Dear Annie: My husband of 56 years has several health problems, and he is under the care of competent physicians. In the past year, however, his attempts at humor have become embarrassing, loud and profane, especially in public.
"Marvin" thinks his swearing and inappropriate remarks are funny. They are not. I've asked each of his doctors if this problem stems from his medications and have been told that it's mostly his age.
Marvin directs these unfunny remarks at strangers as well as family members. Recently, we were at our favorite restaurant and Marvin said to our young waitress, "This place is so dark, we could have sex on the table." It was humiliating both to the waitress and to me.
Marvin knows I hate this, but he doesn't stop. Can you help? L.I. Wife
Dear Wife: Marvin may have less control over his inhibitions than he used to. Ask his doctors to look for signs indicating he has incipient dementia or has suffered a small stroke. Beyond that, you must firmly confront Marvin every time he does this, making him more aware of the crudeness of his remarks and the hurt feelings he is leaving in his wake. He will be defensive, but let's hope he also will be more careful.
Dear Annie: My sister, "Chelsea," has two young sons who were in my wedding last year. As a thank you, I sent them a foosball table. Chelsea decided her house didn't have room, so she returned the table to the store and put the credit on her personal account. She promised to put half the amount into each son's college fund. I have no idea if this happened or not, and no thank-you note was ever sent.
Both of these nephews enjoy playing dress-up, and they have put on some theatrical shows for me, using their mother's old clothing as costumes. I sent them two unused feather boas for their collection. Chelsea later told me that she and her husband do not want to endorse cross-dressing, so the boas were given away.
I find it offensive that Chelsea "edits" the gifts I send. My relationship with her and her husband isn't the greatest anyway, and now I find it hardly worth maintaining. I could understand if I gave the children drugs and porn, but these gifts were sent with the best intentions.
Is my control-freak sister the problem, or is it me? Well-Meaning Auntie
Dear Auntie: These gifts may be delightful, but if Chelsea disagrees, you are not entitled to undermine her authority as a parent. Parents get to determine what gifts are acceptable for their children. Not everyone has space for a foosball table, and if Chelsea doesn't want to encourage her sons to dress in women's clothing, that's up to her. (There's no excuse, however, for not sending a thank-you note.)
Since this has been a problem for you, next time you want to purchase something for the boys, it might be nice to call Chelsea and ask if what you had in mind is OK. That's what a well-meaning, and thoughtful, auntie would do.
Dear Annie: I read about the wife whose husband watched child porn on the Internet. My brother-in-law is spending 22 months in prison for doing this. He was caught looking at child porn on his own computer, in his own home. He went in for what he thought was a hearing and was taken straight to jail. With no time to arrange his affairs, he lost his car, his business, his home and most of his possessions. He will come out a convicted felon and a sex offender who must register with the authorities wherever he lives.
Please warn your readers who may be dabbling in this. Felon's Sister
Dear Sister: Another reason to keep this trash off your computer and out of your home. Maybe it will have an impact. Thanks for writing.
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