Dear Annie: My cousin “Tyler,” who had a host of problems as a teenager, became a policeman at age 23. He was a jerk before he joined up, but now he’s become a bigger jerk.
Tyler is always bragging that he can fix parking tickets or give you a ticket just for annoying him. He talks back to people constantly, always trying to have the last word. It’s awful, and it makes family gatherings impossible. His mother is a champion grudge holder and is still angry with Tyler for things he did as a teen. His father is completely passive. Tyler’s wife is OK, although I don’t know what she sees in him. His toddler son is very aggressive.
I’ve asked Tyler politely to behave more appropriately, but of course, he won’t listen. I’ve walked out of family dinners and made it clear why. I’ve even spoken to my family about it, but they refuse to avoid occasions just because of Tyler, even though after these gatherings my mother vents to me in the car.
I can’t take this anymore, and I now avoid Tyler at all costs. I’m thinking of videotaping him and showing his superiors. I would not trust this man to carry a gun, serve warrants or make arrests. I’m afraid he’s going to do something rash and someone will get hurt, and I’ll have to testify against him at his trial. If any police out there are reading this, I’d like to know what they think. — No State
Dear No State: Earning a badge would not change Tyler from a jerk into a responsible adult, but it does increase the fear levels. However, if he is simply bragging to his relatives and not actually doing anything, there’s not much recourse for you. Your parents get to handle Tyler however they choose, so please stop trying to dictate their actions. But if you dislike your cousin so much that you cannot bear to be in his presence, we agree that you should avoid these family gatherings whenever possible.
Dear Annie: I’m one of several people planning our upcoming high school reunion for the class of 1962. There are a few people who have never attended any of our reunions.
I know my classmates didn’t have the same high school experience I did. But for the life of me, the one excuse I can’t get my head around is, “I haven’t been a success.” Success means so many things and is different for every person. It makes me sad to think someone would stay away because of that.
Please tell those who feel they cannot attend reunions because they aren’t “successful”: We miss you and want to see you on this side of heaven. Time is short and very precious, and we want to spend some of it with you. — Sad 50th HS Reunion
Dear Reunion: You have made a heartfelt plea for people to attend such functions regardless of their personal insecurities. It is not uncommon for attendees to judge themselves against others’ accomplishments, but by the time a 50th reunion rolls around, such fears are meaningless. We know that some people had such a terrible high school experience that they have no desire to relive it in any form, and they shouldn’t be pressured. But for the rest of you, please go.
Dear Annie: Dan Peek from Grandparents and Others on Watch, Inc. was right on target in advising “Older Sister” to contact authorities about her brother, the sex offender.
We live in a tight community. One woman was having sleepovers at her home while her father, a registered child sex offender, was living with her. She was unwilling to recognize the risk, so we contacted all the parents of the children. We could not endure knowing that she was supplying him with potential victims. — Serious in the South About Protecting Kids
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.