Which Do You Prefer?

By Annie Lane

October 5, 2019 5 min read

Dear Annie: For a long time now, my wife has had a habit of making our server choose what side dishes she is going to have. If there is a choice of wedding soup or creamy chicken and potato or broccoli or peas, my wife will often say to the server, "Surprise me." I think this puts pressure on the server. What if my wife does not like the choice that someone else made for her? — Puzzled in PA

Dear Puzzled in PA: At upscale restaurants, it's not uncommon to let the chef select your meal. At chain restaurants and more casual places, I can see how this question might put unfair pressure on employees. However, I'd be curious to hear from servers on this topic.

Dear Annie: I'm raising my two grandchildren, ages 6 and 5. My wife and I have court-ordered custody of them. Our daughter, their mother, is a heroin addict and, like most heroin addicts, seems completely helpless to the drug's powerful hold. I wrote the following poem that appeared in my home paper, The Bartlett Express, a few years ago. It was shared online thousands of times. It would mean a great deal to me if you were to print it. Maybe, just maybe, it will prevent a teenager from trying the deadly drug that first time. — Tennessee Papa

Hello, young person.

My name is Heroin.

It is so good to meet you for the first time. And I just know we are going to be the best of friends.

Go ahead: Try me. Don't pay any attention to what your parents and society have been telling you your whole life about me.

I promise you will LOVE me!

I will take you by the hand and take you to places of warmth and happiness and joy the likes of which you've never dreamed.

I guarantee you, we will become inseparable!

Because while I have you by the hand, I will also take you by the throat in a vice-like grip that will make it hard for you to breathe. Everything in your life that used to be so important will pale in comparison to the relationship you and I will have.

I will own you.

You will do whatever it takes to keep me around.

You will lose job after job. But I'm expensive, so you will steal from your friends and family. You will find creative ways to pay for me because what used to be enough of me will soon not be nearly enough.

Unless you're incredibly lucky, you'll spend time in jail because of me. But I'm worth it. I must be because you'll return to me at the first possible moment you're able.

Because now you're weak, and I'm incredibly strong.

Don't have kids because you'll ignore them. And neglect them. And eventually lose them.

Because I'm more important than even them.

Rehab? Forget about it.

Oh, you'll try. Several times. But only a precious few are able to cut ties with me permanently.

You'll discover that you hate me.

There's really only one way that I'll release my hold on you.

When years of addiction finally take their toll. When life with me is no longer worth living. When either disease or desperation reach that final inevitable conclusion.

When my grip finally chokes the very life out of you.

When your heart stops, I'll stop.

And then you'll be gone.

But I'll still be around. Looking. Always looking.

For that next victim.

Ah, there's one.

Hello, young person.

My name is Heroin.

Dear Tennessee Papa: I am happy to print your poem, though sorry that this message needs to be shared. For anyone struggling with addiction, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's 24/7 national helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]

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