Advice October 2013

Problem: My Mother Is Annoying

Our advice columnist to the rescue

Q: I visit my mother, who is aging but vital, quite often, and she’s developed this annoying tic: We’ll be eating breakfast, and she’ll ask me what I want for dinner. At lunch, she’ll start planning the next day’s breakfast. I would sooner focus on one meal at a time. Then again, this tic has replaced the one that had her saying “I’ve bought you so many beautiful clothes, why are you wearing that?”

— R.R.,
Bethesda, Md.


Dear R. R.,

Consider yourself lucky: (1) Your mother still buys you clothes, and (2) she’s an optimist. A person who plans the next day’s meals believes in tomorrow. As opposed to the sort of person who eats dessert first, just in case he dies during the main course.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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