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maybe it wasn't so funny after all...

Sunday, June 12, 2016
...depending on whether she speaks to the store manager about my smart mouth and I get counseled for inappropriate remarks to a customer. And/or possibly canned. But it was pretty amusing at the time, and even later when I shared the incident with a co-worker.

I need to preface the telling with a small explanation. I have been reading the advice column syndicated in the newspaper for years. Either 'Dear Ann' or 'Dear Abby', depending on the location of the news publisher. And now, after the death of her twin sister, there is only Dear Abby left to give us the benefit of her wisdom. Which I continue to read and enjoy, probably the most enjoyable item in the daily news, other than several comic strips I regularly peruse.

The back story is: people have frequently written in over time and asked advice for the proper response when someone asks a personal question the recipient does not wish to answer. Often posed in a friendly, pleasant manner, but usually profoundly nosy and thoroughly inappropriate. Things like asking newly weds if they 'had to get married', or people who have been comfortably co-habitating, if they are planning a wedding now that they are expecting a child. Or people who have been married and focused on careers, 'when do you plan to start a family'? Something your mom might get away with asking but others: totally obnoxious and out of line.

Dear Abby has consistently responded to the various queries with something along the lines of: 'why do you ask?' or 'why do you need to know?'. Sounding polite enough on the surface, but also plainly implying it is not something you should be asking and I decline to answer. I guess you could just say: "I won't be answering your question." But Abby's response puts the ball back where it belongs. I've long thought the response to be spot-on, and wished for the gumption to use it, on an occasion when I might be tempted to blurt it out.

It happened today.

A former co-worker asked me when I was planning to retire. I said it. She was not at all amused. I expect repercussions. I am sure she will say something about how rude I was. She said I was 'mean' and she has always known I am a mean person. I should have not responded, but I did.

She has asked me this question before, at least once, maybe twice. And I think my response was something like: 'I really have not given it any thought', or maybe I just gave her a 'hummmm....'. But apparently she thinks if she repeats it enough, I will give the answer she wants.

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