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Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar


Past Anger Is Hard to Overcome Dear Annie: Twenty five years ago, my youngest son, then 18, quit the job he had had for four years. They had promised him an assistant manager job and when he turned 18, but did not follow through. After that, he would not look for a job or even …Read more. Waiting for the Sun to Shine Dear Annie: All of my life, I've heard about the "golden years." Why are mine only black and gray? I have been married to my husband for 40 years. He has not been sexually capable for half that time. I understand that, but he also does not want to …Read more. Dreaded Decor Dear Annie: My mother-in-law has a decor that was personalized for her by my husband's long-term ex-girlfriend. Every time I go to her house, it's the first thing I see and it really bothers me. The problem is, I don't feel I can say anything to her …Read more. Sick of Being the Third Wheel Dear Annie: I live in the same town as two friends from high school. One of these friends married right out of high school and starting having children. My other friend and I both went to college together, and then she also married and started her …Read more.
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The Last Monday in May


Dear Readers: Many of you will be enjoying your Memorial Day weekend with barbecues and picnics, but we hope you will also remember the purpose behind the observance. Please consider taking the time to visit a veterans hospital or military cemetery and pay your respects. And if you have a flag, it is appropriate to display it at half-staff until noon.

"Last Monday in May"

by John T. Bird of Birmingham, Ala.

We pause to remember those who died

with so much courage

so much pride.

They'll never come back

but memories endure

to remind us of freedom: fragile, pure.

We're worthy of their sacrifice

if we pause each day

not just on the last Monday in May.

Dear Annie: My youth sometimes rises but is mostly used up. On my last flight (several years ago), the pilot announced that we might hit some rough weather and that he would leave the "fasten seatbelts" sign on. Eventually, I had an urgent need to use the bathroom. I buzzed the flight attendant, explained my predicament and asked for permission to make the needed trip. She authoritatively announced that I would have to wait. I winced and said that really wasn't an option, and she became hostile that I questioned her authority.

I haven't tracked how many thousands of miles I've flown, and I know there's been a crackdown on people wandering around when the seatbelt sign is on. But it seems to me that having the seatbelt sign on at that time was optional, while having an urgency issue was not.

I have not subsequently boarded another airplane. I would not feel comfortable urinating on the floor, nor would I appreciate being arrested. The flight attendant probably was only following instructions.

Not traveling by plane has saved me a lot of money, to say nothing of countless hours waiting in airports. But how would you have handled that situation? Would you wear diapers? Do the airlines expect flight attendants to collect urine bags left on the planes? — Grounded

Dear Grounded: We think you were the victim of an overzealous flight attendant. Even with the seatbelt sign on, passengers are allowed to use the bathroom when necessary (although not to stand in line in the aisle). Also, certain inconveniences regarding travelers who are already on board have been somewhat relaxed since you last flew. You are unlikely to have this particular problem again.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "N.N." about her verbally abusive husband. I, too, am the spouse of a constantly critical, controlling and emotionally abusive man who thinks all of our relationship's problems rest solely on my shoulders. Your response was spot-on.

Two days ago, after my husband again called me names in a heated rant in front of our children, I decided I'd had enough and told him I wanted a divorce. I finally recognized that suffering through it for our children's sake wasn't right for any of us. An unstable and tense home environment can be more detrimental than a broken but happy one. Deciding to leave the relationship was difficult, but I look forward to a future not spent walking on eggshells, not feeling ashamed in front of my children, living comfortably in my home and giving my kids a calm, stable place to grow up. "N.N." deserves respect and someone who truly loves her. — Better Now

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



27 Comments | Post Comment
LW2 -
Why didn't you complain to the airline instead of writing to the Annies? The airline can do something. The Annies cannot. What is this, the 300th letter at least from someone complaining about something that could be fixed addressing the proper person? At least. Sheesh...

Comment: #1
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Sun May 26, 2013 9:22 PM

LW3 refers to the first letter on 25 February 2013.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Miss Pasko
Sun May 26, 2013 10:27 PM
LW2- I have never heard of anyone being arrested for answering nature's call on a plane, seat belt sign or no. If you have to go, go.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Lucy
Sun May 26, 2013 10:58 PM
Re: Lise Brouillette

Instead of complaining about why LW1 wrote to the Annies about a problem better directed to the airline, a better question would be why the Annies would publish a letter so lame. Seriously, Lise, don't you think they get tons of ridiculous letters? They and/or their editors, if they have any, make the choice of which letters they publish.

It appears that this whole column is getting pretty lame, but don't blame it on the sad sacks who write in for ridiculous advice that they could just as easily google results for. In this case, shoot the messenger, if kind of letter is the best they can do.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Carly O
Mon May 27, 2013 12:37 AM
LW2 - Why complain (to the Annies, no less) about something that happened several years ago? And why even bother to put such a ridiculous letter in the column? The Annies definitely wanted a day off. Ho hum - off to more important things. Have a wonderful Memorial Day everyone, and please remember our troops who died to keep us safe.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Kitty
Mon May 27, 2013 3:16 AM
Am I the only one who squirms at those LAME poems that advice columnists publish on holidays? Overwrought, sentimental doggerel. It's not like there aren't GOOD poems on such subjects -- but the ones sent in by readers seem to be uniformly awful.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Sheila
Mon May 27, 2013 4:57 AM
Re: Sheila
Oh no, you're not the only one. Bleah.

@Carly O
Perhaps they chose the letter to match it with the poem. ;-D

Comment: #7
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Mon May 27, 2013 5:58 AM
LW2--I agree with the Annies that the flight attendant you encountered was one of these automatons who blindly follow orders and don't possess an ounce of common sense. Unless the plane was being buffeted around by turbulence making walking a danger to yourself or others; or there was an emergency situation involving a mechanical problem with the plane, then I would have immediately asked to speak to the flight attendant's superior officer. Most airlines adhere to a command structure among the flight crew with the Chief Purser and Purser outranking other flight attendants in the cabin. All that being said, I have to agree that flying is a pain in the ass these days with airlines treating passengers like inmates or herds of cattle. I avoid traveling where my driving time is less than nine hours.

LW2--Good for you and good riddance to your (ex)husband! Nobody should take that kind of crap from anyone.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Chris
Mon May 27, 2013 6:06 AM
Regarding LW3:

Verbal abuse is certainly a terrible thing and should be unacceptable in any relationship, but why such a double standard from the man-hating Annies and their minions?

When the Annies ran a letter last year about a woman's friend constantly putting down/insulting her husband publically, the bigots and their followers automatically dismissed the behavior as “one of those things” and “something the husband probably likes.”

But when the abuser is a man and the victim is a woman, it's suddenly a whole different story. Why is that? Why the double standard, Annies?

(Now I'll sit back and watch as people insult or ignore me rather than address the gender hypocrisy.)
Comment: #9
Posted by: Large Marge
Mon May 27, 2013 6:13 AM
Large Marge, a pointer to the specific column would be helpful.
Comment: #10
Posted by: hedgehog
Mon May 27, 2013 6:42 AM
This column is a waste of the electrons used to publish it. I read it because the comments are funny. People always interpret others' situations through their own dirty lenses (myself included, of course). @Marge--I think the difference is that if the spouse themself is writing in then they clearly do not enjoy being abused; if it's a busybody third party then yes, it is possible there is abuse, but it's also possible that the third person is completely misinterpreting the relationship between the couple. My husband and I tease each other in public all the time and someone sensitive might think we are being mean when really we are just kidding around.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Andaia
Mon May 27, 2013 6:48 AM
I am absolutely with you, Sheila! This piece of tripe trying to pass itself off as poetry is an insult. The Annie's taste in poetry is clearly no better than their advice - worse, actually. Unfortunately, Memorial Day tends to bring out the lamest attempts, and for some bizarre reason, they print them.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Mon May 27, 2013 6:53 AM
Re: Large Marge

Source plz.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Zoe
Mon May 27, 2013 7:16 AM
Lise, while I agree with you there are far too many letters written to the annies that would be more effectively sent to the proper source, I think in this case we should cut the LW some slack. Writing to the airline would mean having to disclose your name and talk about the problem to receive a reply, and it sounds like this person was already humiliated and embarrassed enough at having had an "accident" in public, in front of their fellow passengers. Plus there is no way the airline, due to the threat of lawsuits, would ever admit or suggest their employee was in the wrong or that people can walk around when the seatbelt sign in on. In this case, the Annies gave an honest answer that the airline never would have dared to give. Now that the passenger knows the employee was perhaps overzealous and the rules have relaxed, he can feel free to fly again.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Jane
Mon May 27, 2013 7:54 AM
Large Marge-------- sounds like Princess Bride to me. Why the name change? Everything else is the same.
Comment: #15
Posted by: locake
Mon May 27, 2013 8:29 AM

Or say to the FA
Please ma'am I don't mean to question your authority but if I'm not allowed to go to the head, I'm gonna need a blanket and a cup, not one of those little ones, a big one. I really don't want to leave a surprise for the next passenger in this seat and I'm really physically unable to avoid it.
Comment: #16
Posted by: nonegiven
Mon May 27, 2013 8:30 AM
Re: Jane

I don't think LW2 peed his pants, but was afraid of it happening again and being put in a situation that he might have to.

At any rate, I don't find the letter that bad. I think he was just looking for reassurance. I DO think he should also direct his concerns to the airline (or should have at the time). He might have received a refund or credit for a future flight. That happened to me a few years ago - well not the peeing thing, but I was early at the airport and checking my bags but because of the huge line at security, I missed my flight by about 30 seconds. I complained because, although I was late, my bags had been checked in a couple hours prior and my boss was on the flight, and they were one of the farthest gates on a day where security was backed up. It didn't take a genius to figure out that maybe I was delayed! I had to take a later flight which cost $150 to change (and then a cab to my original destination which was an hour away from my new destination) and they credited me $150.

If the LW chooses to fly again, I agree with the Annies that he is unlikely to encounter the same issue. Most flight attendants will (and are mandated to) allow you to use the washroom during "seatbelts on" turbulence. I hate peeing on a plane because I feel like a tool standing in line, but I have done do before when the light was on. If they told me I couldn't, I don't know what I'd do, probably ask "okay, but I can't hold it any longer, so what's your suggestion?"

Re: Large Marge

I love our gender equality police! I really do! The other day I saw an awful commercial for razors. They were interviewing women (actors, of course, not candid interviews) and they were all saying they like a man with x amount of body hair (a little on the chest, and none of the back). So use this razor to appeal to the opposite sex or whatever. My first thought was "ugh, just stop with this, stop giving people body imagine issues" and my second thought was "haha, take that, BOYS. payback for everything women do keep hair off themselves."
Comment: #17
Posted by: Zoe
Mon May 27, 2013 8:56 AM
I have a friend who had a similar incident on a cross country flight a few months ago. She's a very assertive woman, so she got into a knock down drag out verbal altercation with the flight attendant and finally just got up and went to the restroom anyway. I don't know if they would try to physically block you in a case like this, but she is 6'2 and built like a linebacker so they didn't even try to stop her. They did threaten to detain her entire family (husband and three kids, also on the flight) when they landed but wimped out and never followed through. We had a pretty good laugh about the whole thing. Wish I had been a fly on the wall during that in-flight argument!
Comment: #18
Posted by: EstherGreenwood
Mon May 27, 2013 9:50 AM
@Jane #14
I don't see anything in the LW's letter that indicates he actually "had an accident" on the plane, but that he was afraid he would and was worried the same situation would happen if he flew again.
BTW - was anyone else confused by the first sentence in that letter. Maybe I'm just not up on the latest expressions, but that made no sense to me.
Comment: #19
Posted by: Kitty
Mon May 27, 2013 11:36 AM
Re: Large Marge

AMEN! And thank you on behalf of all men :)
Comment: #20
Posted by: John P. Wilson
Mon May 27, 2013 11:46 AM
Re: Kitty

It confused me, too, and I read it a couple times before I gave up and moved along to the rest of the letter.
Comment: #21
Posted by: Zoe
Mon May 27, 2013 1:14 PM
Re: Zoe
Thanks Zoe -- glad to know it's not just me :)
Comment: #22
Posted by: Kitty
Mon May 27, 2013 1:16 PM
LW1: You should have pretended to be an adult and gone to the bathroom without asking for permission. Act like a child and you'll get treated like one.

LW2: Broken homes are unhealthy homes which most are so basically everyone is living in the same crap pile but calling it roses. Ah, the sweet smell of delusion.
Comment: #23
Posted by: Diana
Mon May 27, 2013 5:56 PM
Re: Diana (#23)

Except, Eunice -- and keep in mind I don't fly -- there may be strong legal consequences if she were to get up to use the restroom. The airline probably has their reasons ... none of them very smart, IMO ... but they whine that normal Joe Blo is some terrorist or something.

Talk about being paranoid.

Anyway, while I think it's good that the LW brought this situation attention, I agree that the best place to voice the concerns is the airline.
Comment: #24
Posted by: Bobaloo
Mon May 27, 2013 6:10 PM
Once upon a time I was flying and the fasten seatbelt sign was on. A little girl about near by had to go to the bathroom and was getting fussy about it. The flight attendant asked her "on a scale of one to ten, how bad do you need to go?" The little girl very loudly told her "12!!!" causing people around her to laugh. The flight attendant offered to help the girl to the bathroom and her Mom called out across the plane "be safe dear, and don't forget to wash your hands and flush the toilet."
a while later I had to utilize the facility very desperately so I got up to go to the bathroom. The same flight attendant asked me if there was anything she could help me with and I told her "Nope, just reaching about a level 15 over here." She responded with a very cheery "Ok, be safe, wash your hands and don't forget to flush."
Do you know how hard it is to walk down an airplane isle, trying not to pee your pants while laughing your butt off!

It was a 14 hour flight and that became a running joke in the area of the plane where I was sitting. Weird, but it made the rest of the flight more fun.
Comment: #25
Posted by: Michelle Keane
Mon May 27, 2013 8:46 PM
Re: Jane #14
While there is no evidence that he did have an accident, if there was, then it was entirely due to a flight attendant behaving like a power-tripping jail guard with sadistic tendencies. Humiliated, schmuliated, if that had been me, I would have been so hopping mad I would have threatened to SUE them over the bloody humiliation.

@Zoe #17
They also make the women look like shallow little bitches in heat whose only interest is sex and sole criterion of selection physical. HATE that ad.

Comment: #26
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Fri May 31, 2013 1:00 PM
The flight attendant was rude I would've complained to the pilot after I got my relief to the airlines
Complain as well
Comment: #27
Posted by: Connie mora
Fri May 31, 2013 3:05 PM
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