Dear Annie: I love basketball, but my husband has no interest in it. Our two boys, ages 6 and 8, play at school sometimes but have not yet discovered what a great game it is. I grew up with two brothers who played all the time, and I was a tomboy for most of my childhood, falling in love with basketball at an early age. We live in a big city with an NBA team, and my one luxury in life, which is an annual gift from my husband, is my season tickets to our team’s home games.
Season ticket holders are assigned the same seat for every home game. The man sitting next to me this past season is friendly and intelligent, and best of all, he loves basketball. Over the first few weeks of the season, we struck up a friendship. At first, it was just about basketball, chatting at halftime, cheering when we won, that sort of thing. Then we started meeting before and after the games, and he told me he is sick of his wife and their only child is a brat. I can’t wait for next season to start so we can have an airtight excuse for seeing each other. Until then, we have to sneak around. I keep dreaming of running away with him and starting a new family based on our love of basketball. I can picture my two sons playing basketball with him, getting guidance and having fun. In my dreams, that would be heaven. What do you think? – A Basketball Fanatic
Dear Fanatic: Heaven? If you act on your fantasies, you are asking for an early death, and heaven is not where you’ll end up. Your two children and his child are dependent on both of you. Get your thumb out of your mouth and grow up. You are playing with fire, not free throws, and it is time to reinvest in your marriage. Those three young lives depend on it. Your husband buys you season tickets to the game you love, and you repay him by ... cheating on him? He sounds like a good guy who deserves better.
Dear Annie: My uncle has been a passionate stamp collector for the past decade, ever since his retirement. He has said that he loses track of time as he pursues rare stamps, catalogs them and studies intricate details of each one. He has a network of friends who share his hobby. Most are great, but one of them persuaded my uncle to let him stay at his house, and the next thing you know, some of his most treasured stamps were missing. Of course, his guest denied taking them, and my uncle had no proof. But about a year later, some of them showed up for sale on eBay. My uncle contacted the authorities, who alerted the seller that he was offering stolen merchandise, which led back to the man who had stayed at his house. My uncle wanted to prosecute but then said it would be too much of a hassle. He only got back half of the stamps that were stolen, and now he is very guarded about making friends in the hobby.
I always thought that his passion for stamp collecting was keeping him alive, but now I am worried that he has shut down. He really doesn’t trust anybody in his hobby. My uncle and I have always had a unique bond, and I feel so sad for him. What can I do to help him renew his enthusiasm? – Helpless and Seeking Solutions
Dear Helpless: Your uncle no doubt subscribes to the notion that fool him once, it’s your fault, but fool him twice and it’s his. Because you are close to your uncle, I’d suggest asking him about his longtime friends in the hobby. You could reach out to them to ask for their help. They may have had similar experiences. As long as your uncle continues to pursue his hobby – albeit with caution – and his old friends are with him, the odds are good that he will be enjoying his stamps as much as ever. It just takes time.
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