October 2013

Headline

Negative Nellie is an advice column dealing with the daily minutiae of life, and is especially for those who are weary of serious discussions on meaningful topics, such as what to do about Syria, how to tackle unemployment and how to save Social Security. It is written by someone who occasionally dares to slaughter sacred cows and who this month finds herself too lazy to delve into serious topics.

Dear Negative Nellie:
We have a dog we dearly love. He goes everywhere with us. My husband and I recently took a trip to see family, and his sister got upset because we brought King with us without asking. She made him sleep in her yard! Then, when we went out to eat at a patio restaurant, the owner told us we couldn’t have King there because he’s not a service dog! What’s wrong with people, and how do we tell them that where we are welcome, our dog is welcome? — RoverLover

Dear RoverLover:
I feel your pain. I have a herd of Holsteins and 14 pigs. They are the center of my universe. Everywhere I go, they go, and I don’t care if other people like it. I hate self-centered, inconsiderate people who don’t feel obliged to accommodate my every expectation. Happy to meet you, kindred spirit!

Dear Negative Nellie:
I have the cutest poodle in the whole world! He has six outfits for every day of the week, and I change him every time we leave the house. He even has swimming trunks — so adorable! I recently had a friend roll her eyes when she found out, and tell me I needed to have a kid or a doll. Am I wrong to be offended? — DoggyDaddy

Dear DoggyDaddy:
Your friend has no business suggesting your reproductive destiny. You, on the other hand, have no business dressing a dog up as a person. I say this with love, but: Dogs. Are. Not. People. (Though they certainly are fabulous!) Neither are they toys or accessories. The reason actual people roll their eyes is because dressing a dog like a human — other than for practical considerations, such as a dog sweater during cold weather — is exactly like dressing a child as a dog every day of the year. It’s bizarre. If your dog could talk, he’d probably tell you that. Same reasoning applies to cats, except that if Felix could talk, he’d curse you out, too.

Dear Negative Nellie:
I have nine of the most wonderful, gorgeous kids you’ve ever seen. I am so proud of them, and I want the world to know it! I recently got an earful from my grandmother, though, because I posted several photos of my youngest son running naked in the yard. He’s only 3; what’s the big deal? — ProudPoppa

Dear ProudPoppa:
Since we’re talking about pictures, let me draw you one. Let’s say that you, like Grandma once did, live in a world where social media does not exist, but cameras do. You are, of course, still proud of your kids. So you take photos of their most intimate, private moments. Then you trot the photos all over your neighborhood, going door to door to show everyone, including that guy down the street whom you’ve never met. You tape up copies on every lamppost in town, and then you go to every place with a public bulletin board to tack up copies. Do you see the “big deal” now?

Dear Negative Nellie:
No. I don’t. My son is cute! And only my friends can see the photos. — ProudPoppa

Dear ProudPoppa:
Well, let me try again. First of all, “friends” on social media can include people whom you have never met, and who certainly know and are friends with people whom you have never met. (See above, about Cousin Bob.) Also, the Internet lulls people into a false sense of security. I have learned from lawenforcement experts how freakishly easy it is to hack a Facebook page. Never assume that “only” your friends can see the photos. And remember: one day, Junior will. How would you have felt if your prom date and all your pals on the football team were able to find, with just a few keystrokes, those pictures your mom took of you during potty training? P.S.: Posting nudies of your kids is creepy. There. I said it.

Dear Negative Nellie:
Thanks. What about photos of your kids in general? Is there such a thing as too much? I mean, who doesn’t want to see a smiling baby, or a little girl laughing while she plays in the mud? — ProudPoppa

Dear ProudPoppa:
In answer to your last question, nobody I’d like to know! Thank you for being “over-share” aware. I was beginning to have my doubts. Your basic question is a toughie. There’s nothing wrong with sharing a reasonable amount of photos of your clothed prides and joys (though you should bear in mind the risks I described above). I share your general pride in the future of our species. I enjoy seeing pictures of my young loved ones. However… if your latest installment of “Guess what Janey did?!” is 20-some photos of Janey blinking, it’s probably time to stop trying to capture her every moment on camera and, you know, start sharing some of her moments in real time. Kids should have a real-world identity before a digital identity, especially one that is created by other people before the kid can even have a say.

Dear Negative Nellie:
I own a pawnshop. The other day, my niece and nephew got hold of some nunchucks, a mace and a broadsword I had in the shop. My niece posed like a ninja, while my nephew pretended to be a knight. So cute, I had to take a picture and put it online. Next thing I know, my brother-in-law is calling me, screaming. Someone from my sister’s work reported the photo to Social Services and now there’s an investigation into both of our families! Can you warn people about Big Government prying into our lives? — Aunt in Agony

Dear Aunt:
I could, but in this case, “the guv’mint” isn’t the problem. You are. You allowed children access to weapons (even though you were no doubt being careful), documented your stupidity on film, shared it with the world and are now outraged because someone found out. Quit crying victim.

Dear Negative Nellie:
What do you know? You don’t have kids! — Angry Aunt in Agony

Dear Angry:
No, but I do have common sense.

Dear Negative Nellie:
I’m ProudPoppa’s wife, We are expecting our 10th child! What would you say to seeing pictures of my ultrasound? It’s miraculous! — ProudMomma

Dear ProudMomma:
What would you say to seeing pictures from my colonoscopy? I believe the colon is the unsung hero of the body. Without it, we would die awful deaths. Wanna behold the miracle?

Katharhynn Heidelberg writes from Montrose. Sometimes, she gets fed up with the TMI world, so she retaliates by posting multiple photos of her cat or by relaying her own tedious stories. But, she doesn’t actually hate dogs or children. Really!