KATHY MITCHELL AND MARCY SUGAR \ Annie's Mailbox Atheist still wants to be included
Dear Annie: My husband's sister boycotted my son's baptism because she said it would be hypocritical to sit through a church service she did not believe in. She did, however, find it perfectly acceptable to attend the luncheon afterward.
Last month, I called her and said, "Since your name isn't in our Christmas-gift drawing, should we still include your boyfriend?" She asked why she was being excluded, and I reminded her that she had declared herself to be an atheist. She replied, "Well, I celebrate the winter solstice, so my name should be in the drawing."
How can I get across to her that holidays and other events aren't something you can pick and choose, and participate in only when it's convenient? If I had gotten her name in the drawing, I would not have purchased anything for her because, after all, I don't celebrate the winter solstice. Plenty Peeved Sister-in-Law
Dear Plenty Peeved: Now, now, girls. This situation calls for tolerance, not retaliation. Your sister-in-law has chosen not to participate in the religious aspect of these occasions, but she still would like to be included in the family celebrations, which may involve luncheons and gift-exchanges. We assume she reciprocates.
You can decide to let her beliefs come between you, or you can simply accept this part of her makeup and find other common ground. She is, after all, your husband's sister. Try to find something to like about her.
Dear Annie: The letter from the woman who raised all kinds of Cain because her husband's doctor gave him a prescription for Viagra without her input really hit home with me.
Two years ago, I came home from my annual checkup with a script for Viagra. I proudly showed it to my wife, thinking she would be as happy as I was. Wrong. After a tirade about me being a dirty old man with my mind in the gutter, she ran the prescription through the shredder.
All I wanted was to be able to make love to my wife. I assumed that after 45 years of marriage, she also wanted this. To discover I was wrong was quite a letdown. We have not made love since. I also have not been back to my doctor because I don't want to be embarrassed if he asks how the Viagra is working out. I guess I simply will have to live a life devoid of making love. What a bummer. R.
Dear R.: We're sorry to hear about your lack of intimacy, but we are more concerned that you haven't been back to your doctor. Don't let your embarrassment prevent you from getting a checkup. Your doctor has heard it all, including this one. He may even have some suggestions for you. Please make an appointment today.
Dear Readers: This was sent to us via the Internet. We don't know the author, but we loved the essay. Enjoy:
If a dog was your teacher, you would learn stuff like:
UWhen loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
UWhen it's in your best interest, practice obedience.
ULet others know when they've invaded your territory.
UStretch before rising.
URun, romp, and play daily.
UAvoid biting when a simple growl will do.
UOn hot days, drink lots of water, and lie under a shady tree.
UWhen you're happy, dance around, and wag your entire body.
UDelight in the simple joy of a long walk.
UEat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
UBe loyal. Never pretend to be something you're not.
UWhen someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
XE-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox™, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, Ill. 60611.