DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I was somebody's New Year's resolution, as it seems I now have to quit smoking, quit drinking, get a job or I'm out in the snow. First of all, I am not a boyfriend or husband. This is my own mother who is "cleaning up her life situation" and threatening to kick me out, knowing I have no money, no relatives to keep me. Who is my dad? We're not sure. That's what I live with. She says she is moving a paying housemate into my room, and the only bed I will have is the couch as of Feb. 1. She says that's all I deserve, because I'm not paying anything to stay here, plus she feeds me. The money for my smokes and drinks come from playing poker, but she doesn't have to know that, because she'd be on my back all day long. My goal is to become so good at poker I can go to Las Vegas and win the big stakes. Then she'll be sorry. By the way, I'm 19 now, but an excellent player. In the meantime, I don't know what to do except go on welfare, which is something I said I'd never do. I only have my Grade 12, but no training at anything. What should I do? -- Headed for Homelessness, Winnipeg
Dear Headed: Homelessness? That's ridiculous. You're 19, intelligent and presumably healthy. You can work at one full-time or two part-time jobs. You might ask your mother to borrow the family shovel and run off a few flyers off on computer so you can start your own snow-clearing service for sidewalks around your neighbourhood. That would earn you enough money to stay with a friend who has a place. You could get a job at a fast-food outlet and get some training right on the job, while you get paid. If you're a good talker, and it seems you are, you could get a job in sales at a store. If you're not up to that, you could get a job at a grocery store, stacking shelves. A job as a waiter anywhere would allow you enough training and experience to become a waiter in a better place after six months. The point is this: If your mother weren't there to support you, then you would find a way to earn a living. Right now, she is enabling you to be a big baby. She has every right to make these demands and to get a paying housemate. Smarten up right now and get a job of any kind. Otherwise, good luck on the couch with your poker earnings.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This is in response to Attracting Bloodsuckers, the guy whose ex is sending him pictures of them when they were young and in love. I went through an almost identical situation many years ago. I was very attracted to a woman who couldn't make up her mind so we went our separate ways. Later, her choice turned out to be a guy who played pool with his buddies, played around on her and took her money. The kids kept coming, five in all. Eventually, she smartened up and gave him the shoe. She started calling me out of the blue, initially lamenting his shortcomings and probing me on my situation. Obviously she had done her homework, knowing details I hadn't provided -- my good job, good benefits and other things. Then I got the proposal I began to suspect -- "We always had something special. I've thought of you so often. Could we pick up where we left off? Start with a date this weekend and move forward?" There was no pleasure in rejecting her; I didn't judge her as your writer did and I didn't view her as a bloodsucker, just a person who made her choices and was looking for a way up for her family. However, it was not my role to ride to the rescue, having been ditched previously. So much for "something special." -- Not Interested Now, Winnipeg
Dear Not Interested: Some women are not averse to letting their fingers do the walking through old phone and email address books looking for a former lover to rescue them. "Good old So-and-So would have treated me better, been nicer to me and the kids, and made more money. I'll call him up next." It's important to field those calls with kindness and quiet negativity. You have to know she's working from a list of exes, not from any real feelings for you.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Wpg, R2X 3B6 or email firstname.lastname@example.org