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03172014

Headless Frank...

advisor to the lovelorn, weary, confused, and the overly self-involved

headless frank

Dear Headless Frank:

Last week I made a mistake and went to my father’s house and looked at his emails and noticed several to a stockbroker. I mistakenly opened one of them and before I could close it I saw that Dad has a portfolio valued beyond my wildest imagination. Then I made another mistake and told my sister about it.

The next day, she was downtown and made a mistake and went into the bank and by mistake wheedled the teller into letting her go into Dad’s lockbox. Somehow—it must have been a mistake—a whole bunch of stock certificates fell into my sister’s handbag. She has one of those giant ones in which she happened to be carrying her dog.

Next thing she knew, the dog made a mistake in her handbag and the stock certificates got wet.

We decided to write to you for advice before we make another mistake. We disagree on whether or not we should tell our father what happened. My sister thinks he’ll get mad. I say Dad was the one who told us it’s okay to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. And we learned a lot.

Should we tell Dad?
—Diligent Daughter

Dear DD—
You don’t need to tell your father anything. But please return the stock certificates to his lockbox. I feel compelled to remind you to dry them out first (NOT in the oven!). If you’re lucky, your dad won’t go looking for them for a while, and by the time he does maybe he’ll assume they’ve yellowed with age.

But you and your sister have some serious problems to address.

Mainly, you expect way too much of her dog. No matter what you may have heard to the contrary from pet psychologists, a dog can’t tell a stack of stock certificates from a stack of gardening brochures—especially in the dark enclosure of a handbag. (By the way, there’s a whole set of neuroses associated with living in a handbag.)

I highly recommend counseling, and you and your sister should get some, too.

Signing off: Medulla oblongata.

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