Several years ago, I wrote a column for Submerge asking readers to email me if they needed any advice on life, love, work, education, politics, religion, sex, music, art, food or whatever. I promptly lost my password to that email account; so, if you sent questions, I never got them and probably never will.

Maybe you could send them to Carolyn Hax instead. Carolyn is a real advice columnist for the Washington Post. According to her bio, people have been sending questions to Carolyn for almost 20 years, so she must give good advice, at least some of the time. That doesn’t mean that my advice wouldn’t have been as good as or possibly better than Carolyn’s if given the chance. In fact, I think I’ll answer some of the questions sent to Carolyn and let you be the judge.

Dear Bocephus: 
We’re going to see my partner’s family, including her 25-year-old child, who has acted like a sullen brat since we married 10 years ago. As in, has not spoken to me or acknowledged me in any way and treated my partner poorly as well.

Generally I let my partner go to family things without me, but this is a must-appear milestone event for the family matriarch. I am afraid I am going to lose it when I see them and tell them exactly what I think. Other than no alcohol and staying on the other side of the room, any suggestions?
– Seeing That Brat

Dear Brat:
My main advice is, don’t be a dick! Are you sure your step-child is even the one with the issue here? Perhaps the separation and divorce of this person’s parents had a serious impact on their behavior and personality. Did you ever do anything in an attempt to gain your stepchild’s acceptance or did you just avoid all of that like you do with your partner’s other “family things?” When you got married this family stuff was all part of the equation, and if you thought that didn’t apply to you, then let me just welcome you back to reality real quick. Next!

Dear Bocephus:
My husband enjoys playing music in our home. He recently installed speakers throughout the house and in our yard as well. Now we have music on ALL the time, at levels that prohibit conversation. I have moderate hearing loss in one ear as well, so the kids and I are constantly shouting at one another to be heard over the music. And in the yard, I just want to hear birds and breezes, not blaring music.

My husband gets annoyed when I ask him to turn it down/off and the music goes down momentarily and then right back up. Is there a way we can coexist peacefully? He tried wearing headphones but it felt like he was living apart from us.
– Not Music to My Ears

Dear Ears:
Your husband sounds like a real bad-ass. I can picture him out in the yard raking leaves, listening to Van Halen’s “Eruption” on a loop. He’s pulling off some amazing solos on his rake/air guitar. He’s jumping off the deck and landing on his knees in the grass. Oh shit! Now the rake is on fire and he looks like he is almost controlling the flame with his hands, as if it’s a hypnotized cobra in a basket. This motherfucker can shred! Sorry what was your question again? Oh yeah … he plays his music too loud.

I get that it’s hard to talk over loud music, but what else do you really need to say besides, “This song fuckin’ rawks!” or, “Turn that shit up and blow the roof of this bitch, dad!” Your children should be happy that they have a cool dad and not some square head. Lighten up, ya jerks! Next!

Dear Bocephus:
My mother-in-law told me she questions her son’s (my husband’s) paternity. She claims her ex, his father, doesn’t know. She said she wanted me to know in case something happens to her and there’s a medical reason to know such information.

She didn’t want to tell him because she fears how it might affect her relationship with him. I feel like I’m keeping a secret from my husband. I don’t think it’s my place to tell him though. Do I just carry the weight of this information and not say anything? Do I tell her she needs to disclose this to him or I will?

– Carrying the Weight

Dear Weight:
Damn … your mother-in-law likes to stir up some real shit, don’t she? I feel like I just read a transcript from a Maury Povich Show promo. Yikes! You might be able to avoid breaking the bad news to your husband by telling his “dad” instead. That dude needs to know that he’s been raising someone else’s baby for all these years. That’s some stone cold shit right there. If that’s too much, why not tell your husband during his next doctor’s appointment? That way, you can at least tell your mother-in-law that it was a medical reason. You simply had to tell him. Good luck!

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