Saturday, June 05, 2010

Fear of dead peeping Toms

Or Thomasinas

Sometimes I can't resist getting into the act. I see an advice column in my morning newspaper—for the Internet generation, be advised that a “newspaper” is a sheaf of large sheets of paper with printed news on them—and I want to rewrite the responses. Yesterday's Dear Abby is a case in point:
Woman Fears Being Watched by Ghosts of her Loved Ones

Dear Abby: I am in my 40s and have never lost anyone close to me. Unfortunately, my darling mother-in-law has terminal cancer. I am now preoccupied that people's spirits are near us after they die.

Please don't laugh, but it gives me the creeps. I don't want to think my mother-in-law will watch me making love with my husband, that my father will watch me in the bathroom, or that my mother will be critical of my spending more time with my kids than cleaning the house as she did.

Am I crazy to think I might not have any privacy after my loved ones die? — Spooked in Spokane

Dear Spooked: Calm down. The departed sometimes “visit” those with whom their souls were intertwined, but usually it's to offer strength, solace and reassurance during difficult times. If your mother-in-law's spirit visits you while you're intimate with her son, it will be only to wish you and her son many more years of closeness and happiness in your marriage.

As to your parents, when they travel to the hereafter, I am sure they'll have more pleasant things with which to occupy their time than spying on you. So hold a good thought and quit worrying.
Now doesn't that set your mind at ease? Abby sure is an expert on souls and what happens after you die. The afterlife will have too many distractions to make it likely that your dearly departed will hang around and watch you as you rut like bonobos with your love interest, or go to the bathroom, or pick your nose, or vote Republican. They won't spy on such shameful behaviors.

Good to know.

Of course, if I were to try my hand at replying to Spooked in Spokane, the response would have come out a bit different:
Dear Spooked: Calm down, Spooked. Being dead is a full-time occupation. The deceased lie mouldering in their graves, settling in their urns, blowing in the wind, or lost at sea. Whatever. Once they've passed on, they're just dead. Finished. Kaput. They lack senses and cognition and any trace of prurient curiosity. They're gone forever and can't bother you.

In the meantime, you're not dead yet, so consider getting a life and outgrowing the fantasy stories of youth and religion.
I guess I could offer my services to Dear Abby as a ghostwriter, but I don't want to spook her.


Anonymous said...

Nice! The advice that nitwit offers would bug me, too.

Jens Knudsen (Sili) said...

I guess that's the difference between Dear Abby and Savage Love. In the latter case the writer would have been worrying about being turned on by the thought of peeping ghosts.

Zeno said...

Yeah, I'm always confusing Dear Abby and Dan Savage. Those bitches sound so much alike!

Personal said...

Wow...the things you can get away with in this culture.

Unknown said...

She's worried she's spending too much time with the kids, and not enough cleaning the house?

Anonymous said...

Well, Dan Savage does write on the previous Dear Abby's desk...

Piero said...

Your advice was spot on. I would just have added "and have it off in peace, my child".

Chakat Firepaw said...


Actually he uses her sister's, (Ann Landers), desk. Admittedly, they're easy to confuse given that they are not just two people in the same job with similar pen names, they're identical twins.

llewelly said...

Dear Spooked in Spokane: I have good news and bad news. First, the bad news: Your mother-in-law is clearly a pervert, a creep, a peeping-tom, and a stalker. But you already knew that; otherwise, you wouldn't be concerned about her snooping about in your life. Now for the good news: Spirits do not exist. When the physical brain is damaged, due to disease, trauma, or chemicals, mental function is damaged. Personalities can change. Skills and memories can be permanently lost. All of this, and much other strong scientific evidence, shows that consciousness is a function of the brain. Therefor, spirits do not exist. Souls do not exist. No-one ever comes back from the dead. There are no ghosts. None! Once your mother-in-law is dead, she will no longer be able to snoop about your life and generally make you miserable. She'll be gone, and good riddance to her.

Eliot Rosewater said...

This reminds me of one of my favorite Bertrand Russell quotes:

"I am sometimes shocked by the blasphemies of those who think themselves pious - for instance, the nuns who never take a bath without wearing a bathrobe all the time. When asked why, since no man can see them, they reply: 'Oh, but you forget the good God.' Apparently they conceive of the Deity as a Peeping Tom, whose omnipotence enables Him to see through bathroom walls, but who is foiled by bathrobes. This view strikes me as curious."

-- Bertrand Russell

Harold's Tabloid said...

um... excuse me, but isn't that Elvis Presley hoovering over you head?