Dear Abby: What Should I Do About Dad?

| August 11, 2020

Once you get beyond the issue of the granddaughter wearing a bikini that shows her “bum,” there is someone that wrote in regard to Stolen Valor.  Dear Abby seems to have gotten this correctly…

https://www.griffindailynews.com/news/poolside-overexposure-gets-disapproval-of-grandparents/article_41f28bd9-7424-5279-b6d9-dfd15e3a29be.html

Dear Abby: My father is 87 and has stage 4 cancer. For years he has lied about being a hospital corpsman in the Navy during the Korean War. My parents live in a retirement community, and he talks about being in the war while wearing a Navy baseball cap. Dad was in the Naval Reserve (that we know of) but never saw combat.

Veterans’ groups are always bringing him quilts, food, etc. My mom is horrified and doesn’t know what to say when he goes on a rant about having been hit by shrapnel while pulling a fellow naval guy out of a burning building. He will pass away soon, and the veterans’ groups will be giving Mom a flag he doesn’t deserve. Mom doesn’t know what to do. Should we just ignore the antics or say something? Please help. — Uncertain in Florida

Dear Uncertain: What your father has been doing is called “stolen valor” or “stolen honor,” and it is seriously frowned upon by people who have actually earned it. It is a form of fraud. However, anyone who has served in the military and been honorably discharged is entitled to be given a flag when he or she is buried. It will be folded and presented to your mother.

As to the gifts he is receiving from the veterans’ groups, suggest that because your father is now so close to the end, they be given to other vets who can use them.

That was the nice, diplomatic version.  I’m sure you can all think of alternate ways of answering this letter.

Dear Uncertain:  I see you are from Florida.  It has been an established fact that there is something in the water.  Does he have a leather vest with bling?  A service dog?  A bandana?  A motorcycle?  If you answer no to these things you need to tell your father to up his game.  I know it is a difficult situation but at least he is not wearing a string bikini poolside… or is he?

Category: "Teh Stoopid"

Comments (41)

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  1. Hack Stone says:

    Dear Abby,

    I work for a company headquartered in Merritt Island Florida, and the President of this company claims to be a former US Navy SEAL. Recently he reached out to me because some military websites have exposed his claims to be “Stolen Valor”, and he wants me to launch a guerrilla campaign against these websites by going on their blogs and disparaging military veterans. This sounds like a win-win situation, since I will be allowed the opportunity to impress a larger audience with my vast superior knowledge, family lineage, and my large collection of classic British automobiles. My wife doesn’t think that it is a good idea, and may expose my previous encounters in criminal and civil courtrooms of Maryland. Going to the mat for “Phil” will show my loyalty, and can result in nothing but positive things for me career wise. What should I do?

    Signed,
    Paul From Bethesda

    • MI Ranger says:

      Dear Paul from Bethesda,

      It is never a good idea to knowingly commit fraud. Especially in light of recent events. Your juvenile attempts to impress your misguided friend “Phil” will likely not impress those who have actually served, and could irritate them. I would advise that you search your soul and read some history books. While not everyone who served our country did so as a Navy SEAL, they all served honorably. It is the less than 10% of the population who chose to serve, that allow us to live in peace and our way of life. The saying goes that freedom is not free, and it truly is not, for it is paid often with the lives of those you do not know. Instead of trying to impress someone who is not worthy of your efforts, maybe you should instead take this opportunity to get to know some of these veterans and learn why it is they hold their honor in such esteem.

      Signed,
      Abbygale Landers

  2. MIKE GUENTER says:

    Dear Paul from Bethesda,

    You do you and see how that works out for you.

    /sarc.

  3. Daisy Cutter says:

    Dear Uncertain in Florida:

    How many opportunities were there to pull someone out of a burning building and being hit by shrapnel during the Korean War? Perhaps it could have been during the urban fighting at the Chosin Reservoir when our troops had to go house to house? — Puzzled in Seattle

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, it was that secret vacation complex for Kim Il Sung that Stalin secretly built by the shore for his birthday and ol’ grandpa was on the super secret commando mission to whack the dictator at the surprise party as recon marines’ corpsman, then things went wrong…

  4. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    There are a lot of unknowns in this question…the family doesn’t seem certain of dad’s records at all based on the wording in the question.

    Why not pull dad’s records and find out for certain? They say he was in the naval reserve but in parentheses state “that they know of” which means what exactly?

    Have they seen his records already and know for a fact? That’s an ambiguous statement.

    Get dad’s records and know for sure. Then take him aside and tell him it’s wrong to lie about it if in fact he is lying as they suspect.

    Does he also have dementia? Seems a fairly common thing for Korean age vets.

    Drill down into, find the truth and then act accordingly. You can tell your dad you still love him you just want him to stop lying about shit…if that pisses him off, well be glad you didn’t inherent that lying gene from pops and move on with your life.

    • Hondo says:

      FWIW, VoV: I agree with you if the individual has no dementia or other form of diminished mental capacity. However, if he has dementia, telling him to stop lying is probably not going to work.

      People with dementia sometimes conflate various memories in a “mixmaster” fashion and become convinced the result is what they actually did or saw. I’ve seen that with my own eyes.

      Dementia or another form of diminished mental capacity is one of the few things that can convince me personally to give someone a pass on what otherwise would be a clear case of stolen valor. The individual very literally may believe he/she is telling the truth, and you have very little if any chance of convincing them otherwise. Trying to do so will only damage what remains of any relationship you have with the individual.

      If this individual actually does have dementia or some other form of diminished mental capacity, IMO this is one case where “grit your teeth and keep quiet” might well be the best course of action.

      • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

        Agreed, regarding the dementia I had intended to add some experiences with my father in law…he never lied about military service but often thought I had driven to Maine to see him instead of simply driving to Holyoke Mass…

        Dementia would make me think as you do that a pass was in order on this issue.

        It did seem the questioner didn’t know a great deal of facts though from the question and that’s why I wondered if they even know the actual truth of it…maybe dad was in the reserve but was active during part of the war…it wasn’t clear from the way the question was worded.

      • Graybeard says:

        Agree, Hondo.

        The proper response to someone with dementia is compassion.

        Friend of mine recently was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain cancer (he died w/in 5 weeks of diagnosis) and it caused him to “remember” a lot of stuff that wasn’t accurate. Heartbroken compassion was the only response we could give.

      • Anonymous says:

        True dat. If it’s dementia and he’s not got much time left, there’re are more important things at that point.

      • Twist says:

        I also agree. My Mother has dementia and while she lived with us before she needed more care than we could provide her she would get easily confused. She loved to watch Bonanza so I would spend time with her and watch it with her. Many times she confused the show with reality. We had to stop watching it because she would get really upset thinking that when someone got into some sort of trouble on the show that it was happening in real life.

  5. 5th/77th FA says:

    Dear Uncertain;

    I got in touch with the employees of a proud but humble woman owned company that sells software to the federal government. They all pointed me to a logistics company that doesn’t monkree around. His lawer, a former navy seal and chief petty officer, pile it, and owner of Pine Tree Top Flying Service has gotten the true records of his service. He was NOT a Navy Corpsman in Korea, he was in an Army MASH Unit. An FOIA request showed that he was treated by a Dr. Sydney Freeman for his propensity to wear string bikini bottoms. I recommend that you NOT leave him, sitting on a park bench. He may start eyeing little girls with bad intents. Get him a dog, a doo rag, and some mirrored sunglasses. Then move him to Toledo. The Mud Hens need the support.

    Abby

    • Hack Stone says:

      He was assigned to Task Force Klinger.

      Fun fact you can learn from watching MASH. Apparently there were only two enlisted soldiers who served in Korean War. Three, if you count Rizzo, but nobody remembers him.

      • SFC D says:

        Klinger
        Radar
        Rizzo
        Igor (the cook)

        That’s all I can think of

        • KoB says:

          SSG Zelmo Zale

          SGT “Sparky” Pryor

          In re Klinger as a medic pulling KP and guard duty. Never saw a medic on either duty.

          • Open Channel D says:

            As an HA on the USS Kitty Hawk, I was briefly assigned as a mess crank. That lasted all of one day. My IDC saw me on the line and went straight to the Mess LPO who went to his Chief. That Chief talked to my Chief.

            End. Of. Story.

    • The Stranger says:

      The Mud Hens have a nice little park in downtown Toledo, where the Yuengling flows like water! The Akron Rubber Ducks also have a nice park; with my military discount, a great seat can be had for $7. And, you guessed it, they have Yuengling on tap!

      • 5th/77th FA says:

        My Man Pappy, The Stranger! We dodged a bullet the other day. Slow Joe’s taste buds are so burned out over that semi refined horse urine he drinks that he can’t taste the quality of our Brew. Whew!!! The nore Bud Lite he drinks the more Yuengling for the rest of us!

  6. I moved down to the Gunshine state of Florida after I retired AND I DO HAVE A WATER PURIFER under my sink. I started taking Prevagen a month ago because I forgot about the Alamo. REMEMBER THE ALAMO. I have mentioned this shtick a few times in commenting. See you later Alligator.

  7. Green Thumb says:

    Dear Uncertain,

    I am certain: your Grandfather is a shitbag.

    If you need counseling, All-Points Logistics in Merritt Island, FL has services to help you and your loved ones deal with his asshatery as their Chief Executive Officer “Phony” Phil Monkress has been employing them (stolen valor entrepreneurs) for years.

    But fair warning, Phil Monkress and All-Points Logistics will more than likely charge you an exorbitant price for their services, if they show up at all. But take heart in knowing that they probably will give you access to their chapel (though I cannot vouch for the authenticity of their Chaplin) in our time of need.

    Best.

    Abby

  8. David says:

    Dear Abby, Dear Abby, you won’t believe this
    My stomach makes noises whenever I kiss

    RIP John, we’re still mourning you.

    Lost an old friend to COVID yesterday, we were stationed together in Germany wau bach when Godspeed, David.

    • Graybeard says:

      Sorry for your loss, David.
      Prayers for his family and all his friends.

      • Wilted Willy says:

        Ditto David, so sorry for your loss. I took another bad fall yesterday, I think I might have broken my other leg this time? I’ll give it another 24 hours and if it doesn’t get any better, I’ll go to the ER and get it checked out? I hate going to the hospital, they won’t even let my wife in to visit me or nothing???
        Wish me luck!

        • Graybeard says:

          Keeping you in our prayers, WW.

          Consider getting the county judge (or whatever equivalent post y’all have over yonder) to intervene with the hospital/doctor about your wife coming in.

          When the doctor didn’t want to allow my friend’s wife in to visit while he was there with brain cancer the County Judge called the doctor and threatened him with an injunction if he didn’t let her visit.

          It helps if you have someone who knows the County Judge, but persistence (aka mule-headed stubbornness) can be effective.

  9. OWB says:

    Agree that the response was probably as well done as it could be given the lack of detail available.

    Meanwhile, we don’t know nearly enough to call this anything other than the ramblings of a dying man. Truthful? Unknown. Was he in Korea? Unknown. Did he serve in some capacity during Korea? Possibly, but unknown.

    Before we ridicule this man, we really need to know more about his military service, or lack there of.

    Y’all ARE aware that a plethora of reserve units served in Korea, right? And a lot of those individuals were wounded or died serving.

  10. Just Lurkin says:

    My brother in law died last year. He had rocked the “I was a SEAL” lie for years. He had actually been on a ship that supported the conflict in the Dominican Republic in the 60s (and also had a ton of AWOL time, once we finally saw his records after his death). There are a lot of vets on that side of the family and we all knew he was full of crap, but you also want to try and keep the peace in the family. He got the flag for his casket, but his play pretend award rack was tactfully left out of the funeral service. My sister-in-law still believes his stories.

    • Green Thumb says:

      AWOL soldiers.

      The new standard.

      The False Commander “Phony” Phil Monkress (CEO of All-Points Logistics) got divorced over that shit.

      • Mason says:

        They’re only listed as UA/AWOL because their ops are so classified, even their regular units don’t know where they are.

    • @Just Lurkin
      What ship was your brother in law on during the Dominican Republic crisis in 1965??? If he was on the USS Okinawa LPH 3, let me know his name and I may have known him.

      • Just Lurkin says:

        It was some kind of supply ship, we looked it up on Wikipedia when he died, but I don’t remember.

        • He was on either the USS Yancy or the
          USS Rankin AKA 103 which both were awarded a Presidential unit Citation.

          • Just Lurkin says:

            Maybe I’m confusing “supply” ship and “support” ship, but he definitely did not have a PUC or any other unit award. His only (real) decorations were an NDSM and an AFEM (or Naval Expeditionary Medal, can’t remember). He had decided that he deserved a big pretend rack with all kinds of hooah medals that he displayed at the home he shared with my sister-in-law. We all had been around the block, the vets in our family I mean, and we all would have respected his real service (and probably have just laughed knowingly at all his AWOL time as youthful indiscretion), but he felt he had to big himself up, it was hard to swallow but we made sure he got a flag on his coffin-he deserved that I spite of his lies.

  11. Ex-PH2 says:

    Dear Abby,

    Nobody loves me. I’m going down to the garden and eat worms.

    Yesterday, I ate two skinny ones and one woolly one, and a bird stole the fourth one.

    How do I get my stolen worm back?

  12. nbcguyACTUAL says:

    Dear Abby,

    I keep seeing this old pervert with dementia who thinks he’s running for president, or senate, lifeguard or something….

  13. Ex-PH2 says:

    Well, since he’s picked his Veep, I just want to remind you all that if he croaks, Harris is Prezzie, but there is no clause that says she has to pick a Veep (Pelosi), and I doubt she would.