Dear Nic

Do you remember Ann Landers and Dear Abby? I was thinking about them the other day, those two advice giving sisters, and wondering how their advice had aged. Were their views old fashioned and out dated? Are they “Karens” now?

I used to read their columns every day. (In an actual newspaper!) I had this great idea that I should go back and read some of the letters they received and see if I could modernize some responses.

Boy did I read some doozies. Long, descriptive letters and a lot of whining. Here’s what I decided. I decided I’m going to give you some solid advice without you having to have your questions printed in the newspaper signed, “A Concerned Friend”.

Absolutely nothing qualifies me to give this advice except 48 years of learning. (For obvious reasons, I will not be giving medical advice!)

So here goes, six of my best gems:

1. Always tell someone when they have a booger on their nose. That’s right, just do it. Yes, it’s going to be awkward and yes, it’s going to make someone feel uncomfortable for a minute, but I’ve never met a person who wasn’t over the top grateful for the heads up. Plus, once you let them know (as discreetly as possible), you have now risen a notch in estimation compared to everyone who didn’t say anything. You are someone who can be trusted and relied upon and it goes much farther than boogers.

2. To de-core your iceberg lettuce, hold it in your palm stem side up like the head of your enemy, and smash it stem side down onto the counter. Remove severed spine- I mean stem. It’s so easy, but I find people who have never worked in the food industry trying to cut the stem out with a knife. Put that knife down and smash it with your bare hands! You have the power!

3. In an unfamiliar car, use the arrow on the dashboard gas tank emblem to learn which side the gas cap is on. For real, it says right there. I know, I went so many years not knowing that.

4. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, and you know you’re not going to make it, before you go negative, go to the cash machine and withdraw $100. Use the cash for your expenses and only pay one overdraft fee (for the $100) instead of per every transaction.

Your bank already agreed to cover your overdrafts in exchange for a fee, so it’s a high interest loan until pay day, and you go less dollars in the hole. A wise, old coworker taught me this trick when I was young and poor single mother and though I would only recommend it in a dire circumstance, because it is after all high interest, it can save you when you’re out of options and need gas until Friday. We are not questioning our morality here, we are just trying to survive.

5. Always carry a snack. I cannot count the number of times a Kind bar has saved me or someone else from meltdown. They also make ok dog treats in a pinch. We keep a basket of snacks and a case of water by the door so our guests can leave with a snack and we are reminded to take one ourselves. I fly snacks in my suitcase when I travel, to refill my backpack as needed. They make lots of single serving size snacks, some of them are even healthy. It is a small gesture to give someone (a toddler, a friend, a coworker, a dog, yourself) a snack, with very large rewards.

6. A spoonful of peanut butter cures hiccups. Every time. As someone who suffered hiccups an exceptional amount of times growing up, I’ve tried it all. Water sips in all sorts of patterns (and upside down), meditation, anger, deep breathing. Nothing works without fail as well as peanut butter. Give it a go.

There you have it. Eat your heart out Ann and Abby.


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