Friday, March 31, 2017

John Prine – "Dear Abby" (1973)


Dear Abby, dear Abby
Well, I never thought
That me and my girlfriend
Would ever get caught

(Think again, you big dope!)

The last 2 or 3 lines discussed advice columnist Carolyn Hax’s response to a letter from a woman whose husband had been checking out young, attractive women on LinkedIn.  The letter was signed “I Married an Arse.”  (The writer and her husband were British.)

Carolyn Hax
How did the writer of that letter become aware that her hubby had a wandering eye?  By regularly checking his browsing history.  He usually remembered to delete his history, but occasionally forgot . . . which allowed his wife to see what webpages he had been viewing.

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If the letters that Carolyn Hax is getting are any indication, a lot of women are sticking their noses into their husbands’ and boyfriends’ beeswax.


For example, the following letter was featured in the Carolyn Hax column that ran a few days after the “I Married an Arse” letter and reply were published:

My girlfriend and I recently called off our engagement due to some flirtatious messages she found on my phone.  I can say honestly that it was an isolated incident, but her anger was compounded by my other messages with platonic girlfriends, which I feel were taken completely out of context.  This was not the first time she had looked through my phone.

OF COURSE it wasn’t the first time she looked at his phone.

OF COURSE she took his messages to his platonic [sic] girlfriends out of context.


If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, it doesn’t make a sound. You could say the same of mildly flirtatious texts to platonic girlfriends that aren't seen by one's fiancée.

They say ignorance is bliss.  That may not always be true, but it probably was true in this case.  Unless you believe that the ex-fiancée is better off because she  opened Pandora’s box . . . or Pandora's iPhone.

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Of course, sending a few flirtatious e-mails and getting a woman who is not your wife pregnant are two very, very different things.

Here’s one more letter to Carolyn Hax:  

I’m ashamed to admit I made the classic mistake of having a brief, midlife-crisis affair.  I love my wife and family and quickly realized I couldn’t risk it all for a fling. Before I could end it, though, the woman I was seeing got pregnant and the result has been nothing but pain.

My wife and I have stayed together and are in counseling, but the woman is keeping the baby.  I know I have to agree to partial custody and that my affair will have to become public.  Soon everyone — my older children, friends, neighbors — will know I cheated on my wonderful wife. When I think of the pain and humiliation it will cause my family, especially my wife, I’m not sure how we will bear it.


My wife says she is ready to welcome the baby into our home, but her burden is about to become so much heavier.  How can we prepare ourselves for, and most important, do right by, a child who is (if I’m being brutally honest) going to ruin our lives?

You’ve got another think coming if you think I’m going to make a joke about that letter.  If you ask me, there’s nothing funny about it.  

*     *     *     *     *

Carolyn Hax’s advice column appears in about 200 newspapers.  (If your local paper doesn’t carry Hax’s column – or if you’re like me and you get your news from your friends’ fake news posts to Facebook instead of a newspaper – just click here to read her columns online.)

“Dear Abby,” the most famous of all American newspaper advice columns, ran in over 1200 newspapers at the height of its popularity.

“Dear Abby” and “Ann Landers”
“Dear Abby” was written by Pauline Phillips from 1956 until 2000, when her daughter Jeanne Phillips took over.  A similar column, “Ask Ann Landers,” was written from 1955 to 2002 by Esther “Eppie” Lederer, who was Pauline Phillips’s twin sister.

Phillips was named Pauline Esther Friedman by her parents, while Lederer was named Esther Pauline Friedman.  (Maybe the parents thought it cost extra to give twins different names.)

*     *     *     *     *

Today’s featured song, “Dear Abby,” was released in 1973 on John Prine’s third album, Sweet Revenge.

Here’s “Dear Abby”:



Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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