SLOAN COLUMN: Prine classic stirs memories of ‘Dear Abby’
I was listening to an old John Prine song called “Dear Abby” the other day and it brought back memories of reading the much-loved syndicated column in the local newspaper. The letters she shared and her responses to them rarely failed to make you grin.
The lyrics to Prine’s song capture the novelty of Dear Abby columns perfectly. In the song, a quartet of unhappy readers unleash complaint after complaint, from “My hair's falling out and my rights are all wrong,” to “My wife hollers at me and my kids are all freaks,” to “My stomach makes noises whenever I kiss.”
Prine’s Abby then offers a direct, take-it-or-leave it response to each of the complainers, just like the real-life Dear Abby:
You have no complaint
You are what your are and you ain't what you ain't
So listen up buster, and listen up good
Stop wishing for bad luck and knocking on wood.”
John Prine and Dear Abby: It’s doesn’t get much better.
Here, courtesy of www.parade.com, are eight of the funniest letters and response ever printed by Dear Abby:
Dear Abby: I know boys will be boys, but my ‘boy’ is seventy-three and he’s still chasing women. Any suggestions? - Annie.
Dear Annie: Don’t worry. My dog has been chasing cars for years, but if he ever caught one, he wouldn’t know what to do with it. - - -
Dear Abby: Are birth control pills deductible? – Bertie. Dear Bertie: Only if they don’t work. - - -
Dear Abby: About four months ago, the house across the street was sold to a “father and son” — or so we thought. We later learned it was an older man about 50 and a young fellow about 24. This was a respectable neighborhood before this “odd couple” moved in. They have all sorts of strange-looking company. Men who look like women, women who look like men, blacks, whites, Indians. Yesterday I even saw two nuns go in there!… Abby, these weirdos are wrecking our property values! How can we improve the quality of this once-respectable neighborhood? –Up In Arms.
Dear Up In Arms: You could move. - - -
Dear Abby: Our son married a girl when he was in the service. They were married in February and she had an 8 1/2-pound baby girl in August. She said the baby was premature. Can an 8 1/2-pound baby be this premature? – Wanting To Know.
Dear Wanting to Know: The baby was on time. The wedding was late. Forget it. - - -
Dear Abby: My wife sleeps in the raw. Then she showers, brushes her teeth and fixes our breakfast — still in the buff. We’re newlyweds and there are just the two of us, so I suppose there’s really nothing wrong with it. What do you think? – Ed.
Dear Ed: It’s O.K. with me. But tell her to put on an apron when she’s frying bacon. - - -
Dear Abby: I’ve been going steady with this man for six years. We see each other every night. He says he loves me, and I know I love him, but he never mentions marriage. Do you think he’s going out with me just for what he can get? - Gertie
Dear Gertie: I don’t know. What’s he getting? - - -
Dear Abby: My husband lost his wallet. It was mailed back and I found it stuffed with snapshots of other women. I confronted him with this evidence and he said, as a true Southern gentleman, he refused to muddy the names of the ladies in the pictures. What can I do with this Alabama Skunk? – Myra.
Dear Myra: Cut off his hominy grits. - - -
Dear Abby: I have been married for exactly one month: The other night I discovered that my wife uses mayonnaise on her hair before she goes to bed. She has the preposterous idea that it makes her hair grow faster. She claims that lots of women use it. Abby, please help me as I don’t care to smell mayonnaise at night. – New Husband
Dear New Husband: There are hair conditioners on the market that are more effective and smell better. Tell your wife that when you go to bed with a tomato, you prefer to do it without the mayonnaise. - - - You’re welcome.