Sunday, July 08, 2007

Dear Abby Has Gone Crazy

Sometimes, I love Dear Abby. Why do I read this outdated, saccharine advice column you ask? It's not because I think her advice (which is quite liberal--in a recent column, she urged a woman to accept her cross-dressing boyfriend since we all have our own kinks) to her flailing readers will offer some insight into my own life. It's because I think she's going crazy. And it's awesome.

DEAR ABBY: I am a professional costume wearer. By that, I mean I have been an elf, a giraffe, a moose, T-Rex and a character for a major hamburger chain. I am presently a character for a major cereal company. Once I am in costume, I am not allowed to speak. Adults and older children think nothing of hitting me, kicking me, pulling at parts of my costume, and trying to knock me down. One 12-year-old even tried to "head butt" me while his father looked on and encouraged him!
I am in costume for about an hour or so before I can take breaks. It gets hot and sweaty inside these costumes. I have a limited field of vision and can't see many of the oncoming attacks. Even if I saw each one, I would not be able to say anything to stop or deflect these random attacks. What I do is have a paid "helper" walk beside me. This is now discouraging such actions by adults and children.
I would ask parents to please remember that there are real people inside these costumes, which are not heavily padded. I feel each and every hit and kick as if I were wearing street clothes. Thanks for printing this. -- H.S. IN COLORADO

DEAR H.S.: You have my sympathy, and I am seconding your request. That a parent would encourage such poor behavior incenses me. You should not have had to hire a "bodyguard" to protect you.
I find it interesting, however, that the children who are acting out against you do not regard you as another human being. It seems they have mistaken you for the same kind of cartoon character they see on television -- probably too much television -- against whom violence is committed with no repercussions. (I'm reminded of the "Mr. Bill" character that was once featured on "Saturday Night Live.")
One of my assistants, who has occasionally dressed as a chimp in her work as a docent at the L.A. Zoo, tells me that this is one of the hazards in your line of work. Call me humorless, but to me, assault and battery are criminal behaviors -- and if someone I cared about were subjected to it, I would be very concerned.

A) First of all, who knew there was a "Professional Costume Wearer" was a job description, let alone a job title. And how do you get promoted--you go from being a hamburger to a cheeseburger?
B) Dear Abby's assistant was a chimp? At the zoo? I suppose being Dear Abby's assistant is a step up from chimp and from a cheeseburger, so it's quite a promotion, but a rather odd career path.
c) For as liberal as Dear Abby is, she's rather behind-the-times culturally with her Mr. Bill reference on the "Saturday Night Live" that all the kids are watching.


DEAR ABBY: My husband and I were trying to park our car in a crowded downtown lot. The line of cars trying to get in wrapped around the block. Each car in line had to circle around until someone left because no parking spaces were available.
When we finally got to drive in, we drove to the only open spot. However, a woman had jumped out of a car that was still on the street and was standing in the spot to save it for her companion. My husband lowered the window and reminded her that because she did not have a vehicle, she was blocking traffic. She angrily told him that her car was "just around the corner" and threatened to call the cops if we didn't keep driving. My husband didn't raise his voice. He once again asked her to move because she had cut in line.
Finally, after she began to go into a tirade, we gave up and circled for another 10 minutes until another spot opened. Was my husband out of line for asking her to move? What would you have done in that situation? -- UNSURE OF THE RULES, BEASLEY, TEXAS

DEAR UNSURE: Your husband was not out of line in asking the woman to move. She was nervy and wrong to block traffic and take advantage. And if the police had been summoned, they probably would have backed you up.
What would I have done in that situation? Had I been behind the wheel, I would have been tempted to very ... slowly ... continue ... parking my car ... until she either moved or I squashed her like a bug against the wall or the car in front. (That's why my husband does most of the driving when we're together.)

A) Is the writer the most passive-aggressive woman ever? She knew that Dear Abby was going to side with her; she didn't want the rules clarified--she wanted validation.
B) "until she either moved or I squashed her like a bug against the wall or the car in front." Wow. Just. Wow. Dear Abby has gone crazy.

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