I Read it in Dear Abby, Really

It would be hard to say which of the many Dear Abby letters that I have found most amusing over the decades, but I certainly laughed out loud at one several years ago.

A young lady’s boyfriend had moved into the apartment with her, and several months had gone by without his offering to pay a portion of the rent, utilities, or groceries. He had a job at the same company where she worked, and her paying all the bills didn’t seem fair. She would have talked to him about her feelings, but – get this – she didn’t know him well enough to bring up the subject of money. What should she do?

Step one, find out his name.

And then a couple of weeks ago a lady with an “educated, urbane, professional husband who has always lived in the city,” but now lives in the country, writes saying that he “bypasses our 2 ½ bathrooms and relieves himself outdoors. We no longer have children living at home, and he refrains from doing it when we have company or there’s any possibility of his being seen, but it still drives me crazy!”

I have read Dear Abby ever since in the hopes of finding a letter, “But we did see him through the window between cocktails and dinner! The Company.”

So, the situation involves a husband who is relieved to be living in the country. Abby’s response? “Public urination is against the law in most communities because of sanitation – as well as indecent exposure – issues. That said, the practice is not as unusual as you may believe.” Note, she did not recommend counseling.

Abby then referred to a similar letter that she received twenty years earlier from “The Whiz-zard’s Wife.” I won’t go into what the wife said, but Abby said recently that it had generated others of her favorite letters, including this one. “Dear Abby: Though a frequent reader (after my wife), I’ve only now found reason to write to you, in response to the lady who feared her husband’s habit of urinating on their lawn was inappropriate. So it may be, but all men do this outdoors. My best to you, and continued good luck with your column. – Charlton Heston, Beverly Hills, Calif.”

Charlton Heston seems to have won Abby over to his opinion, acceptance rather than condemnation. Why? Is it because he played Moses in The Ten Commandments? There was an 11th Commandment given atop Mt. Sinai, “Men Can…if They Want To And No Other Laws Are Broken.”

(Of course, there are those who say that the real reason Charlton Heston favored Early American Plumbing is that he spent too much time getting into his role for Planet of the Apes. Have you ever seen restrooms in any of those movies? Yes, if you count the outdoor scenes.)

The wife above, the one with the husband who is killing her chrysanthemums, may in the long run be supportive of her husband’s practice. For what have women demanded through the years? Potty parity. If men will return to nature more often, the Men’s Room in public facilities can be made smaller, and after the remodeling all the saved space incorporated into the Women’s Room. Also, schools – like the University of New Mexico, which is looking for sports to drop so it can meet its budget – can drop the marching band instead and save a bundle. How? Rather than have a half-time show at the football game, the announcer simply says, “Well, it’s half-time folks. Gentlemen, you may take the field!”

But why is this an issue right now? I think it’s because in addition to beer and coffee, which American men drink like there’s a tariff coming, tea is growing in popularity. There’s a Boba Tea Company in the mall. I can’t believe the line of people waiting to get to the counter! (I also can’t believe the price.) And not just there. Males are also drinking tea at other tea companies and Starbucks. And they are most likely going to be drinking even more because there’s a study!

Although tea drinkers in America have had it rough ever since the Boston Tea Party, new studies not only point out that the health benefits, but that male tea drinkers are as macho as Charlton Heston ever was. There’s a T-shirt, “I’ll give you my tea cup when you pry it from my cold dead hand.” Further support comes from the U.K. and Ireland, whose guys aren’t exactly a bunch of dainty doilies. Both of these countries are among the top five tea consuming countries in the world. And who’s number one? Turkey, the same guys who invented coffee!

So, coffee, beer, tea, and bottled water by the pallet load. Do the arithmetic.




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