Find­ing no hu­mor in pranks

Albany Times Union - Sunday - - ADVICE - Abi­gail VAN BUREN Dear abby

DEAR ABBY: Itend­tore­act poorly when some­one pulls a prank on me. My re­ac­tion is usu­ally anger, hurt or em­bar­rass­ment, and I end up say­ing or do­ing things I later re­gret be­cause emo­tion took over.

My hus­band has al­ways liked play­ing pranks, and my chil­dren have started to fol­low his lead. The pranks tend to be things like ice down the back of my shirt, bop­ping the end of a glass or bot­tle while drink­ing so it splashes in my face, snap­ping wet tow­els, etc.

I don’t like it, and I never do it to them. If I re­act, I am made out to be the “bad guy” be­cause I “can’t take a joke.” I feel guilty about the lat­est in­ci­dent be­cause when my l0-year-old daugh­ter bopped a drink in my face, I slapped her across the face. When I apol­o­gized for re­spond­ing that way, she said, “Dad does it all the time.” I never get an apol­ogy from the pranksters. Is this nor­mal?

Are there oth­ers out there who don’t like be­ing the ob­ject of pranks?

How do I get my fam­ily to un­der­stand that be­ing sub­jected to these “jokes” isn’t funny to ME? — Unamused in In­di­ana

DEAR UNAMUSED: Jokes at the ex­pense of oth­ers can be funny, as long as EV­ERY­ONE AGREES that they’re funny. Be­cause you have told your hus­band you not only don’t find his pranks amus­ing but find them hurt­ful, I can only con­clude that his sense of hu­mor is sadis­tic. Fur­ther, it has set a poor ex­am­ple for the chil­dren.

I won­der how your hus­band would feel if you in­formed him af­ter a hard day that his ac­coun­tant had called say­ing he owes $25,000 in back taxes. (Ho, ho!) Or if you poured a pitcher of ice wa­ter on him at 2 a.m. Would that be equally “funny”? I doubt it. Nor­mally, I wouldn’t stoop to that level, but this may be an ex­cep­tion.

DEAR ABBY: I am writ­ing be­cause we are re­ceiv­ing some snide com­ments be­cause of our daugh­ter’s choice of col­lege ma­jor. She’s ma­jor­ing in dance. When peo­ple with col­lege-age kids or grand­kids find out, you can see it in their ex­pres­sion or hear it in their tone of voice. “Oh, re­ally? Ummm, how nice.” Or worse, the con­de­scend­ing, “How ‘SWEET.’ ” Our daugh­ter has al­ways been an honor stu­dent. Start­ing in high school she car­ried full loads of classes, ex­tracur­ric­u­lars, held jobs and was ac­tive in church. In col­lege she has added dance com­pany and soror­ity to her re­sume.

I want these peo­ple to re­al­ize it takes guts to pur­sue her dream of be­com­ing a dancer/ chore­og­ra­pher and not ma­jor in some­thing more con­ven­tional. We sup­port her de­ci­sion, and she al­ready has her as­so­ciate’s de­gree in a field that will be use­ful as a backup. Why can’t peo­ple un­der­stand that fine arts ma­jors are brave, bold and pas­sion­ate about their crafts?

— Dancer’s mom in Texas

DEAR DANCER’S MOM: If you re­act to the com­ments in a pos­i­tive way rather than be­come de­fen­sive, they would give you the open­ing to smile and tell these “con­ven­tional thinkers” how proud you are of your daugh­ter’s choice to pur­sue her dreams, that her courage in pur­su­ing a field as com­pet­i­tive as en­ter­tain­ment is more than “nice” and you ad­mire her for it.

Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at http://www.dearabby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

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