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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dear Apron

As many of you know, in addition to reading FoxTrot and For Better or For Worse online, Mrs. Apron also enjoys reading Dear Abby online. Fortunately, the only person allowed to comment on Dear Abby is Abigail Van Buren.

Sometimes, Mrs. Apron reads Dear Abby in my presence.

Sometimes, I just can't resist.

From time to time on My Masonic Apron, you'll read a letter addressed to Dear Abby, and a response from Dear Apron.

A letter from yesterday left me & Mrs. Apron particularly slackjawed.


My older brother moved from the East Coast to Wyoming 20 years ago, which put him in a different time zone -- two hours behind me. He died in June of last year.

I am planning to get a tattoo memorializing the date and time of my brother's passing, but have reached a dilemma. My brother died June 12 at 11 p.m. in Wyoming, but it was 1 a.m. June 13 here in Connecticut.

Which date should I use? I have asked friends who say I should go with what feels right to me, but others have told me to use the date on his death certificate. Which is correct?


Here's what Abby Van B wrote back:


The date on your brother's death certificate. However, tattoos are very personal, and if you choose to use the time and date in Connecticut of his passing, no one should criticize you for it.

Here's what Dear Apron has to say:


Are you serious?

I mean, really: am I being punked? Is that what they call it now? It used to be Alan Funt's Candid Camera, and then it was Dick Clark & Ed McMahon with American Bandstand & Practical Jokes-- but now I think you're totally Jackassing me. I get so many letters from idiots, imbeciles and fruittybars that sometimes I'm just never quite sure which ones are real and which ones are jokes.

You have to be kidding, right?

Listen, don't take this the wrong way, but I think I understand why your brother felt the need to move from Connecticut to Wyoming. 2,043 miles seems like the basic distance from you that I would want to be too, especially if we were related.

Do you really not have anything more pressing with which to concern yourself than this petty, absurd time-zone/tattoo question? I'm guessing that you're unemployed-- everybody else is-- why don't you spend a little more time on and a little less time flexing your assuredly taxed synapses on this little connundrum you've created for yourself? If that seems like too unpleasant a task for you, go fly-fishing or something. Get drunk and then go out and get the frigging tattoo-- you'll see what you decided when you wake up the next morning.

As far as the tattoo goes, here's the deal: it doesn't fucking matter what date and time you put on there, chances are nobody will notice or care, and your brother will still be dead either way.

I'm always entertained and intrigued by the methods white trash like you employ to honor deceased relatives. Since many people write to me with etiquette questions, I'd like to offer you my admittedly unsolicited opinion about your decision to get a dead brother tattoo in the first place:

Tattoos are not appropriate ways to honor dead people. I don't know quite how this quaint little tradition got started, but I'd be willing to bet it originated in a trailer park somewhere south of the Mason Dixon Line. I know the tradition of "honoring Mom" started in the Navy, with buff sailors adorning their biceps and probably their glutes with the letters M-O-M, and I don't quite know what that's all about, either. I also don't know if these sailors did this before their mothers were dead, or after. Maybe I'm just an insufferable snob, but it just seems to me to be a somewhat vulgar way to pay tribute to somebody who has gone to meet their maker.

Some examples of other inappropriate methods trashy people employ to memorialize their deceased siblings, parents, friends, pets include but are in no way limited to:

Charm bracelets/necklaces

Window decals

Bumper stickers

Vinyl graphics

Airbrushed t-shirts

Plastic crosses/stuffed animals lashed to streetpoles at intersections/drive-by locations

Embroidered handkerchiefs (a.k.a. "Bless You Handkerchiefs")



{I've tried to be comprehensive, but if I've forgotten any other tasteless to remember loved ones gone by, please feel free to add to the list yourselves.}

Perhaps, Day Late, you might want to try branding your forehead with a hot poker bearing your brother's initials? That might be nice. It would certainly show your devotion to his memory, and it would also be a permanent exhibition of your dedication to making dubious choices.

By the way, do you have many other siblings and, if they predecease you, do you plan on "honoring" all of them in a similar fashion? What about your parents-- did they each get a pec muscle? Can you imagine if conservative Catholics or Orthodox Jews got into the habit of tattooing themselves every time one of their kin passed on-- they'd run out of skin.

Try lighting a candle once a year or visiting the damn grave. At the very least, it gives you the excuse to travel to Wyoming.

Oh, and get a fucking job already, would you?


  1. Candles with their image on it! Totally inappropriate.

  2. Expensive but ghoulish, if you ask me:


  3. oh hell- those window decals make me want to scream. Sometimes ( ok, only once so far but I'm worried that it might become trendy) I saw a car with windows painted up with some kind of in memoriam- like people do for football games and the like- the RIP equivalent of 'just married'.


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