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Advice & More October 2016

Ask Miss Nora

You Reap What You Sow

We all have grandchildren, comfortable homes and happy lives and we enjoy talking about them. We get together to share our crafts and have a little social outing, not to be an audience for this windbag. She is ruining it for everyone.

Dear Miss Nora: I belong to a circle of friends who knit and sew for charity. Typically, there’s about 14 of us and for the most part, we all get along. However, there is this one woman who I cannot stand. She boasts and brags the entire time we’re together. Even when no one else is engaging her in conversation. If one of us has been ill, she’s been sicker. If someone mentions a vacation or a purchase (like a new car), she’s been there, done that and bought the vehicle first! She even attempts to brag about having the worst relationships! And if she can’t brag about something, she belittles the person who dares to talk about their good luck or good fortunes.

We all have grandchildren, comfortable homes and happy lives and we enjoy talking about them. We get together to share our crafts and have a little social outing, not to be an audience for this windbag. She is ruining it for everyone. And I’m not alone with my opinion. One lady has stopped coming because of this. Can you offer advice as to how we get rid of her or at the very least shut her up before the group breaks up altogether? --Frantic in Virginia

Dear Frantic: Let me tell you a story … are you sitting comfortably?

Walt’s mother was exactly as you describe your unwelcome volunteer to be. She constantly one-upped everyone and if she didn’t have better than they, she also belittled their good news, purchases, good fortunes, etc., etc.

Of course, I came under fire on several occasions as I was what she considered to be in direct competition with her for Walt’s affections. Little did she know that I often “requested” that she take him back!

However, and this requires patience on your part, eventually with these boastful bullies “come a cropper!” One particularly favorite flaunt of dear old Cruella’s, was her garden. She would bore the ears off anyone who stood still long enough, describing in nauseating detail who she had hired to tend to it, how they took such good care of her, the compliments she always got from perfect strangers … blah blah blah.

Anyway, not long after her beloved gardens had been planted and preened over, and just before she was ready to allow her adoring public an envious glimpse, she got a knock on the door by the local police.

It seems that dear old mamma had been paying (quite handsomely, too) a gang of crooks who had been thieving the “too, too gorgeous trees and “quite the most astonishing flowers” and the “divine shrubs” from the nearby park. Everything from the treetops to the sod had been filched from elsewhere and expensively relocated to her back yard! The only thing missing was the swings!

Now, I’d like to say that I was the bigger person and respectfully allowed the mishap to go unmentioned. I’d like say that I dutifully turned a blind eye to the hilarity of such a fiasco and allowed her to face her shame in hiding. I’d like to but I can’t.

I watched with barely concealed glee as her oasis was slowly but surely returned to a barren pile of treeless, posy-less, shrub-less dirt. Not only did I get to witness the lawn, shrubbery, trees and flowers being flat-bedded back to its original habitat (due to the fact that we happen to be in attendance that fine Saturday afternoon), I also got to enjoy reading about it in the local newspaper the following week – with photos! I even cut out the clipping and kept it close, lest she started up again. But she never did. Such a public humiliation shut her up permanently.

So, my advice to you is to hold your tongue. Bide your time. Eventually these types trip over their own fantasies and delusions and unfortunately ensure that the trip up is public. Had we not been treated to a day-by-day and blow-by-blow commentary of how delightful her life was or how incredibly lucky she was to find such hard working young men who “practically doted on her,” we’d never have known that her entire plantation was courtesy of Cherry Hill Park.

 

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