dont believe in conflict resolution. I believe in conflict
Take Deb, for instance. Take her far, far away.
Deb is the most annoying acquaintance I have ever known. She is
a spoiled, controlling, whiny know-it-all who gets on my last
nerve. I have worked with her for ten years.
Ive tried to ignore her. Ive tried to avoid her. Ive
nearly gone blind, trying to see the good in her.
Ive turned my left cheek. Ive turned my right cheek.
Now Im turning both cheeks.
Bottom line is, I dont like her and she doesnt like
me. We both acknowledge and accept this, and have consequently
made great strides in our relationship. Its all very adult
Deb, I say, with my feet propped up on my desk and
my hands clasped behind my head, the very sound of your
voice makes me want to shoot ducks. Youre such a brown-noser.
Who do you think youre fooling?
Deb cackles and pops a blueberry into her mouth. Your shoes
are disgusting, she says. Where did you get them?
Family Dollar? You wear the tackiest clothes I have ever seen.
You could at least polish your toenails.
Together we chuckle. Do you remember the time you tried
to take all the credit for the Bilcon account? I ask. The
one I landed? I hated you so much that day. I still hate you,
but I feel so much better about it now. Everythings all
right, because now I accept you for who you are, you lousy, no-good,
rotten, whiny, transparent, gravy-sucking wad of fly flim. This
Isnt it, though? Deb says, as she sits up straight
with much enthusiasm. Do you remember the time you misspelled
occur at the Valentre presentation? I was promoted
the very next day. You didnt even know how to pronounce
conglomerate. I just love stupid people, especially
My eyes grow misty with reminiscence. You are the most two-faced
person Ive ever met, I say to her with great respect.
You should give lessons. Do you remember the time I told
Candice you said she was fat? We ganged up on you and watched
you cry and lie like the dog you are.
And do you remember, Deb says, the first time
I accused you of sitting on your butt one too many times? It was
your turn to wash the coffeepot, you lazy fleabag. There was mold
growing in the lid. Of course, you probably considered that a
We laugh long and hard, then look at each other somewhat uncomfortably.
There is a hint of vulnerability in the air.
Are you feeling what Im feeling? I ask. I
think Im beginning to like you! Do you want to go get a
cup of coffee?
Deb hesitates, and twirls her hair. Are you kidding?
she laughs. I wouldnt be caught dead with you. What
if I ran into one of my sorority sisters? Id get kicked
Whew! I say. Thats a relief. For a minute
there, I could have sworn you were my best friend.
If Im your best friend, youd better be running for
cover, says Deb. And while youre at it, buy
yourself a new outfit, and get rid of that perm. The 80s
Its Friday afternoon, and we get ready to leave. I turn
out the lights, and Deb locks the door. We walk down the long
corridor together, where she always turns left and I always turn
Goodbye, Deb, I say. And thank you for being
Anytime, she says. Anytime.
Anonymous Mother lives in Middle Tennessee.
In July 2000, the editor of The Daily Herald in Columbia,
Tennessee, replaced a nationally syndicated humor columnist with
The Anonymous Mother's weekly column because he felt the writing
was funnier and reached a broader audience. Anonymity is
a big no-no in publishing, she says, but somehow this
works. The mystique has created a certain appeal that allows for
a freer voice through which others can vicariously live. I write
about the things people feel but are often unable to express,
and this provides much-needed relief for us all.
Anonymous Mother Website
The Anonymous Mother
The Anonymous Mother