Dear Ann Landers: I am writing in response to the letter from the 15-year-old whose younger cousin grabbed his seat when the boy got up to answer the phone. When the boy returned, the cousin refused to get up, and the older boy forcibly removed him from the chair. Afterward, the older boy's uncle said, "If I ever see you picking on my son again, I will stomp a mud hole in your back."
I agree that the cousin should have moved when the boy returned to the room, but I am shocked that you blamed the older boy for getting physical. The moment the cousin said, "Move your meat, lose your seat," his father should have spoken up and told his son to get up and give the chair back.
That whole ugly scene could have been avoided if the cousin had given up the seat the minute the older boy returned, or if the uncle had told his son to stop mouthing off and move his butt. No wonder kids today grow up and commit heinous crimes. Their parents aren't teaching them right from wrong, fairness or respect for the feelings of others.
-- Critical in Cape Cod
Dear Cape Cod: You are right, and I thank you for saying it so well. A great many readers were outraged by the uncle's failure to insist that the boy be given his seat back, and his violent threat to "stomp a mud hole" in the boy's back was totally uncalled for. That kind of intimidating tactic is inexcusable and reprehensible.
Dear Ann Landers: "Patrick" and I have been married for seven years. At first things were wonderful, but after the birth of our second child five years ago, Patrick began having violent fits of rage.
Patrick never hits us, but he becomes extremely angry over trivial things, such as the children going to bed 15 minutes late. When he loses it, he yells at the top of his lungs and swears a blue streak. These "moods" can last anywhere from one day to a week. When he snaps out of it, he apologizes and says he knows he needs help, but he never does anything about it.
-- Unable to Cope in Indiana
Dear Indiana: It sounds as if Patrick's rages could be more than a temper problem. Perhaps he should be on medication. Please talk to your doctor about this. Also, some joint counseling could help. Good luck.
In the beginning
Dear Ann Landers: The letter about telling a 9-year-old child that he was conceived through artificial insemination hit home.
My good friend "Donald" helped his sister-in-law get pregnant because his brother was impotent. His brother agreed to this arrangement. The child, however, was conceived through sexual intercourse, not artificial insemination.
That child is now an adult, and Donald wonders if his son will ever know who his birth father is. Donald has a wife and children of his own, and they are unaware of this "gift." I can only think how devastating the truth would be to the child, his parents, my friend and his family. In a situation like this, do you still think the child should be told?
-- Los Angeles
Dear Los Angeles: Yes, I do. The true details of the impregnation, however, need not be spelled out. It's nobody's business.