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Compassion, Paranoia, & Gerbils

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Al Veoli: Compassion, Paranoia, & Gerbils

Al Veoli

Dear Al Veoli:

What do I say to a new amputee?


Dear Lost:

What to say to a person who has recently had a limb amputated really depends on the circumstances and on the personality of the individual. If the person has just come home from war in Iraq, for instance, and her four members of her batallion were tragically killed, but she survived--albeit without an arm--she is fortunate and everyone around her is surely grateful that she was spared. In that case, that gratefulness can be expressed to her; although she is handicapped in one way, she is alive and has the potential to have a wonderful life. In other circumstances things can be more murky. The person might be very depressed about losing a limb and or might be circumspect about--it depends. Some people might want a lot of sympathy, while others might rail against that. Regardless, offer encouragement to the individual. Help him/her do tasks that might not come easily with the amputation. At the same time, start figuring out ways the person can be just as independent as before, because that agency is very important.

Dear Al Veoli:

My ex-boyfriend calls me 5-10 times a day and is harrassing me. Up to now his messages have not been threatening but they are very unpleasant as he calls me a slut and a whore. At what point is he considered a disgruntled ex-lover? Will his anger escalate?


Dear Worried:

It seems that your ex-boyfriend can officially be deemed a "disgruntled ex-lover" if he calls you many times a day and leaves verbally abusive messages. He is at the very least disgruntled and could probably be categorized as worse than that. It is very important for you to not aid in this behavior; pick up the phone once and state clearly that he cannot continue to harrass you and if he does you will contact the police. If the behavior continues, please tell the police. It is impossible to know at what juncture his anger may or may not escalate--why wait around to find out?

Dear Al Veoli:

I have been doing my research and I have found that gerbils are very easy to take care of. They barely go to the bathroom and they don't smell. At most the whole thing (cage, gerbil, etc) would cost $60. AT MOST. So why won't my parents get me one? Help!

-No Gerbils in Norton

Dear No Gerbils:

Unfortunately it's not always clear why a parent or parental unit has a certain viewpoint on an issue. Have you explained that the gerbil would be low maintenance? Have you presented any plan to finance the acquisition? Try writing a proposal to your parents of how you would take care of said gerbil, with feeding schedule, cage acquisition, maintenance, etc, and see what they say.

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