Dear Nathan

I’m such an incredibly selfless person. It’s one of my best attributes, falling just behind my extreme modesty and rugged good looks.

Since I am so selfless, I like to take a second every now and again to help out those who can’t help themselves. There are literally dozens of people every year who have personal issues. If I can help just one, I’ve done my job.


Dear Nathan

I have been accepted to a school that’s the alma mater of several of my relatives. My mother, several aunts and other family members all belonged to one sorority at this college. They are urging me to pledge there and uphold the family tradition.

Although this chapter is very exclusive and accepts only the best-of-the-best, I will have no problems getting in, not only because of my academic record but also because I’m a “legacy.”

So what’s the problem? This sorority chapter still uses the paddle. Technically they don’t haze — that is, have any initiation stunts — but they do use the paddle for disciplinary purposes. When I mention my concerns about the paddling to my mother and aunts, they say I should suck it up, as the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. One of my aunts said she thinks the rules and discipline would be beneficial for me because she considers me kind of a “wild child.”

Nathan, I don’t know if you know anything about sororities, but I’m asking for an objective opinion from someone not directly involved. – Possibly Paddled Pledge

Dear Possibly Paddled Pledge:

Wait, so you have a bunch of relatives that want a large group of strangers to beat you? And you’re taking their opinion on whether you should be beaten or not? They sound insane.

I’m can understand how this is a hard decision. On the one hand, being paddled does not sound pleasant. It sounds very painful. Being beaten is usually a thing people try to avoid. On the other hand, if you were going to be beaten by an entire institution of people, why not get an exclusive sorority membership out of it?

Since this is such a tough decision, I would recommend trying it out first. Have a friend grab a wooden flat object and beat you without mercy. If this doesn’t help you decide, repeat this activity until you have figured it out or find yourself in the hospital.

Happy beating!


Dear Nathan: Please tell me the proper etiquette for gift-giving. My in-laws often leave the price tags on gifts, especially if the gift was expensive. I believe price tags should be removed. Shouldn’t a gift come from the heart and not be a monetary statement? – Offended in Wisconsin

Dear Offended in Wisconsin,

No. A Gift should always be a monetary statement. How else do you prove it came from the heart?

If this act still offends you, next time this happens, look at the tag and say, “Wow! You paid THIS much for THAT?! I figured you shopped at the dollar store. Clearly, though, you prefer to do your shopping at another establishment. I didn’t know they let freaks like you shop other places…” You will never again have to worry about price tags on your presents since you won’t be receiving anymore.

Happy no-presents,


Dear Nathan: My fiancé, “Kip,” and I are being married next year and we have only one disappointment. It’s about my keeping my last name. I don’t want to take Kip’s last name.

I have had the same name for 33 years and I do not believe a woman “has” to take her husband’s name when they marry. I’m part of a close-knit family, and I am proud to bear the name of my father — a hardworking, dedicated Vietnam veteran.

Am I out of line? We will accept your answer because we are unable to resolve this ourselves. – Standing My Ground in New Jersey

Dear Standing My Ground in New Jersey,

Why don’t you want to take Kip’s last name? Do you not love him? Is Kip an abusive man? Do you need help? If so, you should probably head to the Greyhound station and take a bus as far away from New Jersey as you can.

If that is not the case, then there is a great deal more thinking that should be done on the subject.

One thing that should be considered is the last names themselves. For instance, if his last name was Johnson and yours was Poopenheimerdoody, you should absolutely take his. Whichever last name is the least embarrassing seems to be the best option.

If, however, both names are equal in the embarrassment category, you must find some other way to decide. A coin flip is always a good way to decide things. Maybe you play Eeni-Meenie-Miney-Mo.

If this still doesn’t sound ideal, the best option would be combining your names. For instance, Johnson and Poopenheimerdoody would become Johnpenheimerdoodson. It’s a great way to pick a new name and a fun word game.

Happy Name Alteration,



17 thoughts on “Dear Nathan

  1. Pingback: Dear Nathan « The Life and Times of Nathan Badley…

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