by Trixie Kitsch on July 24, 2012

Recently, at a holiday luncheon, a relative of mine revealed that he is a practicing homosexual. In the parlance of today, he “came out of the closet.” Several elderly members of the family, myself included, choked, gasped, and then fell silent. It was painfully awkward for all attending. In my day, one did not announce such personal information; one simply bought tasseled loafers and went into musical theater. I realize much has changed since I was young. For future reference, what is the correct response? Stunned silence seems a tad rude.
—Great Uncle Jonas

Dear Great Uncle:
You should throw your arms in the air and shout, “Hooray!” or “That’s terrific!” If you cannot muster that sort of enthusiasm, then I would recommend the standard passive-aggressive response of, “How nice for you.”

* * * *

My sister has just undergone surgery for colon cancer. She will be required to use a colostomy bag for the next few months. She has always been very fashionable and fastidious, and I’m sure the thought of carrying feces in a plastic bag is devastating to her. I want to give her a special gift to get her mind off this dreadful predicament, but I am stymied by the very nature of the situation. I would appreciate any ideas you might have.
—Big Sister

Dear Big Sister:
You should give her something monumentally elegant, yet practical. There is only one thing that would make me forget that I was attached to a colostomy bag, and that would be a new red Gucci purse.

* * * *

In the last few months, my daughter has become unbelievably rude and angry. She screams at me for no reason and says things so cruel that I’m unable to print them. She explodes at the smallest things, such as cleaning her room or getting up and dressed for church. Everything is a fight with her! Today, she calmly told me she would kill me in my bed if I didn’t get off her back. I can’t tell anymore when she is kidding. What is happening to my little girl? She’s only 13! I’ve prayed and prayed for guidance, and now I desperately need your help.
—Very Concerned

Dear Concerned:
Statistics have shown that children who threaten to kill their parents rarely, if ever, do. A small percentage –- perhaps ten percent in a double-blind study — will actually commit bodily harm. Just because your daughter makes jokes about killing you in your sleep doesn’t mean she will actually do it. Teenagers thrive on dramatic overstatements and pubescent hormone changes. Keep praying.

* * * *

Sometimes I look at my parents and imagine sinking an ax into their skulls. They are so irritating and demanding. I hate the way my mother sounds when she’s talking. Is there something wrong with me?
—Angeline, Age 13

Dear Angeline:

* * * *

I am 16, and I have a broken heart. I caught my boyfriend cheating with another girl, and when I demanded that he choose between us — he chose her! I cried for three straight days and still can’t keep down any food. My mother says I need to just move on with my life, and I would — if I could. It has been ten days, and I am still feeling awful. Every time I hear a certain song or see a red Mustang, I think of all I have lost and start sobbing again. Will this pain ever stop hurting?
—Jossalin Berkinmeyer

Dear Jossalin:
That pain will never go away. It will, however, be replaced by a newer and more acute agony with each relationship. You have many years of misery ahead of you. Try to look forward to that. Good luck, dear.

* * * *

Trixie Kitsch is the nom de plume for Lisa Agnes Hammer. She was born in 1961 in Dubuque, Iowa, and studied fiction writing and fine art at The University of Iowa. Her writings have been published in The L. A. Weekly, The ICON and Julien’s Journal. Her first book, Dear Trixie: Bad Advice for the Stupid, was published in May of 2011 by Gasogene Press.

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