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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Monday, March 17, 2008

Ear Torture & Dear Abby

Greetings, friends and frienemies. Normally I'd be working on my next article this time of day.

Instead I'm posting to the blog, because it is the only way for me to not think about the bleeding in my ears caused by the repetitive sound of a pre-recorded voice in my newsroom blaring "Attention! Attention! Attention! This is security! There has been an alarm..." That comforting line is then followed by a high-pitched squeal for about 10 seconds.

Apparently, we are to remain calm and continue working, the voice says. Of course, that's easier said than done with this audio-water boarding coming out of the loudspeaker system. Still, I'll try to be calm until the voice comes back on and follows the "Attention..." and the squeal with "Danger, Will Robinson." I swear it sounds like the same person/robot...and that person who does the "do not leave your bags unattended" voice in the airport.

Anywho, moving right along. There's a letter to Dear Abby in newspapers today from a guy in Rochester, NY, who says that while he and his fiance were on a visit to his parents' home recently, she decided that she was coming down with a cold. And since the guest room downstairs was so tiny, the fiance thought it would be smarter to sleep in the guy's old childhood bedroom upstairs, I guess so as not to give him her cold. Well, the guy's three brothers were also home for that visit. And their old childhood bedrooms were upstairs too. The next morning the fiance tells the guy she was glad he'd changed his mind and come to her bedroom the night before and made love to her. The guy was taken aback, 'cause it wasn't him. He told Dear Abby that he and his brothers are all about the same size. I assume he was talking about their height and weight, not their twigs and berries, 'cause that would raise another set of questions altogether. He said he confronted his brothers, but none of them will 'fess up. He also said his fiance still doesn't know it wasn't him. He hasn't told her.

This story smells. Dear Abby told the guy she found it hard to believe that even if he and his brothers were the same size, etc., their manner of touch, their smell, taste, etc., could fool his fiance. She also told him to confront his fiance and make her get tested for shell-fish and what not.

I do agree with Dear Abby about the fiance being fooled. I don't think it's possible that the fiance didn't know, not even if this guy and his brothers were identical quadruplets. My thing is I doubt the story is true at all. I think some loon sent it as a prank.

But who knows? I used to think all of Dear Abby's stuff was fake, until I got a call from her. Seriously. When I worked in Wisconsin, I learned one morning of a unique case in which police searched a man's home and took him into custody based on a tip that he had confessed to "dreaming" and fantasizing about doing bad things to his girlfriend's young daughter. He hadn't done anything. But he had the thoughts. The situation was tricky, depending on whom he'd confessed to. If it was a shrink, questions would have been raised about doctor/patient confidentiality, since he actually hadn't committed a crime...yet. Anyway, turned out he confessed via letter to Dear Abby. And it turned out she was the tipster. Against her long-standing policy of letter writer confidentiality, she contacted the police in Milwaukee and spoke with the chief. When the police chief confirmed to me later that was the case, I thought he was teasing. He said he wasn't and would prove it. Sure enough, an hour or so later my phone rings, and on the other end I hear "Hi James, this is Dear Abby!" It's like getting a call from Santa Claus, except she explained she was "Jeanne Phillips" and had been writing under the Dear Abby pen name for years, since taking over the column from her mom.

Sorry, I'm rambling. So folks, especially women, is it possible to hook up intimately in the dark, and mistake whom you've hooked up with? I say no. And if I was that guy I'd have three bruised and broken brothers right now, and one homeless fiance...who had given me my ring back.

UPDATE: The voice from the loudspeakers is back. Now, he's saying "This has been a false alarm. Please disregard. I repeat, this has been a false alarm, please disregard!"

What a tease. I don't trust the voice. I think the voice is like the Wizard...of Oz, conducting a giant lab rat experiment on us poor unsuspecting folks in the newsroom. Silence! We have a newspaper to produce.

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  • Ha. Reminds me of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a la "Don't Panic."

    The mere repetition of the phrase is reason enough to do precisely what it says not to.

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 4:12 PM  

  • First -you have my deepest sympathy over the noise issues on the work front!
    And second, with respect to your question about the validity of the "Dear Abby" letter - I can't say this from experience, but I can't imagine NOT detecting some slight difference there, at the very least! Unless perhaps she is a nympho who is heavy-duty into some really far-out drugs! Or she was dreaming and it felt so real, maybe -then again, maybe she's a fruit-loop or the whole thing might just have been a fake.

    By Blogger Jeni, at 10:05 PM  

  • Even in the dark my olofactory would know my man with one sniff.

    I say this story stinks.

    By Blogger Pamela, at 11:00 PM  

  • I agree with Pamela and you. Some things you can't duplicate.

    By Blogger The CEO, at 11:52 PM  

  • I agree - I'm not buying it....unless she's crazy or had taken a huge dose of something for her cold......still not buying it.

    By Anonymous ines, at 12:00 AM  

  • Mularky. Plain and simple.

    By Blogger Fire Fox, at 7:16 AM  

  • There are some seriously weird people out there. Which is how Dear Abby stays in business.

    & there are some people so unobservant they wouldn't notice the difference between an elephant & a corgi. Though they might if the elephant got into bed with them!

    By Blogger Bronchitkat, at 8:29 AM  

  • Yeah, the story sounded a bit off but supposing it really was true, first.. the guy didn't try hard enough to get the confession, and second..there's NO WAY a woman wouldn't or shouldn't know her guy in any setting. Smell, taste, touch, mannerisms, voice, ETC.
    If true, she's a train wreck with a caboose full of who knows what other crazy stuff that's already happened and he's got some nasty kin.

    By Blogger CrystalChick, at 10:59 AM  

  • ThirdWorst, I love Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. And you're right. The repetition made me want to run around the building covering my ears and screaming.

    Jeni, that she was drugged up is something I hadn't considered. Hey, nowadays, anything is possible.

    Pamela, the smell test is a good point. Every body has a unique scent. There's no way I'd mistake a strange woman's smell for Mrs. B's, dark or not.

    Monty, maybe this guy and his brothers are clones.

    ines, she'd have to have taken a gallon of Formula 44 or Robitussin or whatever they sell over the counter these days.

    fire fox, we're on the same page.

    Bronchitikat, you almost made me spit out my tea. An elephant and a corgi? Not an image I wanted in my head.

    Crystalchick, if I was him I'd definitely get a few shots of 'cillin to be safe, before continuing any sort of intimate relationship with her. And yes, if this is true, this dude should disown his brothers and dump the fiance.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 1:00 PM  

  • We're sure that the wife didn't say that just to mess with his head? Not that I would...but I could see the evil humor in someone else doing it.

    By Blogger WNG, at 2:28 PM  

  • WNG, that would be cold. But now that you mention, I have a couple of friends who have that kind of sense of humor.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 2:54 PM  

  • Maybe she was just joking around with him; you know, sort of saying it sarcastically because he didn't come join her. And what do you think then of the fact that he didn't deny it to her?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:52 PM  

  • The story's fake as all get-out. And the call is like getting one from Santa Claus, Sadam Hussein or Moses.

    By Blogger M@, at 9:18 PM  

  • M@, I agree on the story...probably. A call from Moses would be pretty cool too.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 10:26 PM  

  • I'll just play devil's advocate -- depending on how asleep she was and how much of and what kind of drugs/medication she was taking, it's possible she wasn't really 'there' for the whole thing. But you can bet the guy would know he was somewhere he shouldn't have been.

    That's why I think the story is fake. Not because of her, but because of him, the brother who took what wasn't his.

    By Blogger SWF42, at 12:51 PM  

  • here's the thing... I dated a guy (he was a junior at the same school; let's call him B) while I was a freshman in high school, and during my junior year of college, I ended up dating B's younger brother, B2 (not my proudest moment -- hence the anonymous post)

    Anyway, the first time I kissed B2 during my junior year of college, I freaked out (for lack of a better term) and pushed him away.

    Why? Well, B1 was a horrible kisser -- and B2's kiss was IDENTICAL to his older brother's. And, for the record, I was 100% sober.

    While the case you described sounds suspect, with my eyes closed, B1 and B2 were very much alike. Add being sick, under the influence of something and in the dark... it's not 100% unreasonable to not distinguish the two. The voice however (more than the smell -- especially if she had a cold) would have been an absolute deal breaker.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:42 AM  

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