Jun. 24, 2002: Dear Jane: We All Make Mistakes

My sad duty today is to report that Esther “Eppie” Friedman Lederer has passed on. You may have known her better as Ann Landers, the nationally syndicated columnist who gave her loyal followers practical advice on issues ranging from birth control to gun control. She leaves a void that is near impossible to fill. How in the world can we function if we can’t bare our innermost secrets to a newspaper columnist in Chicago, who will then share them with 90 million readers?

Admittedly, I am not qualified to dispense wisdom like Ann Landers, but The Lady Who Shares My Name said it certainly wouldn’t hurt for me to give it a try. She says it would help me become more sympathetic to people and that I might even learn a little political correctness. Speaking of dispensing wisdom, never argue with a woman who will feed you broccoli at the slightest provocation. So without further ado, let’s go to the mailbox.

Dear Dick: I weigh 310 pounds and the airlines want me to buy two tickets before I plop my oversized derriere on their planes. What should I do? Blimpo in Blackshear

Dear Blimpo: Walk wherever you are going. You might lose some of the lard you have accumulated, and I won’t have to sit next to you on the plane and listen to you wheeze.

Dear Dick: My father was Henry Fonda. My brother is Peter Fonda. My niece is Bridget Fonda, but I prefer to remain anonymous because I am so ashamed of something that I did years ago and something I will always deeply regret. Is there any way that I can ever get this stain off my conscience? Hanoi Jane Doe

Dear Ms. Doe: Relax. You are forgiven. You couldn’t have known what a goober head Ted Turner was when you married him. If that is the worst thing you have ever done, you are OK in my book.

Dear Dick: I want to be the next governor. I ran a commercial referring to the incumbent as a big rat, and now everybody wants to talk about the commercial and not about the campaign. How can I get the citizens of Georgia to focus on the important issues that confront our state in these trying times? Sonny from the Senate

Dear Sonny: That’s easy. Remind everyone that you were the author of the much-beloved natural gas deregulation bill while you were in the Legislature. Then everybody will forget about the rat commercial. I guarantee it.

Dear Dick: It is obvious that you have a lot of exclusive information about the political scene in Georgia. Can you share with us where you get your information? Roy from Austell

Dear Roy: Please don’t tell anybody, but Tom Murphy and I are going steady.

Dear Dick: I recently bought an SUV that goes 150 miles per hour and gets eight miles to the gallon. Recently while gabbing on my cell phone and tailgating some poor slob on the interstate, I noticed a little stick on the steering column. When I touched it, a light blinked. Is there something wrong with my status symbol? A Self-Important Yuppie Boomer

Dear Self-Important: It’s called a turn signal, but don’t worry about learning how to use it. It is very complicated.

Dear Dick: You are a right-wing, homophobic, racist, beer-drinking bigot. I am sick and tired of you criticizing outstanding Democrats like Tom Daschle’s lap dog, Max Cleland, and Cynthia (Flap Jaw) McKinney. Bruce

Dear Bruce: Can’t you tell when I’m teasing? I just say stuff like that to stir people up. I’m really on your side.

Dear Dick: You are a left-wing, communist-sympathizing, Baptist-bashing, martini-sipping sissy. I am sick and tired of you criticizing outstanding Republicans like Linda “Frick” Schrenko and Bill “Frack” Byrne. Big Al

Dear Big Al: Can’t you tell when I’m teasing? I just say stuff like that to stir people up. I’m really on your side.

Dear Dick: I am so frustrated. The Zionist-controlled press in America criticizes my friends and me constantly and for no good reason. Just because we blow ourselves up — along with buildings, airplanes, ships, buses, vacuum cleaners and a few innocent people — doesn’t mean we are naughty people. Any advice on how we can improve our image? Osama Bin Badd (not my real name)

Dear Mr. Badd: I have some advice, but I don’t think it can be printed here. Why don’t you swallow a couple of sticks of dynamite and call me in the morning?

Finally this. Dear Dick: My twin sister and I used to write advice columns and now it is just me. Any chance I can interest you in a job? Abigail Whatshername

Dear Abby: I thought you would never ask.