I'm Just Say'n

Deck Their Halls

CarolynCarolyn Magner is not a professional therapist, shrink or even a very nice person. Her advice is meant to entertain you, not solve your terrible, desperate problems. E-mail Carolyn at [email protected].


Dear Carolyn,

I’m already out of my mind with Christmas-induced stress. My kids are spoiled brats who expect expensive electronic toys under the tree. My husband is tired from driving his truck all week and does nothing but lounge on the couch and watch sports. I’m the family’s cook, cleaner, chauffer, shopper and party planner. I dread what should be a merry, cheery time of year. My back is already aching from all the physical labor ahead.

Do you have any holiday stress-buster tips for me?


Dear Kayli,

Your back is not aching from the physical labor. It’s aching because you are the family doormat. You might as well sprawl out on your stomach and let everyone kick the mud off their boots.

Here’s my advice: Pick yourself off the floor, dust off the dirt and shake a little coal dust into the fa la la. Nobody takes advantage of you unless you allow them to. So make lists, check them twice, assign chores and break it to the little beasts that they will be helping Mama Claus this year.

Or else.

I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,

Thirty years ago I broke up with my high school girlfriend an hour before our senior prom. I left for the army a few weeks later and eventually settled into the life of a long-haul trucker. We happen to live in the same general area now, though I’ve never run into her since that day I left her high and dry.

I’ve always felt rotten about how I treated her and have often thought about writing her a letter of apology and including a check for the dress and shoes she didn’t get to wear. However, I never acted upon the thought.

Fast-forward to a few days ago. My son set me up on Facebook, and within a few minutes, I found her. I’ve been divorced for years, and I see by her status that she’s a divorcee. She’s also aged pretty well — not that that’s important to me.

Well. Yes it is. But you already know I’m a jerk.

Anyway. What should I do? Should I “friend” her? Should I wait to see if she “friends” me? Is there proper etiquette regarding online contact?

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Dear Brian,

Wow, you are into proper etiquette? I would have never guessed. OK, so I’ll grant you a pass due to the statute of limitations. We should not be held responsible for our high school behavior. Or at least it shouldn’t be a life sentence.

I think you should “friend” her. If she accepts, I think it would be appropriate to apologize for your caddish behavior back in the day and offer to treat her to a nice diner somewhere.

Be prepared for three decades of pent-up rage. Or not. She may very well say, Brian who? That’s what I’d advise her to say. But she’s not writing to me.


I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,

You are always telling truckers to get off their butts and start walking. That sounds great on paper, but have you ever actually been to a truckstop? I’m determined to lead a healthier lifestyle and have begun walking laps around my truck or the truckstop every time I stop to fuel or to eat. Guess what? I’m the only one out there. I’ve had other truckers laugh at me, yell at me or mock me.

How come healthy truckers are so rare? Are you not doing your job?


Dear Lydia,

All I can do is lead truckers to the water. I cannot make them drink it. And yes. I have been to truckstops, and I do know that the healthy truck drivers are doing what they can with very little in the way of support or resources. Hold your head high and ignore the insults. I’m talking the talk, but you, my dear, are the one walking the walk.

I’m just say’n.

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