Le New York Times commence son article sur feu Pauline Phillips, alias Abigail Van Buren, par ces deux paragraphes qui illustrent le ton ironique de la courriériste du coeur, décédée hier à 94 ans après avoir souffert pendant dix ans de la maladie d’Alzheimer :
Dear Abby: My wife sleeps in the raw. Then she showers, brushes her teeth and fixes our breakfast — still in the buff. We’re newlyweds and there are just the two of us, so I suppose there’s really nothing wrong with it. What do you think? — Ed
Dear Ed: It’s O.K. with me. But tell her to put on an apron when she’s frying bacon.
Avec sa soeur jumelle Ann Landers, «Dear Abby» a dépoussiéré le courrier du coeur avec un style direct, parfois brutal ou osé, agrémenté d’un humour à la Groucho Marx. Voici d’autres exemples de ses conseils, servis à partir de 1956 à un lectorat qui allait compter des millions d’Américains :
Dear Abby: Our son married a girl when he was in the service. They were married in February and she had an 8 1/2-pound baby girl in August. She said the baby was premature. Can an 8 1/2-pound baby be this premature? — Wanting to Know
Dear Wanting: The baby was on time. The wedding was late. Forget it.
Dear Abby: I have always wanted to have my family history traced, but I can’t afford to spend a lot of money to do it. Have you any suggestions? — M.J.B. in Oakland, Calif.
Dear M.J.B.: Yes. Run for a public office.
Dear Abby: Two men who claim to be father and adopted son just bought an old mansion across the street and fixed it up. We notice a very suspicious mixture of company coming and going at all hours — blacks, whites, Orientals, women who look like men and men who look like women. … This has always been considered one of the finest sections of San Francisco, and these weirdos are giving it a bad name. How can we improve the neighborhood? — Nob Hill Residents
Dear Residents: You could move.