Thursday, October 06, 2005

Dear, Dear Prudence

I love Prudence, both for her common-sense guidance and magnetic style. I have her column emailed to me every Thursday. I don't think I've ever disagreed with a single response to the unfortunates she counsels. She’s a damned logical woman and a great writer, consistently succinct and refreshingly tongue-in-cheek. For example, this charming bit of education:

Dear Prudence,
The other night I heard a musician introduce a song, "The City of New Orleans," as written by the "late Steve Goodman." Steve's been dead more than 20 years now. I had always thought that "late" referred to the recently dead, but his introduction made me wonder. Is there a generally accepted period of time after which describing the departed as "late" is no longer appropriate?

—Curious John

Dear Cure,
There is no early dead or late dead distinction, honey. Dead is dead, and dead is "late." Happy to help.

—Prudie, linguistically

In this week’s installment she also quoted Shakespeare (“Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”), and called an evil sister-in-law (who was betting on the quick demise of the marriage of the solicitor of advice) a “four-door bitch,” which made me laugh out loud. Oh, to be so certain and witty and unapologetic.

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