downtrodden And Dog-Bitten
Dear D&D: It should be as plain as the scar on your nose to your employers that the husband's "healing powers" failed in your case.
Put them on notice that you will be getting a referral to a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist to repair the damage to your face, and that you expect them or their insurance provider to pay the bill.
If they give you an argument, consult a lawyer.
Do not feel guilty. You are the victim.
How the "healer" handles this letter will reveal whether he's truly a healer, or just a heel.
MRS. LINKLATER'S REPLY: Let me get this straight -- a dog attacks you and instead of going straight to the emergency room -- where, HELLO? they have trained professionals who fix things like that -- you let the dog's owner treat you with healing oils. What kind? Duomo, Bertilli or Colavito? Mrs. Linklater is so disappointed in you. In fact, she thinks you've got a lot of nerve suing your boss for your own incredible stupidity. Pay for the surgery yourself or keep the scar as a reminder for next time.