Posted: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 9:42 pm
Dear Annie: My late husband and I started a business together. When he died, I asked my two sons, “John” and “Philip,” to take over. Philip became money hungry and sued his brother and me. He is no longer part of the business, and in retaliation, I am not allowed to see my two grandchildren.
It’s been over a year since I last communicated with Philip. All attempts to contact him, letters, presents, etc., have been refused. He has gone behind our backs to try to woo some of our employees and has been very underhanded about it, telling people we are going out of business. He is illegally operating a company out of his home with eight employees.
Should I give the authorities all the information I have on his activities or just move on with my life? Should I keep trying to contact him and my grandchildren? This has torn our family apart. I no longer know this person whom I raised, nurtured and loved. He is bitter and angry, and I believe he needs professional help. — A Mom on the Outside
Dear Mom: It sounds as if Philip deserves to be reported to the authorities, but understand that if you do this, there will be little chance of ever healing the relationship. Many people who betray their families or friends cannot deal with the guilt and behave abysmally, trying to convince themselves that you somehow deserved it. There is no guarantee it will get better with time, but it remains a possibility. Once you report him, however, that door is closed. The choice is yours.
Dear Annie: Do you have rules for cell phone etiquette? I called a friend to say hello, and within two minutes her cell phone rang. Instead of letting the call go to voicemail, she answered it while holding the home phone to her other ear, and I could hear her entire trivial conversation. I almost hung up on her.
It seems I wasn’t important enough for her to ignore the cell phone, and I think she was very rude. She didn’t apologize for keeping me waiting. Instead, she said she was “popular.” Should I have said something? This also happens when we are having lunch together. When I’m with someone, I keep my cell on mute and check messages later. I understand taking calls in an emergency, but not for anything else. I know she reads your column. Help me out. — Mute in Montana
Dear Mute: Your friend seems to think she is impressing others by taking multiple calls. She is wrong. The basic rule for cell phones and PDAs is to be considerate. Since many people have no clue what that means, here are our rules:
1. The person you are with comes first. Mute your phone and let calls go to voicemail unless it is an emergency or a necessary call such as checking with the babysitter, in which case, apologize to your companion and, if possible, leave the area to speak in private. Be brief.
2. The person who calls first takes priority. Let other calls go to voicemail or tell them you will call them back.
3. Set your phone to vibrate or turn it off entirely when you are in theaters or restaurants, in church, at concerts, weddings, funerals, during public speeches, etc.
4. If you are having a phone conversation, leave some distance between you and the nearest person. No one wants to listen to your chatter, and no one should be eavesdropping on your personal information.
5. Do not, under any circumstances, read or answer e-mail on your PDA while you are having a conversation with someone sitting across from you.
Dear Annie: That was a good answer to “Facing Reality,” the young girl who feared dying. When I was that age, I, too, lay awake and worried about death. Now that I’m an old poot, I lie awake and worry about women. — Grahare
Dear Grahare: Cute. Not helpful, but very cute.
Happy Rosh Hashana to all our Jewish readers.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 9.30.08