In the age where print is dying and newspapers are late the second they’re printed, one newspaper tradition lives on – reader-submitted questions to editors and advice columnists. While they normally exist as “mailbags” on today’s internet, the art form of asking anonymous questions for the entertainment of others lives on in its truest form.
Internet commenters, traditionally, aren’t the most well-received group of people because they have the reputation of using their anonymity as a weapon to tear people down. If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, it’s because you’re reading Post Grad Problems where the comment section is robust and complimentary of the writing. If you need an example of the practice of brutal internet commenters, go to Dan Regester’s author page where people accuse him of “skipping face day” and call him fat despite the fact that he spends 90 percent of his free time in the gym.
After combing through those comments, you’ll realize that anonymously submitting to a website can be a heartless act. This is also exemplified by a recent submission to Slate’s “Dear Prudence” column. Before we get into the completely ruthless question that was asked, let’s read it in full and re-group after. Okay? Okay.
Q. A few paws too many: I live in an apartment complex geared toward young adults (college students looking for a quieter environment, grad students, young professionals, and a few young families). Last year, the young woman across the hall lost both her parents in a freak accident, and her little brothers were sent across the country to live with family. She already had one (admittedly very well-behaved and well-trained) dog, but she took in both of her parents’ dogs. There is a two-dog limit that I was informed was “strictly enforced,” but she apparently appealed for special permission given the circumstances and received it because one of the dogs is “elderly.” I feel bad for her circumstances, but it’s been a year and she still has three dogs, so apparently the “elderly” one wasn’t so old after all. She seems to be a responsible pet owner, but I think it’s unfair that she’s had three dogs and will for the foreseeable future. I think she used everyone’s pity for her family tragedy to get around the rules. Would it be wrong of me to complain to management?
The moment this person dropped “lost her parent in a freak accident,” all bets were off. This is like starting a sentence with, “I’m not racist, but…” Nothing you say after that sentence is going to be well-received by the other party involved.
At the risk of sound like the drunk girl at the party who you’re trapped in a conversation with, I have one question for the author of this question – how dare you? Never mind the fact that you’re trying to take away one of the only things that makes this family-less girl happy anymore, but do you really hate dogs so much that you are willing to dispute the two-dog limit in an effort to get one of them removed from the premises? How did you manage to write the question to Prudence after noting that she lost both her parents to death and her brothers to a move across the damn country? Have you no soul? No conscience? No general care for fellow humans?
The simple fact that you admit she’s a responsible dog owner but also accuse her of using her pity to get around the rules is despicable. So to your question, let me answer this without reading Prudence’s take on the matter: yes, it would be wrong of you to complain to management. Offer to feed the dogs when she’s working late. Walk them when you think she might be out of the apartment for the day. Bring them a bone or a chew toy and honor thy neighbor. Whatever you do, just don’t fucking report this poor person. .