- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Question 1
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Hi Uncle Ezra -
I'm a veteran writer to your forum...I've got another problem with a
"relationship"...Well, or regarding the lack of, again...
It seems that, for the third time in my life, I've gotten rejected by
someone I've been really strongly attracted to (I've been rejected more
times, but the other times, I've had less invested mentally). This time
it is a former friend, well kind of. She was more than an acquaintance,
but we were never best friends or anything. Anyway, I liked her on and
off all the way through college, but pursued other women since she
never seemed to reciprocate my feelings. Then, upon her senior year (It
would've been mine, too, but I ended up taking that year off from
school), I suddenly felt the need to say something since I wasn't sure
we would have reason to talk to each other again after her graduation.
Well, I did, and despite her denials, I got into a bad old habit of
mine whereby I insisted that she was just being stubborn. Well, anyway,
to make a long story short, she didn't want to talk to me anymore.
So, anyway, two years has passed now, and, while I was able to get on
with my life in many ways, I still think about her from time to time.
When I do, it's often sadness followed by anger. The thing is, I'm
still mad at her because I feel like we could have had something and I
feel that refused to see me for who I was. Two years ago she said that
she didn't see me "that way," which immediately hit my sore spot of
always having women see me as the "nice guy" who they could never date.
Anyway, she's been out of the country since graduation and I understand
(through mutual friends) that she'll be coming back to the states this
summer. (I've definitely thought about her more now that I know she's
returning.) Anyway, I'm not so much interested in relationship advice
as I am in your answering this question: Does it make sense to be mad
at someone you're interested in who doesn't reciprocate your affections
precisely because they don't reciprocate your affections? I don't
normally feel this way when I get rejected, but since I knew this woman
better than most of my past interests, there's a feeling of
betrayal...a sense that, of all the people to reject me, this person
should be the last to outright reject me. I mean, she didn't even say
that she needed time to think about it. She just outright said no! Now,
as time has passed, while I certainly admit that this time away has
really allowed me to grow as an individual with my own dreams and !
interests, I still feel like she (and, by extension, I) has lost out on
two years she could have spent learning from and sharing with me, even
if it wouldn't have consisted of all that much communication, given the
geographical distance between us.
Thanking you as always...
Sad and Confused
Dear Sad and Confused,
Congratulations on being a nice guy! Much better than being rejected
for being a jerk, don't you think? It is true that many people in
dating mode go for the big bang, and find it hard to feel attraction
for niceness or gentleness or kindness. Some of it is innate mating
behavior. Some of it is our cultural training to pay attention to the
louder, brighter, faster whatever AS IF it were better. Some people
innately like hot and heavy, others prefer slow and steady. Your task
is to find some who prefers the latter.
Does it make sense ...? you ask. Feeling your feelings always makes
sense. Definitely be aware of how you feel and what it does to your
body, your thoughts and your behavior. The next step is to manage your
feelings, change your thoughts to align with where you want to be, and
shape your behavior to be congruent with your self-image. Then you can
answer your own question about whether it makes sense to hold onto that
anger, whether it is consistent with who you want to be and how you
want to spend your own emotional energy. You can't change the other
person, so don't blame your emotional state on her. However, you know
that it takes a lot of work to take her off the hook and take
responsibility for your own life. Hard work, but it is worth it.
Sometimes we can use the image of another person as motivation for our
tasks and accomplishments. We can always dream that a new set of
circumstances will create a new outcome. While this is possible,
changing the past is not. So don't look back on what "could have been"
and let unreality affect your current emotions. You are doing the
right thing by looking at what you have gained, how you have grown, and
by staying positive about your situation. As you have trained yourself
to let go of the past, you can also let go of anger and disappointment.
Try not to focus on something that isn't currently active and giving
back. As hard as it may be, keep being yourself, meeting new people,
and refining your sense of what will work for you in a relationship.
Perhaps some day you'll be glad you moved on from Ms. didn't even need
a day to think about it.
Good luck. Continue to be the nice and self-reflective guy that you
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Question 2
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Dear Uncle Ezra,
If you went to the store and bought a gallon of milk for 2.50, and then
a few days later the price of milk went up to 3.50, and the store owner
called you up and said "the price of that milk you bought last week
went up a dollar; we're going to have to ask you to bring in another
buck," you'd think that that is ridiculous, right?
Sure you would.
So why is it that when the post office raises the price of sending a
letter, they sell you one- or two- or whatever-cent stamps to make up
the difference? You already bought the right to mail one letter at the
price that was being charged when you purchased your stamp... that's
when the transaction took place. You're not paying them when you put
the stamp on the letter and mail it; it's not like they pull the stamps
off and take them to the bank and deposit them, it's just like a proof
of purchase or a receipt so that when you put it on a letter, they know
that you paid a post office or other stamp vendor for your letter being
It especially makes sense because when they moved stamps from 33 cents
up to 34 for a regular letter, they stopped producing 33 cent stamps;
so essentially the fact that you've got one proves that you bought it
when that was the going rate for sending your letter.
I guess we can't complain too hard.. I mean, it is really a matter of a
few cents, and I still think that it's pretty damn cheap to pay less
than half a buck and have people hand deliver your letter or whatever
anywhere else in the country, and I know that our postal rates are the
lowest in the industrialized world, I'm really just more curious about
the rationale for making you pay the difference for a new price when
you already purchased a service at the old price, like my example with
Please lemme know whats up!
Dear frequent mailer,
It is an interesting little set of circumstances. The pre-selling of
stamps is actually a convenience to save you a trip. You are really
talking about speculating in the futures market. Which the PO doesn't
get into. If what you propose were possible, imagine the outcome -
some folks would buy up lots of stamps and continue to send mail at low
rates, and even resell stamps (possibly on the black market) so that
the Post Office would lose control over the pricing of their services.
If you think of it as an independent business, it would be like buying
the right to purchase a gallon of milk at any future date for a certain
price. If you've already bought the milk, the production costs have
been covered. If you're going to buy the milk next month, there could
have been a drought and feed costs could have doubled, gas prices could
have tripled, and a biological threat could have increased the cost of
health care for the cows. The Post Office also deals with such
production costs -- gas, labor, facility and maintenance costs. Be
thankful for email, which significantly reduces your need to buy stamps
for everything from correspondence to bill paying.
Speaking of stamps, I saw a beautiful set of Carnivorous Plants stamps
recently, and asked the clerk for a sheet. He said they had sold out
very quickly because they were so popular. In addition to mailing
letters, you get to enjoy these beautiful designs!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Question 3
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Dear uncle Ezra:
My daughter is about to finish high school and asked me for help on how
to choose a profession. I did not imagine how difficult it was to
answer that question! When I was her age I already felt a strong
inclination to outdoors work in rural areas, then choosing agronomy was
almost automatic and I feel quite pleased with my profession. But she
does not seems to have any special inclination at this time, then I can
not tell her to follow her inclinations, and I would like to offer her
a more satisfying answer. Could you indicate me where to find
resources (internet will be great) that could help us tackling this
issue. As a start, I have in mind something like tests that could
indicate the existence of abilities (or lack of them) for certain types
of work, or counseling that could indicate us how to analyze the do's
and dont's of choosing a career.
We are overseas, in a developing country, and high schools here do not
offer much support, as is the case in the US, for this kind of
Thanks very much.
A puzzled father
It is indeed a different world. It's hard to even imagine yourself in
your daughter's shoes in the year 2002 with several decades ahead of
her. This morning's (Ithaca) newspaper had pictures of galaxies
merging. A gaping hole in downtown Manhattan reminds us of our
vulnerability. Designer children and immunizations against cancer are
realities. Once upon a time a "schoolteacher" taught what they knew.
Now teachers have to study every night to keep pace with their
students. A patient often has to clue their doctor in to the latest
There are several tests your daughter could start with to begin
exploring career choices. The Strong Interest Inventory will rate her
in various categories according to what she says she is interested in.
The Myers- Briggs is very popular because it helps people understand
how their personality type helps or hinders various kinds of
interactions. For example, an introvert shouldn't be a salesperson.
Three general categories to start with are: is she interested in
People, Data, or Things? If people -- teaching, preaching, counseling,
or sales. If data -- research, computing, accounting. If things --
engineering, design. Your daughter might want to browse a college
catalogue and see what courses interest her. She is young enough,
though, that she may not know until she actually takes the course. So,
she might want to have an exploratory year at college and then talk
with advisors there.
"What Color is My Parachute" by Bolles is the career counselor's Bible.
You can look around Cornell's Career Center page at
http://www.career.cornell.edu/ with many helpful links. Check out
Melissa Everett's Sustainable Careers Institute at
http://www.sustainablecareers.com/bio.htm and read her book "Making a
Living While Making a Difference." Any tests or books can be
springboards for discussion, but a teen needs to try out the waters to
get a real feel for how they can do. Apprenticeships and internships
as well as job-shadowing allows young folks to see the real work of
someone advanced in their field. Do you have any friends you could set
your daughter up with to do this?
Remember also that people these days have an average of 7 career
changes! That makes it easier to just start out. A journey of a
thousand miles begins with the first step.
P.S. Your daughter is lucky to have a supportive dad like you! Just
be there for her as she explores and she will bounce back to new
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Question 4
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I appreciate the response to my question. I think you and Ms. Grant
forgot a key point. If you stage a protest in a private mall (say
Pyramid Mall), the owners of the mall cannot kick you out unless you
are hurting their businesses (see Lloyd v. Tanner, 1972). My question
is are Cornell's rules legitimate? Can they constitutionally throw me
out if I stage a protest (without a UUP form) if it does not interefere
with Cornell's primary business (to educate)?
Dear Same guy,
Associate Judicial Administrator' Linda Falkson says that "The UUP
relates to university policy and I don't believe it's referenced in
Title 5 of the Code. All Cornellians are expected to follow both the
Code (Title 5 and other provisions) and University policy. In these
situations, students and others should fill out a UUP. Similar to the
holding in the case cited, Title 5 makes reference to whether the
activities are 'disruptive'. In terms of their enforcement, that is
primarily what the police would consider. In other words, regardless of
whether a UUP was filed, a primary consideration would be whether or
not students were disrupted from entering the Straight or academic
buildings or other facilities etc. I do believe that regarding access
by non-Cornellians, it's considered private. "I hope this clears it up
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Dear Uncle Ezra
What exactly is the deal with Lyon Hall and those large upper floor
windows? I've heard people talk about a secret society called the
quill-and-dagger, how do I find out more about them?
Part of the mystery is that anyone you ask can't tell you the answer.
You may occasionally see students going in and out of Lyon Tower
because Quill and Dagger has their meeting room in the top of the
Tower. Quill and Dagger is a senior honor society that recognizes
outstanding leadership and service to Cornell University. When it's
time for you to know, the secret will be revealed to you!