During the 10 years I have been with my husband, I have called my mother-in-law "Martha." I have just learned that she has been harboring resentment about it because she hadn't given me "permission" to call her by her first name. Apparently she would like me to call her "Ms. Smith."
I didn't hear it from her, but from my new sister-in-law who does call her Ms. Smith and has been instructed to continue doing so.
I don't remember our first meeting or when I started calling her Martha. I had no idea she has been offended this entire time. Now I'm not sure what to do. Should I ask her about it? We're not particularly close, and it would be an awkward conversation. My husband is no help. He thinks we're both being silly. -- THE OTHER MS. SMITH
Wait a minute-- I think I see the problem. You've been calling your mother-in-law "Martha," a name you have contained within quotation marks, leading me to believe that this is not actually her "name." What is her actual name? You should start by finding that out, and then try calling her that. Maybe her name is Suzanne. Maybe it's Thomasina. How about Leslie? I'll tell you, honey, I'd be mighty pissed off if my name was Georganne and some uppity little moo-cow who's been banging my son for ten years insisted on calling me "Martha."
You never even took the time to find out what your mother-in-law's name was, you just blithely started calling her Martha. Jesus-- some of you people have fucking nerve.
By the way, I think your husband's being "silly." Especially when he waxes his eyelids, covers his nipples in 3-cent postage stamps and parades around the neighborhood in that wet-suit with the open butt-flap, rubbing raspberry vinagrette dressing all over the trees and undulating against them. Frankly, I was surprised that wasn't what your letter was about.
My husband and I have been happily married for 16 years. We have one son, age 12. While writing our wills, my husband told me that his wish is to be cremated and his ashes scattered in the ocean off the beach near where he grew up.
I'd like us to be together after we have both passed on, but his beach holds no fond memories for me. I would much prefer to be buried in our local cemetery with a headstone so our son can come to "visit" both of us. I don't want to spend eternity in a cemetery plot without my husband. Any suggestions? -- PLANNING AHEAD IN MASSACHUSETTS
Yes, I have a suggestion: immortality. This way, you'll never have to face this unfortunate little debacle that is threatening to drive a rift between you and your hubby-dubby-doo. If you are so concerned about spending eternity with him, why wait till death to do it? Live forever and rock on with your indestructability! Here's how to do it:
Collaborate with your husband on an expansive, creative endeavor. Write 60 symphonies, 40 full-scale operas and a thick volume of sacred music that will be of such a high caliber that your names will live on forever. That takes care of the immortality of your spirit.
Then, to address the immortality of your body, retain the services of a licensed registered nurse. Have her start an A-line of intravenous V-8 juice. Have your eyeballs replaced with Superballs, and sign the necessary legal documets to have your husband's semen replaced with liquid Kryptonite. This will require a dialysis machine, some retrofitted components, and possibly the assistance of Dr. Oz. Being a fan of your vast body of musical work, he will agree to help you free of charge.
Next, you will need approximately seven thousand tons of llama smegma. You must bathe in this for at least a month straight. According to recent reports released in the New England Journal of Medicine and Better Homes & Gardens, this substance coagulates inside the pores of quarreling couples from Massachusetts who are facing end-of-life decisions and completely eradicates toxins and harmful bacteria for life.
If these instructions are followed explicitly, you will never have to worry about what to do with your remains, or where your son will go to remember you, because you'll totally outlive that poor rotting bastard.
Of course, there is an outside possibility that this won't work and you'll both die in spite of your musical achievements and your adherence to the plan laid out in this column. If that should happen, well, it doesn't fucking matter what happens to your lousy, repugnant, malodorous corpses, because you'll both be fucking dead. And, P.S., your son won't be visiting you anyway, because he hates you and has no friends because his parents are the type of people who can't figure out their own problems and resort to writing to imagined intermediary authorities.
Plus, they're covered in llama smegma. And that's just nasty, bitches.
What is the proper letter salutation for a married couple where the husband has recently undergone gender reassignment surgery? (They were "John and Millie Jones.") -- WONDERING IN KEY WEST
I should think "Dear Tranny and Soon-to-be-Ex Mrs. Jones" ought to do it.