Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday's child is full of Sage

This week's Seekers, in deference to the upcoming holiday, have presented themselves on a Wednesday, instead of the typically assigned Thursday, and may be found here:

1. First is a Seeker whose mother smothered the Seeker with well-intentioned kindnesses, and is doing the same for a younger brother, effectively crippling their ability to function as independent adults.

The Sage is aghast that you would speak so ill of your mother. If you are indeed certain that your brother is under a bad influence, enter your parents' home this long weekend, guns a-blazing, and abscond with the young man. Lock him in a dark room for 3 weeks, offering him nourishment or comfort only when he comforms to your wishes. ("He rubs the lotion ...") At the end of this training period, insist he seek remunerative employment by night while continuing his studies by day. Ensure that you have carefully screened whatever courses he wishes to study or whatever employment he wishes to seek. In this way, you may extend his dependence, while simultaneously liberating him from being coddled. Meanwhile, your parents should both applaud your efforts to spur your brother's entrance into the adult world, provided you are not required to shoot them during the abduction.

2. Next is a Seeker who will b e required to shave a beard he has worn for two years if he wishes to participate in his sister's wedding.

The Sage agrees that the hair on your face, as a part of your body, is your choice. Encourage your sister and her betrothed to consider donning beards themselves for the occasion, just to make it all uniform.

3. Our third Seeker became emotionally distraught after being summarily informed that another had been hired for the position for which the Seeker had been training.

The Sage wishes to sympathize with your despondency at your employer's recantation of the promise that you would be given this position, even after having begun to train you for the situation. Given the timing and the startling nature of the announcement, the Sage doubts greatly that anyone would fault you for being human and displaying an emotional reaction at such disappointment. Carry on your duties as if this incident had never happened. However, also update your resume and seek other opportunities, as some employers are extremely reluctant to move an effective employee to other tasks. Also speak quietly to whomever was responsible for this decision, to let them know of your dissatisfaction and your hopes that you will not be sidestepped on any future opportunies within your current organization.

4. Today's final Seeker is married to a medical intern who makes jokes about his patient's private equipment, having pointed out one patient he recognized in public to a friend.

The Sage agrees that your husband is being unethical to discuss patients' personal information with those who are not on a "need to know" basis. Before you sabotage your husband's future, however, remind him of his legal responsibility to protect his patients' privacy and suggest that anyone overhearing his remarks would be in a position to report him to someone able to end his career. If he continues with similar misdeeds, he need not know that you were the source of the complaint.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sage dressing down

Like ER workers and police officers, the Sage is need most during holidays, when people's adult manners collide with the childhood roles expected from family, and when the traditions of friends clash with the traditions of family. The holiday Seekers may be found here.

The first Seeker had planned to attend the extended family Thanksgiving with her beau, his daughter, and his granddaughter. The Seeker's sister insists that the Seeker and her beau only must attend, or the entire dinner will be cancelled.

The Seeker recognizes coercion wherever it rears its ugly head. Of course your beau must be with his daughter and granddaughter at Thanksgiving, as he may be the only family they have. If your sister and other relations are so inflexible as to be unable to set two more plates at the table, then you have no obligation to accommodate your sister's demands. Tell your sister you will let her know what you decide after you have decided, and wait till late Thursday morning to inform her that you will be unable to attend. One person missing from the meal should not create a crisis of such monumental proportions. Is your sister fully in charge of her faculties?

(Note to Lesser Advisor: Once someone is as old as this Seeker appears to be, a few months may consistute a long courtship.)

The next Seeker has a widowed mother with a boyfriend who comes to family celebrations. The family has "politely" stopped discussing anything about the late father, which upsets the Seeker.

The Sage is confused. Did your mother insist that your father should not be discussed in front of her gentleman friend? Did he demand that such discussions cease? Does he believe that your and your sibling were the result of immaculate conception? The Sage hates to disappoint you, but this man surely knows that his girlfriend once had another man in  her life and that she shared many happy memories with him. In fact, he probably wonders if your father was frequently absent or even abusive, that none of those memories seem to resurfacce during his visits with you.

The third Seeker has been living with a man for a year, hoping for marriage. Her parents were not invited to his family Thanksgiving. The Seeker asked if they would have been invited, were she and he married.

The Sage will point out that you have asked the wrong question. You are so focused on marriage that you have failed to consider etiquette. A better question would have been whether your parents might be invited this year. This may or may not have been followed with the questionas to whether marriage is in the offing for the coming year. If the answer is not an unqualified yes, perhaps your holiday would be better spent dining  with your parents and moving your belongings from his home.

The final Seeker for this holiday has many family assembling at her home, half of whom are smokers. One smoker, being of advanced age, has been granted special permission to smoke inside the Seeker's home, making the others insist that they, too, must be permitted to do so.

The Sage sees no dilemma here. This is your home, in which you make the ground rules. Whether you permit your grandmother to smoke in your home is entirely up to you and completely unrelated to whether your other relatives are permitted to do so. Inform your other relatives that when they become nonagenarians, they, too may be granted special dispensation. This is provided, of course, that your are still able to be around smoke when you have aged that much, yourself.

The Sage regrets the recent gap in weekly allocations of sage wisdom. However, between technical difficulties and the low quality of Seekers' dilemmas, this was of necessity.