DEAR ABBY: My father – aged 68, active and in good health – has become increasingly obsessed with deciding who will get which of his belongings when he passes. Almost every conversation now consists of some form of “Do you think your cousin Joey would like my antique fishing lure collection?” I’m glad he’s thinking ahead and putting his affairs in order, but it has been months since we’ve been able to talk about normal things, and I feel like he’s missing out on living in the present.
I finally had to tell Dad to stop asking my young kids which of his childhood toys they would like when he dies because it was freaking them out. They no longer want to go over there because they’re terrified he’s going to keel over in front of them.
How do I get him to stop this, move on and continue living his life? I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have an illness he’s keeping secret. Obsessiveness is normal for him, but this topic is new. – Adult Son in Florida
DEAR ADULT SON: Have you asked your father directly what has caused this change in his behavior? If you haven’t, you should. Have you any idea how long it has been since his last physical and neurological examination? If it has been more than a year, suggest the two of you go together to make absolutely sure nothing is wrong with him.
Because you prefer he stop talking about death and distribution of assets with your children, let him know that today’s young people prefer electronic gadgets rather than the toys he played with in his youth. It’s the truth, and he needs to hear it.
DEAR ABBY: I belong to a group of men who play golf twice a week. After a round of golf, we’ll have a couple of pitchers of beer to relax. We take turns buying the beer for the group, but there is no set rotation. Sometimes you may buy two pitchers, others you don’t buy any.
One member of the group drinks the beer but never buys, even when it’s obvious that he hasn’t after many opportunities. Several of us are upset by his selfishness, and we have made comments to him about it. They roll off him like water off a duck’s back. How do you think we should handle this selfish individual? – Step Up to the Bar in Texas
DEAR STEP UP: Try this. Hand him the bill and say, “It’s your turn!” But if that doesn’t work, next time make it each man for himself and switch to bottles or glasses.
DEAR ABBY: Every Christmas, my daughter-in-law makes plans with her family on Christmas Day when they come in from out of town. I cannot remember the last time we had a Christmas Day with our son. We are not even invited over for a cup of coffee. Any suggestions? – Unhappy Holidays in Nebraska
DEAR UNHAPPY HOLIDAYS: Yes. I think in the interest of fairness, those Christmas Days should alternate – odd years with one set of in-laws, even years with the other. However, if that doesn’t work, an alternative might be to invite everyone – including the other in-laws – to your home. If you haven’t talked to your son and daughter-in-law about it, you should.