DEAR BUSHY: I had a baby in June, and my mother in law has visited our house every day since. She's constantly correcting me and implying that she'll always be the better mother. I'm clawing at the walls! Is there anything I can do? - FRANCINE, BANGOR, MAINE
DEAR FRANCINE: Tell her that you need space; everyone needs some freedom, whether they're mothers, fathers, children, Asian or African Americans. Some, however, would seek to take that freedom away. That's a lesson we learned the hard way in this fair city, one quiet morning that seemed like any other.
You will be given hills to climb, but be strong in the face of adversity; strike back and reassert your liberty, remembering the power of the family even as you do so.
DEAR BUSHY: I share an office with a young gentleman who, while he is good at his job, has several disgusting habits that make him difficult to deal with. He is often flatulent, and picks his nose when he thinks nobody is looking. I don't want to hurt his feelings, and certainly don't want to break the unwritten rules of office politics, but would like to change location as soon as possible. What would be the best way to go about it? - MARSHALL, SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA
DEAR MARSHALL: Terror comes in many forms. It can be seen in the face of a little girl whose daddy perished in the flames of the World Trade Centre. It can be seen in the eyes of the Iraqi people who suffered under the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. It can be seen in the workers in your office as your colleague pollutes the air with his flatulence and offends your values with his frequent nose-picking.
We cannot pander to terror. We cannot buckle. We cannot bend. We must stand tall and let the world know that we are strong, even as the forces of evil seek to break our resolve. You must tell your supervisor, and if your supervisor does not act, you must act alone.
DEAR BUSHY: I'm sixteen years old and have been having intimate relations with my boyfriend for two years. We have been doing this in secret, as my parents would probably press charges against him. (He's seventeen.) Unfortunately, I have become pregnant, and I won't be able to keep it secret for much longer. How should I break the news to my parents, and what should I do about the baby? - MIRACLES PRECIOUS ONE, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
DEAR MIRACLES PRECIOUS ONE: The bond of family is strong, and although you have done wrong, you should attempt to seek forgiveness from your parents. They will be your rock in your hour of need, just as the brave policemen and fire fighters of this city were for the victims of the World Trade Centre attacks on September 11th. They may even help you take care of the baby as you bring it up into the world. However, if they do not wish to become parents again - as is their right - there are a number of faith-based programmes that can help you, as long as you have given your soul to Jesus.
Your boyfriend is a rapist.
DEAR BUSHY: I intend to cause a major terrorist event sometime before November 2004, in protest of your foreign policy and ungodly demeanour. Thousands will die and America will fall to its knees. - FRANK, LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY
DEAR FRANK: What? Sorry, I'm just tucking into a delicious flame-grilled meal. Would you like some barbecued cow? September 11.
DEAR BUSHY: My buddy "Carl" and I have been friends for over thirty years. We've been through a lot together, good times and bad, and until this month we've been inseparable. I borrowed his Lincoln Continental to take a short trip to San Antonio with my wife, and on the way we were hit by another automobile. Carl's car was totalled, and neither his nor my insurance will cover it. He now wants me to buy him a new car, which I am incapable of. Please help me! What can I do? - JOE, HOUSTON, TEXAS
DEAR JOE: Friendship is good for the soul. I value the friendship of my Vice President, Dick Cheney. I cherish a different sort of friendship from my wife, Laura. I know the victims of the terror attacks on September 11th value the support and friendship they have received.
Joe, Perhaps you need to patch up your differences and buy him a new car. I know how it feels to be short of money. I've been there. When Laura and I wanted to nuclear-proof our ranch, we fell short not by five or ten, but by hundreds of thousands of dollars. It took that pressure for me to re-evaluate the pressures in my life, and create new priorities in order to possibilitise the industrial-strength militarization of my family home. I curbed my cocaine addiction, and in three short months I had titanium walls.
America needs to find the same inner strength, and so do you, Joe, if you're going to buy Carl his Lincoln Continental and regain the love of a trusted friend. Thank you. God bless.
Write Dear Bushy at email@example.com. Please note that while he reads all correspondence, he is unable to solve most of the nation's problems.
Benjamin values good advice when he sees it.