I think my wife is losing her mind. She kept calling me by the wrong name all weekend, and when we were out yesterday, she dug through the garbage can near the bus stop and double-checked all the discarded lottery tickets. And she recently started doing other odd things (alphabetizing our books and DVDs, ordering take out from a Mexican restaurant when she hates Mexican food). What should I do?

– V.D.

I’m afraid I need a little more information here. If she’s at the target age for senility, then maybe this is something you should tell her doctor. If she’s middle-aged, she may be having a mild mid-life crisis. If she’s pregnant, pregnancy forgetfulness and the nesting instinct may be kicking in. But I have to say that these things seem pretty innocuous to me. I mean, my husband keeps an eye out for discarded lottery tickets, too. I… More…

I make a New Year’s resolution each year, even though it’s an arbitrary thing to do and I never succeed at making the change anyway. This year, I’m turning 30 and I really do want to make a change in my life (to quit my job). So if I say that’s my New Year’s resolution, am I setting myself up for failure since I have never been able to stick to a resolution before? Are New Year’s resolutions even worth it? I’m afraid screwing this up will make turning 30 traumatic and I’ll get depressed and my girlfriend won’t want to marry me.

— Mark Alexander

Please see my last take on New Year’s resolutions. If you fear that you’ll somehow do something to make turning 30 traumatic (and this is a recent experience for me), turning 30 will assuredly be traumatic (you’ll make up something if you have to)…. More…

I ought to be past the stage of being a SINK.

 

Instead, in part thanks to the economy, in part due to changing mores, I’m still stuck as a SINK (Single Income No Kids). I just wish that the word didn’t strike me as being so forlorn, evoking someone having a sardine sandwich for supper.

By chance or choice some couples are Double-Income-No-Kids — DINKs — and, as such, are said to have lots of discretionary income. Oodles of it. The acronym frames parenthood in terms of finances.

The terms “DINK” and “SINK” are related to age and place in the life cycle as it was traditionally constructed. Contemporary usage applies “DINK” to a couple only during the decades when they might be financially responsible for children. Referring to both gay and straight couples, “DINK” isn’t commonly used… More…

I’ve smoked a lot of weed in my day. Blunts with boys on stoops in bad neighborhoods, metal pipes with middle-aged Buddhists, roaches with an old man hooked up to an oxygen tank at a Dead concert, and gravity bongs made out of POM bottles. I would never classify my avocation as an addiction. But perhaps an appetite? Something old Aristotle might say is “the cause of all actions that appear pleasant”? I’d say so.

One would assume that a philosopher would approve of such appetites. Weed does, after all, inspire thinking, pondering, concluding — all that good stuff. But reading a line from his Rhetoric gave me a twinge of uneasiness, as though an assumed supporter no longer stood by me. He writes, “A ‘criminal act’ … is due to moral badness, for that is the source of all actions inspired by our appetite.”

 

I woke up angry on the day before my 21st birthday. I lay in the bed of a Copacabana hostel in Rio de Janeiro, shivering next to Ayal — my Israeli travel-friend-with-benefits — as he slept soundly. After the initial 20 minutes of our reconvening in Rio, nothing had been remotely ideal. We argued. I was jealous and paranoid. I wanted all of his attention. I wanted to know his feelings, but I also didn’t want to have to ask. I was afraid of him, and afraid of myself, too, because I was in unfamiliar territory. I had no control. I hated this but also knew that if I had control, things wouldn’t be nearly as intriguing.

And so I was simply angry. Angry I had barely slept, angry my eyes were stinging from tears. I thought about heading… More…

 

Do you think it’s therapeutic to have arguments with your loved ones in verse? I read it in another advice column. It said that if you write your arguments in song or poetry, eventually you’ll realize how ridiculously silly they are. But I think that if I recite a limerick about how much I hate my girlfriend’s habits, she’ll get pissed. — Kyle, Needham, Massachusetts

It might be therapeutic for you, Kyle, but I don’t think it would be therapeutic for you and your girlfriend as a couple, especially if you have an argument in limerick form. You will probably rhyme an unflattering term with your girlfriend’s name, as she will rhyme an unflattering term with yours: “There once was a jerk named Kyle/ Who smelled like a garbage pile/ grotesque bile/ a dead fish from the Nile.”… More…

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At breakfast, Claire conveyed the message that she had had enough. She did so very gently, very softly, playing with the gold chain around her wrist, tugging a little at the sleeve of an olive-green cardigan, scratching her cheek briefly, the execution of the lover carried out in such a delicate manner that it was perilously easy to think, if only for a moment, that nothing whatsoever had happened. The tap continued to drip, the fridge to let off its intermittent shiver, the newspaper to advertise a weekend in Paris for lovers for £109 (return). Had a West London equivalent of Mount Vesuvius erupted at this moment, and miraculously preserved the physical evidence of the scene in lava, there would have been nothing to suggest that this had been anything other than a cozy breakfast between two people (surely close friends, even a couple, the museum caption would… More…