Help Me, Bubby!

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Thursday, July 15, 2004
   
Hi Bubby,
 
I love this - asking a Jewish grandmother for advice.  My own bubby usually stuffs me with delicious cooking loaded with grease and salt and then advisesme to suck in my stomach when I walk.  So I'm looking for another opinion here.
 
The situation I have is with a friend / acquaintance I've known for a number ofyears, and kept in touch with on and off.  For the last few years he's been having trouble at school and holding down a job, so he's been drifting from place to place and usually doesn't have much money.  He's very thin and always seems hungry.  I've offered to lend him a few bucks or buy him lunch but heusually refuses.  He told me he doesn't like to feel obligated to other people.
 
This weekend we got together for a Jazz Festival and dinner.  I wasn't that hungry so I didn't eat much.  I ordered a drink, ate a few things off his plate and finished his meal when he was full.  When we went to pay for our meals, the cashier mistakenly lumped my bill with his.
 
I could have taken that opportunity to pay his bill for once because he really could use the extra savings (I have a steady job), but my knee-jerk reaction was to correct the cashier and tell her "no, we're paying separately!"  So she refunded me my change and the poor guy had to pay with a debit card.  By the time I realised my mistake, it was too late.  I know he never would have accepted cash from me if I'd offered to split the bill of his meal.  He didn't seem angry about it - he is a nice guy - but I feel really bad.
 
It's unlikely I'll see him again for another month or two, since our contact with each other is pretty sporadic.  But I just want him to know that I didn't mean to be selfish and maybe buy him something else to make up for it.  If I tell him directly though he might just refuse again. What would you suggest I do to make amends?  I don't know of any jobs he might be qualified for and I already have several friends who I've promised to help look for work.  (We're all in our early 20's)
 
Thanks in advance for your input.
Guilty Canadian

Dear Guilty Canadian,

So you put your foot in it. There is nothing you can do at this point. Do not send him a gift - that would be the worst thing you could do. And don't apologize. You have just learned your lesson and remember next time you see him you tell him before you walk in to the restaurant that this is on you and if he asks why just say, it will make me feel good. Then go about enjoying each other's company.

You say you could not eat anymore but then you finished the food from his plate. If you were full how could you eat more?? You should have suggested that he have the waiter pack it up and he should take it home. This is done in all restaurants. Restaurants are prepared for this.

I think you need a little help in social procedures. I'm sorry your friend can't find a job and it is very nice of you to try to help him locate one. Has he had any training in any field? You say you are all in your early 20's - that's great. Is he in school? He could try to get something right in school. He should see the counselor or the dean. That is what I did and I got the job. He could also go to any agency.

A good frienship is hard to find and if this is a good one you don't want to loose it. You have just learned your lesson and I am sure you will be a better man because of it.

Best in your manners and good luck to your friend finding a job.
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By submitting a letter to this website, you grant Help Me, Bubby! permission to publish it on this site or elsewhere including print publications. Your letter will only include an anonymous signature that you provide or that we use to substitute for your real name. Your email address will never be included or distributed. Due to the large number of letters received, there is no guarantee that a letter will be responded to. Any information or advice given at Help Me, Bubby! is not intended to provide an alternative to professional medical treatment or to replace the advice or services of a physician or psychiatrist. Neither Bubby nor her granddaughters are professional therapists or medical experts. If you have any serious medical or mental problem, please consult a professional. Although all this advice is offered lovingly from the heart and in good spirit, we are not responsible in any way for your decision to accept or reject the advice or the results thereafter.

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Bubby is our 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93 94 year old grandmother.
A few years ago we introduced her to the internet and we've been getting daily e-mails from her ever since. When she was 87, we began this website. We now believe she is the oldest blogger on the Internet.

Whether Bubby is reminding us that boyfriends do not substitute for warm jackets in the winter, or that it's better to receive a compliment than a brick, she always has something to say to her granddaughters.

Now with this new website, Bubby can finally share her wisdom with the rest of the world. And she's excited about it! (Which confuses us, because she used to say we were all she needed.)

Hopefully this will be as much fun for new readers as it will surely be for her. And if not, well, as Bubby says, it will all come out in the wash.

So, are you looking for advice on food, work, a broken heart, or the perfect bat mitzvah present?

But no dirty words allowed or you'll only get one matzah ball.


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