Friday, March 05, 2004
Suckering Abby: You won't see it on March 15, but the original Dear Abby column sent over the wires for that date contained this letter:
WIFE MEETS PERFECT MATCH AFTER HUSBAND STRIKES OUT
DEAR ABBY: I am 34 and have three children. My husband, "Gene," and I have been married for 10 years. He is greedy, selfish, inconsiderate and rude. I don't know why I married him, nor why our marriage has lasted this long.
Gene put off getting me a birthday gift for as long as he could; then he bought me a bowling ball. It was the last straw. Not only do I not bowl - he had the holes drilled for his fingers and his name was on it.
The next day I went to the bowling alley determined to keep the ball and learn to bowl. It was there that I met "Franco." Franco is kind, considerate and loving - the polar opposite of Gene.
Franco and I began bowling together, and he bought me a glove in my size with my name on it. Shortly thereafter, our affair began. (I didn't mention that I was married.)
When Gene saw the bowling glove on our dresser, he became depressed because he realized that I'd met someone. I feel sorry for Gene, but the last time I saw Franco, he proposed.
I no longer love Gene. I want to divorce him and marry Franco. At the same time, I'm worried that Gene won't be able to move on with his life. I also think our kids would be devastated. What should I do? - STUCK IN A LOVE TRIANGLE
DEAR STUCK: You are not "stuck" in a love triangle. You deliberately put yourself into one by not being honest with Franco. Before you get in any deeper, put your house in order and tell your husband why you strayed. He may not realize how selfish, greedy, inconsiderate and rude you think he is. To save the marriage, he might be willing to change back to the man who bowled you over in the first place.
Next, apologize to Franco for not informing him of the fact that you are already married. He has a right to know the score - and after that, que sera sera.
Well, someone in some newsroom saw this and it rang a bell.
The Simpsons "Life on the Fast Lane" (aka Jacques to Be Wild), Season 1, Episode 9, first aired March 18, 1990.
It's Marge's 34th birthday and Homer carelessly gets her a bowling ball for a present, but it's really just for himself. Upset with Homer, for the first time in her life Marge actually goes bowling, but she really sucks at it. A man in the lane next to her approaches and introduces himself as Jacques and he invites her over for special bowling lessons. Marge seemingly falls in love with Jacques. Jacques and Marge are sort of on a date at a dinner, when Helen Lovejoy (the Reverend's gossipy wife, seen her for the first time) approaches threatening to tell everyone. Jacques convinces Helen that they are just doing a bowling lesson, when Helen leaves they continue and then Jacques invites Marge over to his place. Marge soon realizes that she is doing something bad and she stops her relationship.
So today, the following message came over the wires:
Editors: We are offering substitute copy for the March 15 release of Dear Abby. We were informed that the original first letter was suspiciously close to a synopsis of a "Simpsons" episode. The enclosed copy contains a new first letter. The second and third items stay the same. - UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE
To whomever pulled this one, congratulations, it almost worked.
*UPDATE* Inspired by this story, there is now a contest where you too can try to pass off a sitcom, movie or book as a "letter" to Abby. Check it out.