Los Angeles Times

Karen doesn’t deserve this

- Email questions to Amy Dickinson at askamy@ amydickins­on.com.

Dear Amy: My sister was christened “Karen.” She works in a job that requires wearing a name tag.

Since the “Karen” meme became a thing, the abuse she has to take from customers about it is pretty bad, especially from teenagers, twentysome­things and men, who snicker at her name and joke about it — to her face.

It puzzles me how in this supposedly culturally enlightene­d age, a person’s name can be used to define a type of bad behavior, especially when using the term is essentiall­y name-calling.

Not every Karen is a “Karen,” and it’s become humiliatin­g for her to wear her badge or even introduce herself in social situations.

I’ve suggested she use her middle name or another form of Karen, but she is reluctant to change her name.

How would you recommend she respond?

Karen’s Sister

Dear Sister: Until this meme-scape passes, your sister might reconsider altering her nametag at work, either to her middle name or perhaps “K” or “Kay.” If her workplace approves and her badge has space, she could try “(Not THAT) Karen.”

The reason for any alteration is not to repudiate her beautiful and respectabl­e birth name but to waylay the hilarious “humor” of overgrown babies and jerks.

Your sister might be required to bear the burden of customer ridicule with grace. The way to do so is to maintain a neutral facial expression and quietly wait until a customer’s “comedy” has run out of steam.

Here’s my suggested fantasy comeback: “Careful, pal — I might demand to see the manager.” Fantasizin­g about — but not delivering — this line might help her to get through these moments.

Dear Amy: My brother died suddenly during a major COVID surge. We live on opposite coasts.

Some of his family are antivax and think COVID is “not that bad,” including his daughter, an ER nurse.

I worried that they would not follow COVID safety guidelines at the funeral, so I made the difficult decision to stay home. When I called my niece to extend my condolence­s and tell her I would not attend, she flipped out.

She said I’m pathetic and that if my parents were alive they would be ashamed of me. She hung up.

I assumed this was grief talking and that she would eventually come around and apologize. She hasn’t.

She is engaged. My entire family, including my grown daughters, are invited to the wedding; I’m not. My daughters decided on their own to decline the invitation.

My sister told me none of this would have happened if I’d gone to the funeral. She wants me to explain my reasoning to our niece.

I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for prioritizi­ng my health. I already explained my reasons and my niece didn’t accept them.

The only way she’ll come around is if she sees how her actions will affect her. There will be family events, like my daughters’ weddings, that she’ll be invited to. What is she going to do? Not come? Any suggestion­s?

Excluded Aunt

Dear Excluded: I notice that you don’t report ever actually asking if the funeral would be conducted under COVID-safe guidelines. You made assumption­s and made your decision based on these assumption­s.

Aside from that, I don’t see any justificat­ion for apologizin­g to someone who has behaved as your niece has.

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