Writers Amy Dickinson and Ian Frazier make it fun to be a reader — Dickinson, for her personal advice column, Ask Amy, that, without hectoring, sets the self-deluded straight; Frazier, for his painfully funny alter-ego, The Cursing Mommy.
Last year, the two found themselves in an accidental tag-team match that still has tongues wagging.
Planning a last-minute vacation, Dickinson came up with the idea of having a former advice-seeker guest-write the column. She had in mind a woman who had been breast-feeding her child for ten years (she read that it boosted children’s language ability) but had quit, following Amy’s advice — Pull the plug now! You’re creating a linguistic genius with nothing to talk about but lactose. Dickinson called her The Nursing Mommy.
Unfortunately, Dickinson’s hasty memo to her new admin assistant contained a crucial typo and the assistant sent the proposal, not to the woman, but to Ian Frazier, who thought it odd, but, eager to give The Cursing Mommy broader exposure, said yes.
And so, in August 2012, Ask Amy addicts were electro-shocked for the three days it took befuddled editors to realize something was seriously amiss.
Those three days, however, produced some of America’s most startling journalism. In case you missed it, here are a few examples:
Dear Amy: I am a 23-year-old man. My girlfriend and I have two kids, with a third on the way. However, the joy we should be sharing is threatened by her discovery that, for four years, I have been in an intimate relationship with her now-18-year-old half-sister. What to do? Confused.
Dear Confused: If I understand you correctly, you will shortly be the father of three little bastards. Not only that, but you are apparently a philanderer and a home-wrecker. And, if my arithmetic serves me, you started dicking her little sister when she was 14. Do you know how to spell Age of Consent? Where I come from, Mr. Testicle Head, you are a sexual predator. Fortunately for humanity, your letter had a return address. Expect a knock on the door and a long spell in the slammer. If I were the judge, I’d also order an operation that, if it had been done when it should have, would have qualified you for lifetime membership in the Vienna Boys Choir. For Amy, I’m The Cursing Mommy.
Dear Amy: My brother mistreats my sister and I. When her and me are playing quiet, he just barges in and brakes our dolls. What can we do? Scared.
Dear Scared: What your brother is doing is very wrong. But it isn’t half as wrong as your goddam grammar. No advice for you until you learn the difference between the nominative I/she and the objective me/her, between the adjectival and adverbial forms of quiet, and between break and brake. What the fuck are they teaching these days? For Amy, I’m The Cursing Mommy.
Dear Amy: I am a graffiti artist, based in New York City. I specialize in tagging subway cars. On my lunch hour, I was spraying my logo (Taco 181, because I love tacos and live on 181st St.) The train started moving and I lost the middle finger of my right hand. Since I was still technically at work, can I file for workmen’s comp? Taco 181.
Dear Shit-for-Brains (I refuse to use your so-called street name): First of all, you’re not an artist; you’re a fucking vandal, wantonly emitting more ozone-depleting chemicals than an old man after a baked-bean dinner. The finger? Serves you right! Tell you what, though, I’ll give you MY middle finger (ha ha!). And by the way, dipshit, I’m not a labor lawyer, but rather (for Amy), The Cursing Mommy.
Dear Amy: We have read your recent replies to Confused, Scared, and Taco 181. We are appalled at your foul-mouthed insensitivity. We had been considering listing you as a candidate for our Commentary award, but hereby withdraw your name. The Pulitzer Prize Committee.
Dear Committee Members: If you would remove your heads from your rectums for one bleeding minute, you’d realize that I’m not Amy, but The Cursing Mommy, who is tempted to tell you to stick your prize where the sun don’t shine, except that you stupid dickwads would probably think that means the sub-basement of The Washington Fucking Post. However, I will pass your message on to Amy when she returns from vacation. She would probably have signed off with Have A Nice Day, or some such bullshit, but you won’t catch me kissing ass like that, so I’ll just make it, Up Yours. For Amy, I’m The Cursing Mommy.