No Celery Please – NYC Edition!

Amy Dickinson, You Have Pissed Me Off

Posted in Uncategorized by noceleryplease on May 15, 2008

OK, OK, I know that reading advice columns is probably a vastly unhealthy pass-time.  But what can I say?  I love the things.  I think because it makes me feel so very normal to read the stuff people write in to them.

Today, though, I have become ticked.  The Ask Amy column will often have some wacky advice, but today… I mean, where is this woman’s brain?

Here’s the column…

Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I were watching my 5-year-old niece. She came to me and told me that my boyfriend said he was going to punch her in the nose. I know that when my boyfriend is playing with the kids he plays around and says things, but he is adamant that he didn’t say that.

I spoke with my niece’s parents, and we chalked it up as a misunderstanding.

But now my boyfriend does not want her playing with him, and he refuses to watch her unless someone is with him every minute.

He is in law enforcement and says he sees things like this all the time, situations in which a kid accuses an adult of doing something and the adult gets in trouble. His exact words were, “God forbid she said I touched her.”

I don’t know how to get him to understand that she is a 5-year-old kid with a vivid imagination, and I feel this might be the end of our relationship. -Helpless and Clueless

Dear Helpless: Most of what young children say has some basis in reality. You should believe your niece but also assume that perhaps your boyfriend was horsing around and that his statement was taken out of context.

Your boyfriend is the adult in this scenario, and it is his job to put things in perspective. Being in law enforcement, he should be more – not less – understanding about this incident. The fact that he is so punitive and blames a 5-year-old for this incident highlights his own immaturity.

I do agree with him about this one thing, however: He should not be alone with your niece because he can’t be trusted to treat her well.

OK, now, let’s start with her comment “Most of what young children say has some basis in reality”… I don’t even know where to begin with that, but I have known quite a few young children, and I have heard some stories, by golly, that I don’t think have ever had a passing acquaintance with “reality”.

But that’s not my main problem with this.

My problem is that she is BLAMING this guy for “punishing”  kid who has already proven willing to tell tales on him.  She says “Being in law enforcement, he should be more – not less – understanding about this incident. ”  Is she kidding?  Being in law enforcement means that he has seen plenty of people’s lives ruined just by someone making an accusation.  He clearly knows the consequences of this.  Once someone says “he touched me” or “he raped me”, it doesn’t matter one little bit who is telling the truth… the “he” in the situation is forever untrustworthy and his life is pretty much ruined. (Ask the Duke Lacross Team).

If I was in his place, there is NO WAY IN HELL I would ever be alone with that kid again… Does Amy know how fast the news would pick up the “law enforcement man abuses little girl” story?

Kids know the fastest way to get someone in trouble nowadays is to play the abuse card. They see the news.  They know why their teachers are afraid to pat them on the back.  And some of them (not all, but some) will use that all over the place to get what they want.

Now I am not saying that there aren’t horrible adults out there who should be severely punished for doing horrible things to children.  Because there are. And they should be caught, and have very bad things done to them.

However, I firmly believe that just because a kid says something, that does not make it true, and there definitely are kids out there who will exploit the system just because they can.  What’s the best way to protect yourself from that?

Never be alone with ’em.

In this, I think the guy in this letter is right on the mark… and the first bit of proof is the parting comment… “He should not be alone with your niece because he can’t be trusted to treat her well. ”

Well by golly, here we are… the kid said something about this guy, and now, “he can’t be trusted” – see how simple it is?



8 Responses to 'Amy Dickinson, You Have Pissed Me Off'

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  1. Ron said,

    I agree when it comes to the Rape or child abuse claim it does not even have to have evidence to ruin lives. It seems that if the truth comes to light clearing the guy it never gets the same publicity or recognition that the accusations did and people will still wonder.

  2. Roo said,

    well put. i even have to be careful with being too ;mama’ with my 8th graders. because of those hoes who sleep with their students, i have to be careful how i check a busted eye after a basket ball game or see if a kid is warm…i actually had a boy ask me the other night, “so…what are you doing ms. s…..”
    i hope that guy dumps that girl. off a bridge.

  3. renn said,


    Does Ask Amy have kids? I think my kid is pretty decent on average, but I’m also certain that a) she doesn’t really have fins b) we didn’t steal her out of the monkey cage at the zoo and c) her hand wasn’t broken by an invisible boy that lives in the tree out back.

    Well put.

  4. Sounds like you went to the same sex abuse awareness class I had thru my diocese (the Catholic church is really trying to right the wrongs – all volunteers at any Catholic school must take the 2 hour course). We’re taught to recognize instances where a child might be abused – i.e. seeing another adult alone with one child and making sure there are checks and balances… being with a group of kids or a group of other people. It sounds terrible, but you’re right… no one wants to be accused of allegations like that.

    And, my 3 yr old neice routinely makes up stories. Last time I saw her, she said her dad (my BIL) locked her out of the house. Totally not true.

  5. Al said,

    Your cautions are well founded. In the REAL world lives can be ruined by a single accusation. My granddaughter accused her dad of peeking at her in the shower. The State removed him from the home, even though she admitted she had made it up. The parents ended up getting divorced, the kids were taken by the state. By the time it was all over, I had adopted my grandson and his brother and sister were adopted out.

  6. db grin said,

    Holy sheep. I am disgusted at the state of things. Well done post.

    I wouldn’t be with that kid either. I was a kid once, and know for a fact that kids can lie for little or no reason at all. I was a youth group leader years ago, and we simply wouldn’t be alone with students – always either in the open, or in a group.

  7. tiff said,

    One can only hope that the person writing this letter stopped reading the ask Amy column long ago. Our happy little litigious society has made it possible for people to be ruined on the least whisper of impropriety, and I can only imagine it’s so much worse for people in law enforcement, who need to appear to be absolute paragons of purity.

    I’m with several of the other good folks here – I lied my ass of as a kid, and would staunchly defend some of those lies if to admit to lying would have cause me trouble.

  8. Kingfisher said,


    Nothing to add.

    Except thank you, from a middle-aged man who happens to love children, and is afraid to use these words lest he be suspected of heinous desires.

    Q: WTF ever happened to the kindly grownup guy who could play with kids?

    A: He’s afraid to do it any more, and we are all the poorer for it. Especially the kids.

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