Thursday, June 17, 2004

Dear Abby, Paging Dr. Nick

As I have mentioned before, Abby's writers scare me. Add this one to the pile.

Dear Abby:

I am a 16-year-old girl and haven't had my period for almost five months. What does that mean?

Needs to Know in Miami


There could be several reasons for it. However, the person to determine the cause should be your doctor. Please do not wait to discuss the problem with him or her. Ask your mother to schedule an appointment and accompany you. It will put your concerns to rest.

There's plenty of good advice available for Needs to Know. But if she's not going to try, well then neither am I. Her letter- approximately as difficult to execute as a home pregnancy test- channels the spirit of Lionel Hutz and "Doctor" Nick Riviera. To wit:
With all due respect, Mrs. Simpson, you're not a doctor, the boy's not a doctor, the only person who even comes CLOSE is this man [Nick Riviera].
-- Lionel Hutz responding to Marge's skepticism, "Bart Gets Hit by a Car"

Abby is your version of a competent authority in this matter? At 16? And they'll let you vote- in Florida no less- in just a few years? Abby, never one to lay a solid foundation, neglects to prep Needs to Know with a few pointers- have you been sexually active in the past 6 months? have you had a high level of stress or any sudden life changes over the past half year?

On times sensitive questions like this, Abby is about the last person you should write. She publishes her 'how do I handle my family at Christmas' and 'how do I celebrate graduation' letters about three weeks after the event. Prompt and competent, that's Abby. Sigh.

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