Dear Ann Landers: I am a domestic violence outreach specialist/advocate and I believe you understand this problem well.
Too often the question asked is, "Why does she stay?" instead of "Why does he batter?" Victims of domestic violence are like puppets on a string, and invariably, the abuser sadistically toys with his victim. I refer to domestic violence as "the death of a soul." The physical abuse is bad, but in time, the bruises go away and the bones heal. The emotional abuse does not go away.
I am a survivor of domestic violence. I am glad I can say these words, because too many victims aren't around anymore to say them. I would like to tell every woman and man who is getting knocked around, you must get help. Outside intervention is your key to freedom. It could save your life. If you try to fight this battle alone, you will probably lose.
-- A.P., Leesville, La.
Dear Leesville: Thanks for encouraging all victims of domestic violence to seek help immediately. Shelters for battered women (and battered men) are listed in the telephone book, or you can call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 799-7233; the hearing-impaired can call TTY: (800) 787-3224.
A little steep
Dear Ann Landers: I hope you will let me share one more story on ridiculous bills. My husband is in the process of retiring, and we are planning several long trips soon. I suggested we have our utility bills paid automatically through our bank so we wouldn't have to be at home to take care of them. My husband refused. He insisted that he see every bill that comes in. I argued that it was unnecessary to see such mundane bills, but he was adamant.
Two days after our discussion, we received our electric bill. The amount due was $233,613.29. When we called the utility company and expressed our shock, we were told the company had just acquired a new computer system and our actual bill was $40. Our banker said that bill certainly would have been paid automatically by the bank had we been out of town when it came through.
We framed the bill, and it gives us a good laugh every time we look at it.
-- The Ems in Dothan, Ala.
Dear Dothan: It pays to check even the most ordinary bills, since a million-dollar mistake means nothing to a computer. It's just a few more zeros.
Dear Ann Landers: After reading the story about the man who soaked his infected toe in the crock pot, I'd like to tell you about what happened to a friend of mine.
Years ago, "Dora" took a turkey out of the oven, set it on the stove to cool, and left with her husband for church. When they returned, Dora found the cat on the counter, enjoying the turkey leg. Knowing her husband would go ballistic if he knew what the cat had done, she quickly cut the leg off. When she brought the turkey to the table for carving, her husband asked, "Where's the other leg?" Dora replied, "Kroger's had a special on one-legged turkeys, so I bought one."
Her husband actually believed her, and proceeded to carve. A few days later, she felt guilty and told him the cat got the other turkey leg. He roared with laughter, and it has been a family joke ever since.
-- Mrs. W., Chattanooga, Tenn.
Dear Tenn.: If Dora's husband did more of the grocery shopping, he never would have bought that story about the one-legged turkey. How lucky for her that he has a sense of humor. I trust she promised him there would be no more Tom-foolery after that.