Ink Stink

Letting daughter make her own decisions is the real issue

Dear Carolyn,

My teenage daughter is a great kid and has never given me any trouble. She gets good grades in school, volunteers at the animal shelter and helps around the house. We are very close since her dad is on the road most of the time. Everything was going well until last week when she told me she plans to get a tattoo for her 18th birthday. (Not asking, telling!)

Carolyn 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].

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against tats; just not for my daughter! I know she will regret it, and I am devastated she plans to do it against my wishes. My husband thinks I’m making a big deal out of nothing. Please tell me how to handle this. To me, a girl with a visible tat puts out the exact opposite message of how I’ve raised my daughter.


Dear Becky,

Take a deep breath and try to relax. Your daughter is turning 18. That’s scary for a mom, but it’s also liberating. She sounds like a wonderful young lady, and a little ink is not going to change her core values. You have done your job. Now it’s her turn to make her own decisions. If she does something she eventually regrets she will merely be part of the human race. I think this is less about the ink and more about the letting go of control.

Let go gracefully. Admire the rose, cross or butterfly — or whatever she ends up getting. One day you may accompany her when she has the painful removal process done. Or not.

How you handle this sets the tone for how close you will be in the next chapter of her life. Choose wisely.

I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,

I dearly love my husband. He’s a long-haul trucker, and we’ve managed to hang in there for 35 years. We raised three good kids and are enjoying the empty nest. However, we have a problem that we thought you might be able to help with. He always calls me when he stops for the night, and I look forward to hearing about his trip and catching him up on the news from home. My problem is that he doesn’t ever want to hang up. Back in the day, long-distance calls were expensive, and we were careful to just get all the important info out and say goodnight. Now there are unlimited cell phone minutes, and he thinks nothing of keeping me on the phone for hours. He gets annoyed that I want to hang up before he does. Frankly, I’ve got other things I like to do, like watch some of my TV shows, read or catch up on housework. I know he’s lonely in the cab, but he takes it personally when I want to go.

How can we resolve this?


Dear Janet,

I hear ya, sista. My personal limit on cell phone conversations tops out at five minutes. The thought of hours of chatting makes me want to pluck out my eyeballs with a spoon.

Here’s my solution. Negotiate a reasonable amount of chatting time, set the timer and make sure you are fully present during your evening conversations. When the timer goes off, firmly but lovingly, say goodnight.

Over and out.

I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,

One of my coworkers drives me stark raving mad. Anytime anyone has a story, he always has to one-up it. If you say you got a new piece of chrome, he’s building a show truck. If you are hauling cattle, he’s transporting Jack Daniels; you have a date with a cute girl, he’s going out with a porn star. Sometimes we tell him stuff just to see what he’ll come up with.

Most of the other guys take it in stride, but it really eats me up. Is there some way I can stick it to him? He reads your column, so I thought maybe you could help me out.


Dear Craig,

You think you have a bad coworker? You should see the guy that works here! Just kidding. I hate those oneupsmanshippers too. But this is the thing. If you clue him in, you’ll lose a good source of office entertainment. Never underestimate the joy of mockery.

I’m just say’n.