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  string(2693) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I have been in a long-distance relationship for five months. I've put in a lot of time (and money) traveling to see him. I've tried to hold the relationship down by making the distance not seem so distant.

??
Three months ago he quit his job and hasn't had any luck finding another one. Hence, his lack of money has caused a major strain on this long-distance affair.

??
I've stepped back only to not spoil his "manhood." In the meantime, I have been running into long-lost and former loves – men whose grass is a little greener.

??
What kind of karma is it when you're in a situation that you don't really care for, and more appealing opportunities magically present themselves? I don't want to leave him out to dry, but I'm feeling a little dry, too, if you know what I mean?

??
– – A Loyal Capricorn

??
You're only five months into this thing with a man who's broke and depressed in another state, and yet you wonder why past lovers are popping up just now? They're the universe's way of reminding you of the person you used to be, someone who, from the sound of it, was happier, more secure and quite a bit more rational. We're not saying you should dump Mr. Distant Deadbeat – surely there are reasons you've endured the obstacles. But for the sake of your own relationship karma, now's the time for some hard choices. You either want to be with him or you don't, and once you decide which, you'll see that the grass is actually the same shade all over.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
Do you care to hear another sad story? I recently moved back to the South after a couple of years in Mexico. I thought things would be different this time around. I left my hometown because of the pain certain family members inflicted on me. Those people are no longer in my life but I still hold onto the bad memories, which keep from me being happy now that I'm home.

??
I have tried to make peace with karma and start over. I just can't move on. Every day I wake up and wish I were back in Mexico. To tell the truth, when I was there, I woke up every day and wished to be back in my hometown. Is there a way to break this cycle?

??
– – Southern Belle in Hell

??
Sad stories pay our cable bill, so we always want to hear another one. Your own sad story has become the central motif of your life, which is why your cycle is never going to stop until you cozy up with the misery. It's true. Burying the past never works. Dig up those bones and set an extra place at the table. No matter where you go, you'll always take your story with you, so why not be friends with it? After you do, your karma concerns will evaporate.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2754) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I have been in a long-distance relationship for five months. I've put in a lot of time (and money) traveling to see him. I've tried to hold the relationship down by making the distance not seem so distant.

??
Three months ago he quit his job and hasn't had any luck finding another one. Hence, his lack of money has caused a major strain on this long-distance affair.

??
I've stepped back only to not spoil his "manhood." In the meantime, I have been running into long-lost and former loves – men whose grass is a little greener.

??
What kind of karma is it when you're in a situation that you don't really care for, and more appealing opportunities magically present themselves? I don't want to leave him out to dry, but I'm feeling a little dry, too, if you know what I mean?

??
– ''– A Loyal Capricorn''

??
''You're only five months into this thing with a man who's broke and depressed in another state, and yet you wonder why past lovers are popping up just now? They're the universe's way of reminding you of the person you used to be, someone who, from the sound of it, was happier, more secure and quite a bit more rational. We're not saying you should dump Mr. Distant Deadbeat – surely there are reasons you've endured the obstacles. But for the sake of your own relationship karma, now's the time for some hard choices. You either want to be with him or you don't, and once you decide which, you'll see that the grass is actually the same shade all over.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
Do you care to hear another sad story? I recently moved back to the South after a couple of years in Mexico. I thought things would be different this time around. I left my hometown because of the pain certain family members inflicted on me. Those people are no longer in my life but I still hold onto the bad memories, which keep from me being happy now that I'm home.

??
I have tried to make peace with karma and start over. I just can't move on. Every day I wake up and wish I were back in Mexico. To tell the truth, when I was there, I woke up every day and wished to be back in my hometown. Is there a way to break this cycle?

??
– ''– Southern Belle in Hell''

??
''Sad stories pay our cable bill, so we always want to hear another one. Your own sad story has become the central motif of your life, which is why your cycle is never going to stop until you cozy up with the misery. It's true. Burying the past never works. Dig up those bones and set an extra place at the table. No matter where you go, you'll always take your story with you, so why not be friends with it? After you do, your karma concerns will evaporate.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2928) "    Long-distance love affairs and Southern belles in hell   2007-06-20T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - June 20 2007      2007-06-20T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I have been in a long-distance relationship for five months. I've put in a lot of time (and money) traveling to see him. I've tried to hold the relationship down by making the distance not seem so distant.

??
Three months ago he quit his job and hasn't had any luck finding another one. Hence, his lack of money has caused a major strain on this long-distance affair.

??
I've stepped back only to not spoil his "manhood." In the meantime, I have been running into long-lost and former loves – men whose grass is a little greener.

??
What kind of karma is it when you're in a situation that you don't really care for, and more appealing opportunities magically present themselves? I don't want to leave him out to dry, but I'm feeling a little dry, too, if you know what I mean?

??
– – A Loyal Capricorn

??
You're only five months into this thing with a man who's broke and depressed in another state, and yet you wonder why past lovers are popping up just now? They're the universe's way of reminding you of the person you used to be, someone who, from the sound of it, was happier, more secure and quite a bit more rational. We're not saying you should dump Mr. Distant Deadbeat – surely there are reasons you've endured the obstacles. But for the sake of your own relationship karma, now's the time for some hard choices. You either want to be with him or you don't, and once you decide which, you'll see that the grass is actually the same shade all over.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
Do you care to hear another sad story? I recently moved back to the South after a couple of years in Mexico. I thought things would be different this time around. I left my hometown because of the pain certain family members inflicted on me. Those people are no longer in my life but I still hold onto the bad memories, which keep from me being happy now that I'm home.

??
I have tried to make peace with karma and start over. I just can't move on. Every day I wake up and wish I were back in Mexico. To tell the truth, when I was there, I woke up every day and wished to be back in my hometown. Is there a way to break this cycle?

??
– – Southern Belle in Hell

??
Sad stories pay our cable bill, so we always want to hear another one. Your own sad story has become the central motif of your life, which is why your cycle is never going to stop until you cozy up with the misery. It's true. Burying the past never works. Dig up those bones and set an extra place at the table. No matter where you go, you'll always take your story with you, so why not be friends with it? After you do, your karma concerns will evaporate.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024806 1267976                          Karma Cleanser - June 20 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday June 20, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Long-distance love affairs and Southern belles in hell | more...
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  string(2647) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I am a 21-year-old female who only began driving at 18. Since getting my license three years ago, I have gone through three cars. Now, I'm driving my fourth – or maybe fifth? Anyway, I seem to be accident-prone.

??
Today as I was sitting in bed reading my book, I heard a loud bang followed by a hissing noise. "Oh no!" I thought, "someone hit my car again!" I jumped up and peered out the window just as a girl about my age jumped out of her Scion.

??
Apparently she accidentally put her car in drive rather than reverse and slammed into the brick wall surrounding the community pool (which is the view out of my bedroom window). Her passenger side air bag went off, and her car was smoking. She left her car up on the curb and stood outside of it staring stupidly.

??
My first thought was, "I'm so glad it wasn't me," followed by, "but that is such my luck." And I started laughing. Uncontrollably. Ridiculously. Hysterically, almost. That poor thing.

??
I feel so bad for laughing. I'm so guilty that now I'm sure that I am either going to hell or going to slam my car into some stone wall, then proceed to jump out of it, leaving my tires resting on the curb to stare at my crumpled, smoking hood.

??
Should I feel bad for laughing? Am I thinking about this too seriously? Should I have done something to help? Am I going to hell?

??
– – Guilty Watcher

??
We'll say, with apologies to Oscar Wilde, for you to lose one car so early in your driving career may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose five just looks like carelessness. We can't fault you much for the hysterical outburst at your neighbor's expense. You've been through the ringer yourself and have earned giggling rights. Make amends by offering your neighbor a ride while her car's being fixed. Then again, given your driving record, maybe you shouldn't.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
This might be an unusual question, but are you male or female? Are you single or in a relationship? Would you consider going on a date with me?

??
– – An Admiring Fan

??
Tsk, tsk. It must be that time of the year again, when school's out, the heat's borderline-unbearable, and you randy readers have nothing better to do than hit on even the faceless Karma Cleanser. Yours is the third such fan letter we've received this month. We suggest you lonely students pass the summer break in quiet and somber meditation, or else the way we always did, holed up in our air-conditioned bedroom with a tub of Chunky Monkey and an endless stream of Cameron Diaz comedies on cable. Thanks, though, for the misplaced adoration.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2712) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I am a 21-year-old female who only began driving at 18. Since getting my license three years ago, I have gone through three cars. Now, I'm driving my fourth – or maybe fifth? Anyway, I seem to be accident-prone.

??
Today as I was sitting in bed reading my book, I heard a loud bang followed by a hissing noise. "Oh no!" I thought, "someone hit my car again!" I jumped up and peered out the window just as a girl about my age jumped out of her Scion.

??
Apparently she accidentally put her car in drive rather than reverse and slammed into the brick wall surrounding the community pool (which is the view out of my bedroom window). Her passenger side air bag went off, and her car was smoking. She left her car up on the curb and stood outside of it staring stupidly.

??
My first thought was, "I'm so glad it wasn't me," followed by, "but that is such my luck." And I started laughing. Uncontrollably. Ridiculously. Hysterically, almost. That poor thing.

??
I feel so bad for laughing. I'm so guilty that now I'm sure that I am either going to hell or going to slam my car into some stone wall, then proceed to jump out of it, leaving my tires resting on the curb to stare at my crumpled, smoking hood.

??
Should I feel bad for laughing? Am I thinking about this too seriously? Should I have done something to help? Am I going to hell?

??
– ''– Guilty Watcher''

??
''We'll say, with apologies to Oscar Wilde, for you to lose one car so early in your driving career may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose five just looks like carelessness. We can't fault you much for the hysterical outburst at your neighbor's expense. You've been through the ringer yourself and have earned giggling rights. Make amends by offering your neighbor a ride while her car's being fixed. Then again, given your driving record, maybe you shouldn't.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
This might be an unusual question, but are you male or female? Are you single or in a relationship? Would you consider going on a date with me?

??
– ''– An Admiring Fan''

??
''Tsk, tsk. It must be that time of the year again, when school's out, the heat's borderline-unbearable, and you randy readers have nothing better to do than hit on even the faceless'' Karma Cleanser''. Yours is the third such fan letter we've received this month. We suggest you lonely students pass the summer break in quiet and somber meditation, or else the way we always did, holed up in our air-conditioned bedroom with a tub of Chunky Monkey and an endless stream of Cameron Diaz comedies on cable. Thanks, though, for the misplaced adoration.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2861) "    Randy readers and guilty watchers   2007-06-13T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - June 13 2007      2007-06-13T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I am a 21-year-old female who only began driving at 18. Since getting my license three years ago, I have gone through three cars. Now, I'm driving my fourth – or maybe fifth? Anyway, I seem to be accident-prone.

??
Today as I was sitting in bed reading my book, I heard a loud bang followed by a hissing noise. "Oh no!" I thought, "someone hit my car again!" I jumped up and peered out the window just as a girl about my age jumped out of her Scion.

??
Apparently she accidentally put her car in drive rather than reverse and slammed into the brick wall surrounding the community pool (which is the view out of my bedroom window). Her passenger side air bag went off, and her car was smoking. She left her car up on the curb and stood outside of it staring stupidly.

??
My first thought was, "I'm so glad it wasn't me," followed by, "but that is such my luck." And I started laughing. Uncontrollably. Ridiculously. Hysterically, almost. That poor thing.

??
I feel so bad for laughing. I'm so guilty that now I'm sure that I am either going to hell or going to slam my car into some stone wall, then proceed to jump out of it, leaving my tires resting on the curb to stare at my crumpled, smoking hood.

??
Should I feel bad for laughing? Am I thinking about this too seriously? Should I have done something to help? Am I going to hell?

??
– – Guilty Watcher

??
We'll say, with apologies to Oscar Wilde, for you to lose one car so early in your driving career may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose five just looks like carelessness. We can't fault you much for the hysterical outburst at your neighbor's expense. You've been through the ringer yourself and have earned giggling rights. Make amends by offering your neighbor a ride while her car's being fixed. Then again, given your driving record, maybe you shouldn't.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
This might be an unusual question, but are you male or female? Are you single or in a relationship? Would you consider going on a date with me?

??
– – An Admiring Fan

??
Tsk, tsk. It must be that time of the year again, when school's out, the heat's borderline-unbearable, and you randy readers have nothing better to do than hit on even the faceless Karma Cleanser. Yours is the third such fan letter we've received this month. We suggest you lonely students pass the summer break in quiet and somber meditation, or else the way we always did, holed up in our air-conditioned bedroom with a tub of Chunky Monkey and an endless stream of Cameron Diaz comedies on cable. Thanks, though, for the misplaced adoration.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024755 1267857                          Karma Cleanser - June 13 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday June 13, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Randy readers and guilty watchers | more...
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  string(2732) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
You recently published a letter from a college student ("Sneak Attacked," May 15) whose girlfriend was deceiving him about her contraceptive practices. Your response was offensively casual. What this woman was doing was worse than fraud, worse than the quarter of a million dollars in child-raising expenses her boyfriend stood to lose from her reckless and exploitative behavior. Where's the concern for choice when a man's reproductive rights are concerned?

??
Not only should "Sneak Attacked" dump this crook like a dead rat, every man at that college should be warned of her sex-related abusive behavior and the risk she poses to their futures, and she should be legally culpable for attempted fraud. The courts are becoming more and more receptive to assault charges against people who deceive their partners about STDs, and contraceptive fraud is a crime of the same sort.The manifest truth is that she's an abusive and exploitative liar, and she ought to be on a watch list, not in anyone's bed.

??
– – Looking Out For Real Karma

??
Wearing spandex to work on Friday might be "offensively casual," but our response was, at best, a tad flip – which if you've ever read the column, is our default setting around here. (For alarmist posturing, read Ann Landers.) Perhaps we should have come down harder on the pill-skipping student, but as we said, the woman's karmic consequences are already playing out. Mea culpa if our spandex retort got your panties in a wad, and thanks for reading, For Real.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
After I turned 40, I've found myself getting more and more prescriptions every time I go to the doctor. Some of these I certainly do need; others are more of a "lifestyle" category.

??
I always go to the same pharmacy. I know the people who work there because I've been giving them my business for 10 years. My problem is with the pharmacist, with whom I used to have a pleasant rapport. Now I feel like he is judging me for my new prescriptions.

??
His actions caused me to phone the store and complain that I felt like he was getting too personal when he filled my prescriptions. I like this pharmacy and I don't want to switch. But I'm now afraid that he might slip something poisonous into one of my drugs.

??
– – No More Refills

??
Not to be offensively casual, but do you think the new drugs are making you paranoid? Seriously, we've seen those terrifying commercials for some of the brand-name pharmaceuticals, and sometimes the side effects are brutal. But shopping, like life, is always changing; a visit to the druggist shouldn't be cause for panic. Maybe it's time to take your 40-year-old dollars elsewhere.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2793) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
You recently published a letter from a college student ("Sneak Attacked," May 15) whose girlfriend was deceiving him about her contraceptive practices. Your response was offensively casual. What this woman was doing was worse than fraud, worse than the quarter of a million dollars in child-raising expenses her boyfriend stood to lose from her reckless and exploitative behavior. Where's the concern for choice when a man's reproductive rights are concerned?

??
Not only should "Sneak Attacked" dump this crook like a dead rat, every man at that college should be warned of her sex-related abusive behavior and the risk she poses to their futures, and she should be legally culpable for attempted fraud. The courts are becoming more and more receptive to assault charges against people who deceive their partners about STDs, and contraceptive fraud is a crime of the same sort.The manifest truth is that she's an abusive and exploitative liar, and she ought to be on a watch list, not in anyone's bed.

??
– ''– Looking Out For Real Karma''

??
''Wearing spandex to work on Friday might be "offensively casual," but our response was, at best, a tad flip – which if you've ever read the column, is our default setting around here. (For alarmist posturing, read Ann Landers.) Perhaps we should have come down harder on the pill-skipping student, but as we said, the woman's karmic consequences are already playing out. Mea culpa if our spandex retort got your panties in a wad, and thanks for reading, For Real.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
After I turned 40, I've found myself getting more and more prescriptions every time I go to the doctor. Some of these I certainly do need; others are more of a "lifestyle" category.

??
I always go to the same pharmacy. I know the people who work there because I've been giving them my business for 10 years. My problem is with the pharmacist, with whom I used to have a pleasant rapport. Now I feel like he is judging me for my new prescriptions.

??
His actions caused me to phone the store and complain that I felt like he was getting too personal when he filled my prescriptions. I like this pharmacy and I don't want to switch. But I'm now afraid that he might slip something poisonous into one of my drugs.

??
– ''– No More Refills''

??
''Not to be offensively casual, but do you think the new drugs are making you paranoid? Seriously, we've seen those terrifying commercials for some of the brand-name pharmaceuticals, and sometimes the side effects are brutal. But shopping, like life, is always changing; a visit to the druggist shouldn't be cause for panic. Maybe it's time to take your 40-year-old dollars elsewhere.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2969) "    Birth-control criminals and weird pharmaceutical effects   2007-06-06T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - June 06 2007      2007-06-06T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
You recently published a letter from a college student ("Sneak Attacked," May 15) whose girlfriend was deceiving him about her contraceptive practices. Your response was offensively casual. What this woman was doing was worse than fraud, worse than the quarter of a million dollars in child-raising expenses her boyfriend stood to lose from her reckless and exploitative behavior. Where's the concern for choice when a man's reproductive rights are concerned?

??
Not only should "Sneak Attacked" dump this crook like a dead rat, every man at that college should be warned of her sex-related abusive behavior and the risk she poses to their futures, and she should be legally culpable for attempted fraud. The courts are becoming more and more receptive to assault charges against people who deceive their partners about STDs, and contraceptive fraud is a crime of the same sort.The manifest truth is that she's an abusive and exploitative liar, and she ought to be on a watch list, not in anyone's bed.

??
– – Looking Out For Real Karma

??
Wearing spandex to work on Friday might be "offensively casual," but our response was, at best, a tad flip – which if you've ever read the column, is our default setting around here. (For alarmist posturing, read Ann Landers.) Perhaps we should have come down harder on the pill-skipping student, but as we said, the woman's karmic consequences are already playing out. Mea culpa if our spandex retort got your panties in a wad, and thanks for reading, For Real.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
After I turned 40, I've found myself getting more and more prescriptions every time I go to the doctor. Some of these I certainly do need; others are more of a "lifestyle" category.

??
I always go to the same pharmacy. I know the people who work there because I've been giving them my business for 10 years. My problem is with the pharmacist, with whom I used to have a pleasant rapport. Now I feel like he is judging me for my new prescriptions.

??
His actions caused me to phone the store and complain that I felt like he was getting too personal when he filled my prescriptions. I like this pharmacy and I don't want to switch. But I'm now afraid that he might slip something poisonous into one of my drugs.

??
– – No More Refills

??
Not to be offensively casual, but do you think the new drugs are making you paranoid? Seriously, we've seen those terrifying commercials for some of the brand-name pharmaceuticals, and sometimes the side effects are brutal. But shopping, like life, is always changing; a visit to the druggist shouldn't be cause for panic. Maybe it's time to take your 40-year-old dollars elsewhere.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024692 1267727                          Karma Cleanser - June 06 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday June 6, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Birth-control criminals and weird pharmaceutical effects | more...

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  string(2712) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I am 33 years old and a stay-home mom. I have a son from my first marriage who is now almost 14. I also just had twins last year with my new husband.

??
My son lived with his father for a couple of years until I got remarried and moved into a neighborhood with a better school system. At that time he came to live with me. I was disappointed to find that my previously happy child was becoming sullen, withdrawn and no longer motivated to do well in school. My ex-husband says my son was not like this before he moved in with me.

??
I have tried to talk to him but he refuses to let me. I feel like he's mad at me for getting remarried and starting a new family. I have brought this up with him and he says this is not the case. Still, he comes home from school and closes the door to his bedroom. I have my hands full with the twins so I can't drop everything to try and coddle him. I don't know what he wants or what I did to deserve this.

??
I was talking about my son's behavior with my mother's friend, a woman who claims to be psychic. She informed me that my son is "haunted by the ghosts of unfinished business" between my ex-husband and me.

??
This just doesn't sound very true. I get along with the boy's father just fine. Our divorce was an amicable split. However, I am starting to wonder if something from my past is causing this situation. Is my son's withdrawal a sign that there really is "unfinished business" somewhere that needs my attention?

??
– – Second Opinion

??
Your letter brings to mind Byron Katie and her gospel of "the turnaround." The author of Loving What Is advises her students to take a stressful thought and flip it around to find its opposite. (To you die-hard Katie-heads out there, we realize that the turnaround should be paired with serious self-examination first, but bear with us.) If what you're feeling is summed up as, "My son should talk to me more," then consider its antithesis: "My son shouldn't talk to me more." Or, even better, "I should talk to me more." Meditate on the paradoxical truths found in such opposites and you'll discover that even if your son's alienation stems from screwups on your part, the answer always lies right here in the present. (For more on Byron Katie, check out TheWork.com.)

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
(In response to "Brokedown Roller," the guy whose car got hit after he lied to his friend) Dude, did it never occur to you that maybe your buddy "Teeth" is the one who sideswiped your ride? Obviously he got sick of you not wanting to hang out with him, so he took it out on your vehicle!

??
– – The Truth is Out There

??
Um, yeah. Play on, playa.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2807) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I am 33 years old and a stay-home mom. I have a son from my first marriage who is now almost 14. I also just had twins last year with my new husband.

??
My son lived with his father for a couple of years until I got remarried and moved into a neighborhood with a better school system. At that time he came to live with me. I was disappointed to find that my previously happy child was becoming sullen, withdrawn and no longer motivated to do well in school. My ex-husband says my son was not like this before he moved in with me.

??
I have tried to talk to him but he refuses to let me. I feel like he's mad at me for getting remarried and starting a new family. I have brought this up with him and he says this is not the case. Still, he comes home from school and closes the door to his bedroom. I have my hands full with the twins so I can't drop everything to try and coddle him. I don't know what he wants or what I did to deserve this.

??
I was talking about my son's behavior with my mother's friend, a woman who claims to be psychic. She informed me that my son is "haunted by the ghosts of unfinished business" between my ex-husband and me.

??
This just doesn't sound very true. I get along with the boy's father just fine. Our divorce was an amicable split. However, I am starting to wonder if something from my past is causing this situation. Is my son's withdrawal a sign that there really is "unfinished business" somewhere that needs my attention?

??
– ''– Second Opinion''

??
''Your letter brings to mind Byron Katie and her gospel of "the turnaround." The author of'' Loving What Is ''advises her students to take a stressful thought and flip it around to find its opposite. (To you die-hard Katie-heads out there, we realize that the turnaround should be paired with serious self-examination first, but bear with us.) If what you're feeling is summed up as, "My son should talk to me more," then consider its antithesis: "My son'' shouldn't ''talk to me more." Or, even better, "''I ''should talk to me more." Meditate on the paradoxical truths found in such opposites and you'll discover that even if your son's alienation stems from screwups on your part, the answer always lies right here in the present. (For more on Byron Katie, check out [http://thework.com/|TheWork.com].)''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
(In response to "Brokedown Roller," the guy whose car got hit after he lied to his friend) Dude, did it never occur to you that maybe your buddy "Teeth" is the one who sideswiped your ride? Obviously he got sick of you not wanting to hang out with him, so he took it out on your vehicle!

??
– ''– The Truth is Out There''

??
''Um, yeah. Play on, playa.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2938) "    Does my son's alienation stem from my screwups?   2007-05-30T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - May 30 2007      2007-05-30T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I am 33 years old and a stay-home mom. I have a son from my first marriage who is now almost 14. I also just had twins last year with my new husband.

??
My son lived with his father for a couple of years until I got remarried and moved into a neighborhood with a better school system. At that time he came to live with me. I was disappointed to find that my previously happy child was becoming sullen, withdrawn and no longer motivated to do well in school. My ex-husband says my son was not like this before he moved in with me.

??
I have tried to talk to him but he refuses to let me. I feel like he's mad at me for getting remarried and starting a new family. I have brought this up with him and he says this is not the case. Still, he comes home from school and closes the door to his bedroom. I have my hands full with the twins so I can't drop everything to try and coddle him. I don't know what he wants or what I did to deserve this.

??
I was talking about my son's behavior with my mother's friend, a woman who claims to be psychic. She informed me that my son is "haunted by the ghosts of unfinished business" between my ex-husband and me.

??
This just doesn't sound very true. I get along with the boy's father just fine. Our divorce was an amicable split. However, I am starting to wonder if something from my past is causing this situation. Is my son's withdrawal a sign that there really is "unfinished business" somewhere that needs my attention?

??
– – Second Opinion

??
Your letter brings to mind Byron Katie and her gospel of "the turnaround." The author of Loving What Is advises her students to take a stressful thought and flip it around to find its opposite. (To you die-hard Katie-heads out there, we realize that the turnaround should be paired with serious self-examination first, but bear with us.) If what you're feeling is summed up as, "My son should talk to me more," then consider its antithesis: "My son shouldn't talk to me more." Or, even better, "I should talk to me more." Meditate on the paradoxical truths found in such opposites and you'll discover that even if your son's alienation stems from screwups on your part, the answer always lies right here in the present. (For more on Byron Katie, check out TheWork.com.)

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
(In response to "Brokedown Roller," the guy whose car got hit after he lied to his friend) Dude, did it never occur to you that maybe your buddy "Teeth" is the one who sideswiped your ride? Obviously he got sick of you not wanting to hang out with him, so he took it out on your vehicle!

??
– – The Truth is Out There

??
Um, yeah. Play on, playa.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024663 1267662                          Karma Cleanser - May 30 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday May 30, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Does my son's alienation stem from my screwups? | more...
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  string(2701) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My roommate, who I have lived with for a year, threw a big birthday party for me. I didn't ask her to do it. She invited like 50 of our friends, bought a keg and put the whole thing together, more or less.

??
After it was over, she ended up in the hospital. She collapsed the Monday after the party and we had to call the paramedics. The doctor diagnosed her with exhaustion and dehydration. She was given an IV and then sent home the next day.

??
Now she wants me to feel bad for her. Is it terrible that I don't? I didn't ask for the party. I also felt strangely relieved when she was out of the house for two days. Rather than feeling sorry, I've realized that my roommate is needy. I feel like I'm a terrible, ungrateful person for saying this. But it's the way I feel.

??
– – Worst Birthday Yet

??
Who is your roommate, Lindsay Lohan? Don't wallow in guilt over your feelings here, because sometimes it takes a meltdown to make us face up to the bitter little truths that are lurking inside. It sounds like your roommate is starved for attention and approval (again, à la Lindsay), and kudos to you for greeting her pity party with skepticism. At the same time, there's no need to go cold. Don't be a Mean Girl, but maybe it's time to tell this Drama Queen to Get a Clue. Also, um, Freaky Friday.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I have been in a long-distance relationship with a man from Britain. We met while I was in his country for a study-abroad program. I fell for the accent, his sophistication and the way he treated me with such respect. Nice change from the men in the backwoods college town where I live. He wants me to consider moving overseas when I finish my degree at the end of this year. I am weighing my options.

??
So what's the problem? I am upset by the way he talks about America. He is very down on the war in Iraq and our administration. I share many of his views, and yet I also get offended when he launches into a tirade against our country. It's hard not to take personally.

??
Should I stand up for myself and risk losing the relationship? What if he is "the one"?

??
– – Yankee Diddle

??
Call it a coincidence, but we read your note mere minutes into previewing the new Rufus Wainwright album, with its refrain, "I'm so tired of you, America." Seems the whole planet is sick of the States these days, so let's not hold that against your British beau. Rather, ask yourself why his views irk you so. You didn't start the war in Iraq, did you? If he is "the one" (a construct we don't really buy into, by the way), it should take more than a little verbal rabble-rousing to rattle your cage.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2774) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
My roommate, who I have lived with for a year, threw a big birthday party for me. I didn't ask her to do it. She invited like 50 of our friends, bought a keg and put the whole thing together, more or less.

??
After it was over, she ended up in the hospital. She collapsed the Monday after the party and we had to call the paramedics. The doctor diagnosed her with exhaustion and dehydration. She was given an IV and then sent home the next day.

??
Now she wants me to feel bad for her. Is it terrible that I don't? I didn't ask for the party. I also felt strangely relieved when she was out of the house for two days. Rather than feeling sorry, I've realized that my roommate is needy. I feel like I'm a terrible, ungrateful person for saying this. But it's the way I feel.

??
– ''– Worst Birthday Yet''

??
''Who is your roommate, Lindsay Lohan? Don't wallow in guilt over your feelings here, because sometimes it takes a meltdown to make us face up to the bitter little truths that are lurking inside. It sounds like your roommate is starved for attention and approval (again, à la Lindsay), and kudos to you for greeting her pity party with skepticism. At the same time, there's no need to go cold. Don't be a'' Mean Girl, ''but maybe it's time to tell this'' Drama Queen ''to'' Get a Clue. ''Also, um,'' Freaky Friday.

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I have been in a long-distance relationship with a man from Britain. We met while I was in his country for a study-abroad program. I fell for the accent, his sophistication and the way he treated me with such respect. Nice change from the men in the backwoods college town where I live. He wants me to consider moving overseas when I finish my degree at the end of this year. I am weighing my options.

??
So what's the problem? I am upset by the way he talks about America. He is very down on the war in Iraq and our administration. I share many of his views, and yet I also get offended when he launches into a tirade against our country. It's hard not to take personally.

??
Should I stand up for myself and risk losing the relationship? What if he is "the one"?

??
– ''– Yankee Diddle''

??
''Call it a coincidence, but we read your note mere minutes into previewing the new Rufus Wainwright album, with its refrain, "I'm so tired of you, America." Seems the whole planet is sick of the States these days, so let's not hold that against your British beau. Rather, ask yourself why his views irk you so. You didn't start the war in Iraq, did you? If he is "the one" (a construct we don't really buy into, by the way), it should take more than a little verbal rabble-rousing to rattle your cage.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2910) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-05-23T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - May 23 2007      2007-05-23T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My roommate, who I have lived with for a year, threw a big birthday party for me. I didn't ask her to do it. She invited like 50 of our friends, bought a keg and put the whole thing together, more or less.

??
After it was over, she ended up in the hospital. She collapsed the Monday after the party and we had to call the paramedics. The doctor diagnosed her with exhaustion and dehydration. She was given an IV and then sent home the next day.

??
Now she wants me to feel bad for her. Is it terrible that I don't? I didn't ask for the party. I also felt strangely relieved when she was out of the house for two days. Rather than feeling sorry, I've realized that my roommate is needy. I feel like I'm a terrible, ungrateful person for saying this. But it's the way I feel.

??
– – Worst Birthday Yet

??
Who is your roommate, Lindsay Lohan? Don't wallow in guilt over your feelings here, because sometimes it takes a meltdown to make us face up to the bitter little truths that are lurking inside. It sounds like your roommate is starved for attention and approval (again, à la Lindsay), and kudos to you for greeting her pity party with skepticism. At the same time, there's no need to go cold. Don't be a Mean Girl, but maybe it's time to tell this Drama Queen to Get a Clue. Also, um, Freaky Friday.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I have been in a long-distance relationship with a man from Britain. We met while I was in his country for a study-abroad program. I fell for the accent, his sophistication and the way he treated me with such respect. Nice change from the men in the backwoods college town where I live. He wants me to consider moving overseas when I finish my degree at the end of this year. I am weighing my options.

??
So what's the problem? I am upset by the way he talks about America. He is very down on the war in Iraq and our administration. I share many of his views, and yet I also get offended when he launches into a tirade against our country. It's hard not to take personally.

??
Should I stand up for myself and risk losing the relationship? What if he is "the one"?

??
– – Yankee Diddle

??
Call it a coincidence, but we read your note mere minutes into previewing the new Rufus Wainwright album, with its refrain, "I'm so tired of you, America." Seems the whole planet is sick of the States these days, so let's not hold that against your British beau. Rather, ask yourself why his views irk you so. You didn't start the war in Iraq, did you? If he is "the one" (a construct we don't really buy into, by the way), it should take more than a little verbal rabble-rousing to rattle your cage.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024570 1267477                          Karma Cleanser - May 23 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday May 23, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2572) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I discovered, by accident, that my girlfriend has stopped taking birth-control pills. She didn't tell me beforehand, nor did she warn me that we should be using a different kind of contraception. This makes me suspect that she was intentionally trying to get pregnant.

??
We are both still in college. We have dated for more than a year, and I still have at least two years to go before finishing my degree. After that, I want to go to grad school out in California. She's not sure of her plans.

??
I feel like I've been ambushed. When I ask her why she stopped the pill, she just changes the subject or gets hostile. I think this might make us break up. At the same time, I don't want to lose her because I can see us getting married someday. I'm just not ready for that yet, and she knows it.

??
I think this is a serious offense on her part. Am I wrong?

??
 – Sneak Attacked

??
A woman can have myriad reasons for quitting the pill, but you're rightly alarmed that she didn't warn you ahead of time. The karmic consequences are already unfolding: You've lost trust in the relationship, and once that frantic bird has been released from its cage, it's damn difficult to recapture. We're not saying this is the end. You're only a year into the relationship, and these are the days when you attempt to understand what makes the gears turn in the machine of your partner's mind. The truth is you will probably never know, but if she's acting this shady so early on, we can bet it's only going to get worse.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
Every time I go to a certain fried-chicken restaurant here in town, they screw up my order. Two visits ago, they forgot to give me my sides. The time after that, they gave me wings when I asked for thighs. Last night, I thought they'd finally gotten everything right. When I got home, I had chicken strips instead of breasts.

??
I keep going back to this restaurant because I like their chicken. I am starting to feel like they are screwing up my order on purpose. At the same time, the guy behind the counter is very nice to me.

??
How can I improve my karma so that I can finally enjoy my correct order in peace?

??
– Loser at Winner's

??
Breaking news: You live in the South. Fried-chicken joints grow like weeds around here. Surely there's another restaurant in town than can deliver you delicious artery-clogging goodness without all the service issues. Improve your karma by broadening your horizons. Don't be chicken to try new things. Get it? Chicken!

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2664) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I discovered, by accident, that my girlfriend has stopped taking birth-control pills. She didn't tell me beforehand, nor did she warn me that we should be using a different kind of contraception. This makes me suspect that she was intentionally trying to get pregnant.

??
We are both still in college. We have dated for more than a year, and I still have at least two years to go before finishing my degree. After that, I want to go to grad school out in California. She's not sure of her plans.

??
I feel like I've been ambushed. When I ask her why she stopped the pill, she just changes the subject or gets hostile. I think this might make us break up. At the same time, I don't want to lose her because I can see us getting married someday. I'm just not ready for that yet, and she knows it.

??
I think this is a serious offense on her part. Am I wrong?

??
 ''– Sneak Attacked''

??
''A woman can have myriad reasons for quitting the pill, but you're rightly alarmed that she didn't warn you ahead of time. The karmic consequences are already unfolding: You've lost trust in the relationship, and once that frantic bird has been released from its cage, it's damn difficult to recapture. We're not saying this is the end. You're only a year into the relationship, and these are the days when you attempt to understand what makes the gears turn in the machine of your partner's mind. The truth is you will probably never know, but if she's acting this shady so early on, we can bet it's only going to get worse.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
Every time I go to a certain fried-chicken restaurant here in town, they screw up my order. Two visits ago, they forgot to give me my sides. The time after that, they gave me wings when I asked for thighs. Last night, I thought they'd finally gotten everything right. When I got home, I had chicken strips instead of breasts.

??
I keep going back to this restaurant because I like their chicken. I am starting to feel like they are screwing up my order on purpose. At the same time, the guy behind the counter is very nice to me.

??
How can I improve my karma so that I can finally enjoy my correct order in peace?

??
''– Loser at Winner's''

??
''Breaking news: You live in the South. Fried-chicken joints grow like weeds around here. Surely there's another restaurant in town than can deliver you delicious artery-clogging goodness without all the service issues. Improve your karma by broadening your horizons. Don't be chicken to try new things. Get it? Chicken!''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com?subject=Karma Cleanser Atlanta|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2800) "    Birth-control uh-oh; getting screwed by a chicken   2007-05-16T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - May 16 2007      2007-05-16T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I discovered, by accident, that my girlfriend has stopped taking birth-control pills. She didn't tell me beforehand, nor did she warn me that we should be using a different kind of contraception. This makes me suspect that she was intentionally trying to get pregnant.

??
We are both still in college. We have dated for more than a year, and I still have at least two years to go before finishing my degree. After that, I want to go to grad school out in California. She's not sure of her plans.

??
I feel like I've been ambushed. When I ask her why she stopped the pill, she just changes the subject or gets hostile. I think this might make us break up. At the same time, I don't want to lose her because I can see us getting married someday. I'm just not ready for that yet, and she knows it.

??
I think this is a serious offense on her part. Am I wrong?

??
 – Sneak Attacked

??
A woman can have myriad reasons for quitting the pill, but you're rightly alarmed that she didn't warn you ahead of time. The karmic consequences are already unfolding: You've lost trust in the relationship, and once that frantic bird has been released from its cage, it's damn difficult to recapture. We're not saying this is the end. You're only a year into the relationship, and these are the days when you attempt to understand what makes the gears turn in the machine of your partner's mind. The truth is you will probably never know, but if she's acting this shady so early on, we can bet it's only going to get worse.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
Every time I go to a certain fried-chicken restaurant here in town, they screw up my order. Two visits ago, they forgot to give me my sides. The time after that, they gave me wings when I asked for thighs. Last night, I thought they'd finally gotten everything right. When I got home, I had chicken strips instead of breasts.

??
I keep going back to this restaurant because I like their chicken. I am starting to feel like they are screwing up my order on purpose. At the same time, the guy behind the counter is very nice to me.

??
How can I improve my karma so that I can finally enjoy my correct order in peace?

??
– Loser at Winner's

??
Breaking news: You live in the South. Fried-chicken joints grow like weeds around here. Surely there's another restaurant in town than can deliver you delicious artery-clogging goodness without all the service issues. Improve your karma by broadening your horizons. Don't be chicken to try new things. Get it? Chicken!

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024515 1267359                          Karma Cleanser - May 16 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday May 16, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Birth-control uh-oh; getting screwed by a chicken | more...
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  string(2651) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My bad thoughts are causing me to have bad karma. It all has to do with my good friend Mikey. We call him "Teeth" behind his back, because he has this really big smile that looks like it's fake, even though it's not.

??
I have been friends with Teeth for 10 years. He is the kind of friend I see once or twice a month. Lately, he's been wanting to hang more. Calls me a lot last minute to see if I have plans or if I want to go drink with him. I like the guy a lot, but it's just too much.

??
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??
The next day, he called and asked for me to go hang that night. I said I was busy. But that night, my car got sideswiped in a parking lot. The damage is going to cost me about $2,000 to fix and it will be in the shop for a month. I think my bad karma caused the car accident. How do I stop this from happening again?

??
– – Brokedown Roller

??
Let's start with a basic distinction: It's not your bad thoughts but your questionable actions. Actions are things that actually happened, like telling lies to your "good friend" and giving him the Heisman every time he wants to hang. Sounds like this is a friendship only when it's convenient to you, which is a shameful way to treat anyone. A thoughtful friend returns phone calls, makes time for his buddies and even sometimes has the balls to say, "Dude, you're calling too much! Take it down a notch." How about spending some quality time with Teeth in his vehicle until yours is fixed.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
(In response to "Smoothie Queen," April 25): I read your column every Friday. The first entry, from Smoothie Queen, is disconcerting to me. That's because I know that protein shakes do not cause men to get guts. Steroids do. It's called "roid gut." Protein shakes feed muscles, and then, um, exit your body.

??
Just thought I'd let you know, in case you would like to let Smoothie Queen know. (I knew there must be a reason I read this rag for straight people. Other than it's so much better than Southern Voice.)

??
— Supplemental Input

??
Thanks for the nutrition lesson, and if you're correct then the Queen has even more reason to dump her meathead boyfriend. However, we should note that we ran the letter by one of our gym-bunny confidants, who said the protein shakes could indeed inflate a guy's spare tire; it just depends on the ingredients. So what do we know? This ain't Men's Health.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2720) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
My bad thoughts are causing me to have bad karma. It all has to do with my good friend Mikey. We call him "Teeth" behind his back, because he has this really big smile that looks like it's fake, even though it's not.

??
I have been friends with Teeth for 10 years. He is the kind of friend I see once or twice a month. Lately, he's been wanting to hang more. Calls me a lot last minute to see if I have plans or if I want to go drink with him. I like the guy a lot, but it's just too much.

??
Recently, I told him I had other plans when he asked me to meet him for drinks. It was a lie. I ended up going out to a bar with other friends – but then we saw Teeth in the parking lot and I was busted in my lie.

??
The next day, he called and asked for me to go hang that night. I said I was busy. But that night, my car got sideswiped in a parking lot. The damage is going to cost me about $2,000 to fix and it will be in the shop for a month. I think my bad karma caused the car accident. How do I stop this from happening again?

??
– ''– Brokedown Roller''

??
''Let's start with a basic distinction: It's not your bad thoughts but your questionable actions. Actions are things that actually happened, like telling lies to your "good friend" and giving him the Heisman every time he wants to hang. Sounds like this is a friendship only when it's convenient to you, which is a shameful way to treat anyone. A thoughtful friend returns phone calls, makes time for his buddies and even sometimes has the balls to say, "Dude, you're calling too much! Take it down a notch." How about spending some quality time with Teeth in his vehicle until yours is fixed.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
(In response to "Smoothie Queen," April 25): I read your column every Friday. The first entry, from Smoothie Queen, is disconcerting to me. That's because I know that protein shakes do not cause men to get guts. Steroids do. It's called "roid gut." Protein shakes feed muscles, and then, um, exit your body.

??
Just thought I'd let you know, in case you would like to let Smoothie Queen know. (I knew there must be a reason I read this rag for straight people. Other than it's so much better than ''Southern Voice''.)

??
''—'''' Supplemental Input''

??
''Thanks for the nutrition lesson, and if you're correct then the Queen has even more reason to dump her meathead boyfriend. However, we should note that we ran the letter by one of our gym-bunny confidants, who said the protein shakes could indeed inflate a guy's spare tire; it just depends on the ingredients. So what do we know? This ain't'' Men's Health.

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2860) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-05-09T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - May 09 2007      2007-05-09T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My bad thoughts are causing me to have bad karma. It all has to do with my good friend Mikey. We call him "Teeth" behind his back, because he has this really big smile that looks like it's fake, even though it's not.

??
I have been friends with Teeth for 10 years. He is the kind of friend I see once or twice a month. Lately, he's been wanting to hang more. Calls me a lot last minute to see if I have plans or if I want to go drink with him. I like the guy a lot, but it's just too much.

??
Recently, I told him I had other plans when he asked me to meet him for drinks. It was a lie. I ended up going out to a bar with other friends – but then we saw Teeth in the parking lot and I was busted in my lie.

??
The next day, he called and asked for me to go hang that night. I said I was busy. But that night, my car got sideswiped in a parking lot. The damage is going to cost me about $2,000 to fix and it will be in the shop for a month. I think my bad karma caused the car accident. How do I stop this from happening again?

??
– – Brokedown Roller

??
Let's start with a basic distinction: It's not your bad thoughts but your questionable actions. Actions are things that actually happened, like telling lies to your "good friend" and giving him the Heisman every time he wants to hang. Sounds like this is a friendship only when it's convenient to you, which is a shameful way to treat anyone. A thoughtful friend returns phone calls, makes time for his buddies and even sometimes has the balls to say, "Dude, you're calling too much! Take it down a notch." How about spending some quality time with Teeth in his vehicle until yours is fixed.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
(In response to "Smoothie Queen," April 25): I read your column every Friday. The first entry, from Smoothie Queen, is disconcerting to me. That's because I know that protein shakes do not cause men to get guts. Steroids do. It's called "roid gut." Protein shakes feed muscles, and then, um, exit your body.

??
Just thought I'd let you know, in case you would like to let Smoothie Queen know. (I knew there must be a reason I read this rag for straight people. Other than it's so much better than Southern Voice.)

??
— Supplemental Input

??
Thanks for the nutrition lesson, and if you're correct then the Queen has even more reason to dump her meathead boyfriend. However, we should note that we ran the letter by one of our gym-bunny confidants, who said the protein shakes could indeed inflate a guy's spare tire; it just depends on the ingredients. So what do we know? This ain't Men's Health.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024470 1267267                          Karma Cleanser - May 09 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday May 9, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2755) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My dog suffers from separation anxiety. We recently moved into a new apartment and she barks all day while I'm at work. She also chewed up the corner of the entertainment center. This is new for what was previously a very well-behaved animal.

??
The vet gave her a prescription for a drug to fight anxiety. I'd taken the same drug myself previously, though it's been a few years. I'm going through a bad breakup right now and I'm having a hard time sleeping. Anyway, I've started taking the dog's medication sometimes. Not enough so that she's deprived, but just a pill here and there to help me get to sleep. I feel like stealing my beloved pet's drugs is causing bad karma in my life. Am I wrong?

??
– – Mrs. Paws

??
Stop! Don't take another one of the pet pills until you've consulted a physician – one who specializes in humans. The dosage is almost certainly wrong, not to mention another dozen unknowns of consuming a canine medication. Make it up to your pup by putting her in doggy day care. Her nerves will thank you for it later.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I was born in Pittsburgh and relocated to the South in the late 1970s. I've lived my adult life here in the Bible Belt, and have even maintained close friendships with a few Christians over the years. (I consider myself an agnostic.)

??
If my Christian friends ever nudged me to come break bread at their houses of worship, I always said a friendly "no thanks" and respected them for asking. They never pressed.

??
I recently read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, and it has caused a completely unanticipated spiritual tailspin. I can no longer view my former friends as just innocent purveyors of the faith, but as carriers of something closer to a damaging virus. Conversely, the book has made me question my own (lack of) faith and begin a new assessment of what I believe. I don't know much about karma (yet) but I'm starting to count the instances in my life when it's been at work. My friends find it funny that a book on atheism has had such an effect on me. My question is, how do I reconcile my new views (which, admittedly, are still forming) with my former friendships?

??
– – Old Enough to Know Better

??
The search for meaning knows no age, and for you to ask such questions at this point in life is not only natural, it's fundamental. Let the book be a conversation-starter with those friends whose faith you now question. At best, the inquiry can help you to understand their motivations better; at worst, it might help you to realize that you've simply outgrown the friendships. The fact alone that you're asking the Karma Cleanser for advice shows us you have to believe in something.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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??
My dog suffers from separation anxiety. We recently moved into a new apartment and she barks all day while I'm at work. She also chewed up the corner of the entertainment center. This is new for what was previously a very well-behaved animal.

??
The vet gave her a prescription for a drug to fight anxiety. I'd taken the same drug myself previously, though it's been a few years. I'm going through a bad breakup right now and I'm having a hard time sleeping. Anyway, I've started taking the dog's medication sometimes. Not enough so that she's deprived, but just a pill here and there to help me get to sleep. I feel like stealing my beloved pet's drugs is causing bad karma in my life. Am I wrong?

??
– ''– Mrs. Paws''

??
__''Stop! Don't take another one of the pet pills until you've consulted a physician – one who specializes in humans. The dosage is almost certainly wrong, not to mention another dozen unknowns of consuming a canine medication. Make it up to your pup by putting her in doggy day care. Her nerves will thank you for it later.''__

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I was born in Pittsburgh and relocated to the South in the late 1970s. I've lived my adult life here in the Bible Belt, and have even maintained close friendships with a few Christians over the years. (I consider myself an agnostic.)

??
If my Christian friends ever nudged me to come break bread at their houses of worship, I always said a friendly "no thanks" and respected them for asking. They never pressed.

??
I recently read ''The God Delusion'' by Richard Dawkins, and it has caused a completely unanticipated spiritual tailspin. I can no longer view my former friends as just innocent purveyors of the faith, but as carriers of something closer to a damaging virus. Conversely, the book has made me question my own (lack of) faith and begin a new assessment of what I believe. I don't know much about karma (yet) but I'm starting to count the instances in my life when it's been at work. My friends find it funny that a book on atheism has had such an effect on me. My question is, how do I reconcile my new views (which, admittedly, are still forming) with my former friendships?

??
– ''– Old Enough to Know Better''

??
''The search for meaning knows no age, and for you to ask such questions at this point in life is not only natural, it's fundamental. Let the book be a conversation-starter with those friends whose faith you now question. At best, the inquiry can help you to understand their motivations better; at worst, it might help you to realize that you've simply outgrown the friendships. The fact alone that you're asking the'' Karma Cleanser ''for advice shows us you have to believe in something.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2964) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-05-02T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - May 02 2007      2007-05-02T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My dog suffers from separation anxiety. We recently moved into a new apartment and she barks all day while I'm at work. She also chewed up the corner of the entertainment center. This is new for what was previously a very well-behaved animal.

??
The vet gave her a prescription for a drug to fight anxiety. I'd taken the same drug myself previously, though it's been a few years. I'm going through a bad breakup right now and I'm having a hard time sleeping. Anyway, I've started taking the dog's medication sometimes. Not enough so that she's deprived, but just a pill here and there to help me get to sleep. I feel like stealing my beloved pet's drugs is causing bad karma in my life. Am I wrong?

??
– – Mrs. Paws

??
Stop! Don't take another one of the pet pills until you've consulted a physician – one who specializes in humans. The dosage is almost certainly wrong, not to mention another dozen unknowns of consuming a canine medication. Make it up to your pup by putting her in doggy day care. Her nerves will thank you for it later.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I was born in Pittsburgh and relocated to the South in the late 1970s. I've lived my adult life here in the Bible Belt, and have even maintained close friendships with a few Christians over the years. (I consider myself an agnostic.)

??
If my Christian friends ever nudged me to come break bread at their houses of worship, I always said a friendly "no thanks" and respected them for asking. They never pressed.

??
I recently read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, and it has caused a completely unanticipated spiritual tailspin. I can no longer view my former friends as just innocent purveyors of the faith, but as carriers of something closer to a damaging virus. Conversely, the book has made me question my own (lack of) faith and begin a new assessment of what I believe. I don't know much about karma (yet) but I'm starting to count the instances in my life when it's been at work. My friends find it funny that a book on atheism has had such an effect on me. My question is, how do I reconcile my new views (which, admittedly, are still forming) with my former friendships?

??
– – Old Enough to Know Better

??
The search for meaning knows no age, and for you to ask such questions at this point in life is not only natural, it's fundamental. Let the book be a conversation-starter with those friends whose faith you now question. At best, the inquiry can help you to understand their motivations better; at worst, it might help you to realize that you've simply outgrown the friendships. The fact alone that you're asking the Karma Cleanser for advice shows us you have to believe in something.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024397 1267111                          Karma Cleanser - May 02 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday May 2, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2450) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My boyfriend is a gym rat. He lifts four times a week and also jogs on weekends. When we first met, I was really into his cut, Ahnold look, because I had never dated a guy with muscles before.

??
Now I am not so sure I like it. He has started drinking protein smoothies every day when he wakes up. I don't have the heart to tell him that the "mass" he's gaining isn't going to the good places, but it is accumulating in his midsection. When we sleep together, I have started to daydream about the rail-thin indie-rock guy I was with before him. That guy had never lifted anything heavier than a laptop and considered all jocks stupid meatheads. I don't want to dump my boyfriend, but how do I adjust to the changes in his body?

??
– – Smoothie Queen

??
We disagree. Sounds like you do want to break up with your body-building boyfriend, but you first want someone else to give you permission to do so. It's perfectly common to seek a partner who is the polar opposite of your last lover, and doing so can actually be a wonderful exercise (pun intended!) in finding out what you really want. We're worried, though, that you're confusing body type with personality. Is it really this guy's growing gut that's causing your daydreams, or is there something else going on that makes you miss the skinny indie?

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I spent the night at my on-again-off-again girlfriend's apartment.

??
I thought she might be seeing someone else and I confirmed it that morning when I went to brush my teeth and saw that there was a second toothbrush in her holder. I took it and brushed my ass and nuts.

??
When she woke up, she came back into the bedroom brushing her teeth with the same toothbrush – telling me how great it was and she was taking a break from her electric brush!

??
Advise me to do anything but tell her the truth, please.

??
– – Clean Mouth

??
Dirtier minds than ours might tell you not to sweat it: Poor girl had worse in her mouth the night before! But we're not so cynical or crass here at KC Central, so we'll offer this: If you're such a vindictive little cad, perhaps there's a reason why this woman would want to date other people. Wait, that still came off as fairly cynical and crass. How about this: Dip your own toothbrush in Tabasco before the next usage. And when you buy a replacement, pick up an extra for your lady friend, please.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2511) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
My boyfriend is a gym rat. He lifts four times a week and also jogs on weekends. When we first met, I was really into his cut, Ahnold look, because I had never dated a guy with muscles before.

??
Now I am not so sure I like it. He has started drinking protein smoothies every day when he wakes up. I don't have the heart to tell him that the "mass" he's gaining isn't going to the good places, but it is accumulating in his midsection. When we sleep together, I have started to daydream about the rail-thin indie-rock guy I was with before him. That guy had never lifted anything heavier than a laptop and considered all jocks stupid meatheads. I don't want to dump my boyfriend, but how do I adjust to the changes in his body?

??
– ''– Smoothie Queen''

??
''We disagree. Sounds like you do want to break up with your body-building boyfriend, but you first want someone else to give you permission to do so. It's perfectly common to seek a partner who is the polar opposite of your last lover, and doing so can actually be a wonderful exercise (pun intended!) in finding out what you really want. We're worried, though, that you're confusing body type with personality. Is it really this guy's growing gut that's causing your daydreams, or is there something else going on that makes you miss the skinny indie?''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I spent the night at my on-again-off-again girlfriend's apartment.

??
I thought she might be seeing someone else and I confirmed it that morning when I went to brush my teeth and saw that there was a second toothbrush in her holder. I took it and brushed my ass and nuts.

??
When she woke up, she came back into the bedroom brushing her teeth with the same toothbrush – telling me how great it was and she was taking a break from her electric brush!

??
Advise me to do anything but tell her the truth, please.

??
– ''– Clean Mouth''

??
''Dirtier minds than ours might tell you not to sweat it: Poor girl had worse in her mouth the night before! But we're not so cynical or crass here at KC Central, so we'll offer this: If you're such a vindictive little cad, perhaps there's a reason why this woman would want to date other people. Wait, that still came off as fairly cynical and crass. How about this: Dip your own toothbrush in Tabasco before the next usage. And when you buy a replacement, pick up an extra for your lady friend, please.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2663) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-04-25T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - April 25 2007      2007-04-25T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My boyfriend is a gym rat. He lifts four times a week and also jogs on weekends. When we first met, I was really into his cut, Ahnold look, because I had never dated a guy with muscles before.

??
Now I am not so sure I like it. He has started drinking protein smoothies every day when he wakes up. I don't have the heart to tell him that the "mass" he's gaining isn't going to the good places, but it is accumulating in his midsection. When we sleep together, I have started to daydream about the rail-thin indie-rock guy I was with before him. That guy had never lifted anything heavier than a laptop and considered all jocks stupid meatheads. I don't want to dump my boyfriend, but how do I adjust to the changes in his body?

??
– – Smoothie Queen

??
We disagree. Sounds like you do want to break up with your body-building boyfriend, but you first want someone else to give you permission to do so. It's perfectly common to seek a partner who is the polar opposite of your last lover, and doing so can actually be a wonderful exercise (pun intended!) in finding out what you really want. We're worried, though, that you're confusing body type with personality. Is it really this guy's growing gut that's causing your daydreams, or is there something else going on that makes you miss the skinny indie?

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I spent the night at my on-again-off-again girlfriend's apartment.

??
I thought she might be seeing someone else and I confirmed it that morning when I went to brush my teeth and saw that there was a second toothbrush in her holder. I took it and brushed my ass and nuts.

??
When she woke up, she came back into the bedroom brushing her teeth with the same toothbrush – telling me how great it was and she was taking a break from her electric brush!

??
Advise me to do anything but tell her the truth, please.

??
– – Clean Mouth

??
Dirtier minds than ours might tell you not to sweat it: Poor girl had worse in her mouth the night before! But we're not so cynical or crass here at KC Central, so we'll offer this: If you're such a vindictive little cad, perhaps there's a reason why this woman would want to date other people. Wait, that still came off as fairly cynical and crass. How about this: Dip your own toothbrush in Tabasco before the next usage. And when you buy a replacement, pick up an extra for your lady friend, please.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024344 1266999                          Karma Cleanser - April 25 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday April 25, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2585) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
Let me tell you my situation. I'm 33 years old. I've been with a woman for 13 years. We're not married but have three beautiful kids together. We were staying in New York where I had a wonderful career. Then I decide to move to Charlotte because my extended family was moving and the area I grew up in had lost its appeal (gangs, drugs, crime, etc.). Since moving five years ago, I can honestly say Charlotte really hasn't been good to me or my family. I've bounced from job to job. My credit is very bad and I have no money.

??
I have a really nasty habit of starting something but never finishing it and my woman is fed up. Our relationship since being here in Charlotte has been a roller-coaster ride that has officially come to an abrupt stop. Things were said between us in the heat of the moment. She dumped me. Now I'm staying in our apartment until I get a job and get my own place.

??
I'm not like other guys who cheat or sell drugs or who have been in and out of jail. I want to do right by her and my children. We both have dreams of owning a home and living a happy life. Now I've been crossed out of the equation. It's easy to tell another person in the same situation I'm in to "just let it go," but now it's becoming more apparent to me it's hard to let go.

??
I love her and I will always love her but the thought of her being with another man really is making me feel nauseated as I write this letter. I feel so lost without her and if I can't have her I want nothing at all. Why has this bad Charlotte karma been affecting me so hard? What have I done to deserve this?

??
– – Lost Without Her

??
It's easy to blame bad luck on a city, but also misguided, like saying, "The Camaro I drive is ugly, therefore I got lost on the interstate." We're going to go out on a ledge here and posit that your problem lies in your admitted lack of follow-through. And staying with one person for 13 years is a mighty hard undertaking, especially if you got together at the tender age of 17. No wonder you can't imagine life without her.

??
But back to the Camaro, er, your karma. You've said you don't want to hear "Just let go," so how about "Just put it on a shelf." Move out, get a job, stick with it, but keep communicating with your partner and stay involved with the kids. Show her you can do this on your own. Your karma belongs to you, not Charlotte, and now's the time to take the wheel again. Your ex may reclaim her spot in the passenger seat, or she may not. Either way, you're going to be fine.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2638) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
Let me tell you my situation. I'm 33 years old. I've been with a woman for 13 years. We're not married but have three beautiful kids together. We were staying in New York where I had a wonderful career. Then I decide to move to Charlotte because my extended family was moving and the area I grew up in had lost its appeal (gangs, drugs, crime, etc.). Since moving five years ago, I can honestly say Charlotte really hasn't been good to me or my family. I've bounced from job to job. My credit is very bad and I have no money.

??
I have a really nasty habit of starting something but never finishing it and my woman is fed up. Our relationship since being here in Charlotte has been a roller-coaster ride that has officially come to an abrupt stop. Things were said between us in the heat of the moment. She dumped me. Now I'm staying in our apartment until I get a job and get my own place.

??
I'm not like other guys who cheat or sell drugs or who have been in and out of jail. I want to do right by her and my children. We both have dreams of owning a home and living a happy life. Now I've been crossed out of the equation. It's easy to tell another person in the same situation I'm in to "just let it go," but now it's becoming more apparent to me it's hard to let go.

??
I love her and I will always love her but the thought of her being with another man really is making me feel nauseated as I write this letter. I feel so lost without her and if I can't have her I want nothing at all. Why has this bad Charlotte karma been affecting me so hard? What have I done to deserve this?

??
– ''– Lost Without Her''

??
''It's easy to blame bad luck on a city, but also misguided, like saying, "The Camaro I drive is ugly, therefore I got lost on the interstate." We're going to go out on a ledge here and posit that your problem lies in your admitted lack of follow-through. And staying with one person for 13 years is a mighty hard undertaking, especially if you got together at the tender age of 17. No wonder you can't imagine life without her.''

??
''But back to the Camaro, er, your karma. You've said you don't want to hear "Just let go," so how about "Just put it on a shelf." Move out, get a job, stick with it, but keep communicating with your partner and stay involved with the kids. Show her you can do this on your own. Your karma belongs to you, not Charlotte, and now's the time to take the wheel again. Your ex may reclaim her spot in the passenger seat, or she may not. Either way, you're going to be fine.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2798) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-04-18T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - April 18 2007      2007-04-18T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
Let me tell you my situation. I'm 33 years old. I've been with a woman for 13 years. We're not married but have three beautiful kids together. We were staying in New York where I had a wonderful career. Then I decide to move to Charlotte because my extended family was moving and the area I grew up in had lost its appeal (gangs, drugs, crime, etc.). Since moving five years ago, I can honestly say Charlotte really hasn't been good to me or my family. I've bounced from job to job. My credit is very bad and I have no money.

??
I have a really nasty habit of starting something but never finishing it and my woman is fed up. Our relationship since being here in Charlotte has been a roller-coaster ride that has officially come to an abrupt stop. Things were said between us in the heat of the moment. She dumped me. Now I'm staying in our apartment until I get a job and get my own place.

??
I'm not like other guys who cheat or sell drugs or who have been in and out of jail. I want to do right by her and my children. We both have dreams of owning a home and living a happy life. Now I've been crossed out of the equation. It's easy to tell another person in the same situation I'm in to "just let it go," but now it's becoming more apparent to me it's hard to let go.

??
I love her and I will always love her but the thought of her being with another man really is making me feel nauseated as I write this letter. I feel so lost without her and if I can't have her I want nothing at all. Why has this bad Charlotte karma been affecting me so hard? What have I done to deserve this?

??
– – Lost Without Her

??
It's easy to blame bad luck on a city, but also misguided, like saying, "The Camaro I drive is ugly, therefore I got lost on the interstate." We're going to go out on a ledge here and posit that your problem lies in your admitted lack of follow-through. And staying with one person for 13 years is a mighty hard undertaking, especially if you got together at the tender age of 17. No wonder you can't imagine life without her.

??
But back to the Camaro, er, your karma. You've said you don't want to hear "Just let go," so how about "Just put it on a shelf." Move out, get a job, stick with it, but keep communicating with your partner and stay involved with the kids. Show her you can do this on your own. Your karma belongs to you, not Charlotte, and now's the time to take the wheel again. Your ex may reclaim her spot in the passenger seat, or she may not. Either way, you're going to be fine.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024284 1266857                          Karma Cleanser - April 18 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday April 18, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2540) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I am having recurring dreams about Tom Cruise. What usually happens is that I am at some sort of health spa getting a massage and facial. A nurse approaches me and says that they are running a special on Botox and asks if I want to sign up. I look to my left and I realize I'm lying next to Tom. He's wearing just a towel and he says to me, "You should do it – it's great!"

??
I should add here that I am a heterosexual male, 26 years old, with no previous interest in Tom's stupid movies until my girlfriend made me watch Vanilla Sky. She earnestly believes that Tom is the best actor alive today and she is constantly goading me into trying new things, although Botox has not been on the menu, at least not yet. Help!

??
– Risky Business

??
We're not sure which is harder to believe: that a straight guy would confess to dreaming about a scantily clad Tom Cruise and spa days (complete with facial!) or that your girlfriend can honestly expect you to take her seriously ever again after recommending a stinker like Vanilla Sky. Regardless, your dream reaffirms what your instincts already know: Don't believe everything you're told.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
Is there a karmic solution to depression? I have been down in the dumps for months now. I refuse to go on antidepressants because I have seen what they do to some people.

??
I first found myself stuck in a pit of despair shortly after I changed jobs. As much as I hated my former workplace, I now miss the comfort and reliability of it. Now I'm in a more unpredictable situation in terms of employment and having to face my disillusionment. I went to school for this? No thanks.

??
I bring up karma because I know there have been times in my career when I did not choose the hard/right thing to do, but the easy/wrong thing. It only takes a few of those choices to lead a person to the place where I am now.

??
– Winter in April

??
It seems significant that we received your letter on the first night of Passover, a holiday that speaks of leaving an unhappy place in search of brighter horizons. Doing so also means shedding our airs and arrogance – in your case, that may require a fuller understanding of why you chose those "easy/wrongs" to start with. Finally, you owe it to yourself to talk to a professional about your depression and hang-ups regarding medication. Some folks have a burning bush to lead them toward the Promised Land; the rest of us need a little earthly help along the way.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2609) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I am having recurring dreams about Tom Cruise. What usually happens is that I am at some sort of health spa getting a massage and facial. A nurse approaches me and says that they are running a special on Botox and asks if I want to sign up. I look to my left and I realize I'm lying next to Tom. He's wearing just a towel and he says to me, "You should do it – it's great!"

??
I should add here that I am a heterosexual male, 26 years old, with no previous interest in Tom's stupid movies until my girlfriend made me watch ''Vanilla Sky''. She earnestly believes that Tom is the best actor alive today and she is constantly goading me into trying new things, although Botox has not been on the menu, at least not yet. Help!

??
''– Risky Business''

??
''We're not sure which is harder to believe: that a straight guy would confess to dreaming about a scantily clad Tom Cruise and spa days (complete with facial!) or that your girlfriend can honestly expect you to take her seriously ever again after recommending a stinker like'' Vanilla Sky''. Regardless, your dream reaffirms what your instincts already know: Don't believe everything you're told.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
Is there a karmic solution to depression? I have been down in the dumps for months now. I refuse to go on antidepressants because I have seen what they do to some people.

??
I first found myself stuck in a pit of despair shortly after I changed jobs. As much as I hated my former workplace, I now miss the comfort and reliability of it. Now I'm in a more unpredictable situation in terms of employment and having to face my disillusionment. I went to school for this? No thanks.

??
I bring up karma because I know there have been times in my career when I did not choose the hard/right thing to do, but the easy/wrong thing. It only takes a few of those choices to lead a person to the place where I am now.

??
''– Winter in April''

??
''It seems significant that we received your letter on the first night of Passover, a holiday that speaks of leaving an unhappy place in search of brighter horizons. Doing so also means shedding our airs and arrogance – in your case, that may require a fuller understanding of why you chose those "easy/wrongs" to start with. Finally, you owe it to yourself to talk to a professional about your depression and hang-ups regarding medication. Some folks have a burning bush to lead them toward the Promised Land; the rest of us need a little earthly help along the way.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2753) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-04-11T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - April 11 2007      2007-04-11T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I am having recurring dreams about Tom Cruise. What usually happens is that I am at some sort of health spa getting a massage and facial. A nurse approaches me and says that they are running a special on Botox and asks if I want to sign up. I look to my left and I realize I'm lying next to Tom. He's wearing just a towel and he says to me, "You should do it – it's great!"

??
I should add here that I am a heterosexual male, 26 years old, with no previous interest in Tom's stupid movies until my girlfriend made me watch Vanilla Sky. She earnestly believes that Tom is the best actor alive today and she is constantly goading me into trying new things, although Botox has not been on the menu, at least not yet. Help!

??
– Risky Business

??
We're not sure which is harder to believe: that a straight guy would confess to dreaming about a scantily clad Tom Cruise and spa days (complete with facial!) or that your girlfriend can honestly expect you to take her seriously ever again after recommending a stinker like Vanilla Sky. Regardless, your dream reaffirms what your instincts already know: Don't believe everything you're told.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
Is there a karmic solution to depression? I have been down in the dumps for months now. I refuse to go on antidepressants because I have seen what they do to some people.

??
I first found myself stuck in a pit of despair shortly after I changed jobs. As much as I hated my former workplace, I now miss the comfort and reliability of it. Now I'm in a more unpredictable situation in terms of employment and having to face my disillusionment. I went to school for this? No thanks.

??
I bring up karma because I know there have been times in my career when I did not choose the hard/right thing to do, but the easy/wrong thing. It only takes a few of those choices to lead a person to the place where I am now.

??
– Winter in April

??
It seems significant that we received your letter on the first night of Passover, a holiday that speaks of leaving an unhappy place in search of brighter horizons. Doing so also means shedding our airs and arrogance – in your case, that may require a fuller understanding of why you chose those "easy/wrongs" to start with. Finally, you owe it to yourself to talk to a professional about your depression and hang-ups regarding medication. Some folks have a burning bush to lead them toward the Promised Land; the rest of us need a little earthly help along the way.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024223 1266734                          Karma Cleanser - April 11 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday April 11, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2670) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I've been working at this bar for three years. I haven't ever fully liked it, but in the past month or so it's really been taking its toll. I work with really nice people, and the customers are (usually) sweet, especially the regulars. But I'm not a people person. I feel bad, and beat myself up thinking I should be, and people keep being nice and I feel worse.

??
The constant exposure to drinking and alcohol leads me to choose to drink every night. I want to quit this job and get a day job and stop drinking. On the other hand, this bar has been so good to me and pays well. I'm one of only a few employees left.

??
Do I leave a job and people who've been good to me in spite of my negativity, even though I "feel" the job isn't a good fit and have felt so for years? Or is there another route?

??
– – Stuck in the Cycle

??
You know the answer already. Listen to that persistent (and probably annoying) little whine in your mind that's been telling you it's time to hang up the apron and head not for the mountains, but for the far-seeing hills of sobriety, located just to the north of day-job acres and its teeming cubicle farms. Your persistent negativity grows out of the disconnect between your current occupation and what you'd rather be doing with your nights. If you miss the bar so much, you can always go back; the regulars will surely still be there.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My partner and I have been together for years and we share a bank account. He accuses me of spending money on things we don't need. I, of course, accuse him of being cheap. I now have an allowance of $200 spending money per week. Any other expenses we have to both agree on.

??
I fudged on my allowance numbers for last week. I made a contribution to our local public radio station, which I listen to daily. The contribution also netted me free tickets to see a performer both my partner and I enjoy.

??
My question is: Am I risking bad karma by not disclosing to my partner how I came across the tickets? The show is still a month away, and once we're there I know he'll enjoy himself. But if he knew that I lied and spent money on what he sees as a needless cause, he will not have fun at the concert.

??
– – Radio Remorse

??
Our utilitarian instincts tell us your lie is excusable because it serves the greater good: You're supporting a cause you believe in and also scored a fun night out for you and your honey. We suspect your partner won't agree with that math. If you can live with the guilt, so be it. If not, tell him now so that maybe he can simmer down before the performance night.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2731) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I've been working at this bar for three years. I haven't ever fully liked it, but in the past month or so it's really been taking its toll. I work with really nice people, and the customers are (usually) sweet, especially the regulars. But I'm not a people person. I feel bad, and beat myself up thinking I should be, and people keep being nice and I feel worse.

??
The constant exposure to drinking and alcohol leads me to choose to drink every night. I want to quit this job and get a day job and stop drinking. On the other hand, this bar has been so good to me and pays well. I'm one of only a few employees left.

??
Do I leave a job and people who've been good to me in spite of my negativity, even though I "feel" the job isn't a good fit and have felt so for years? Or is there another route?

??
– ''– Stuck in the Cycle''

??
''You know the answer already. Listen to that persistent (and probably annoying) little whine in your mind that's been telling you it's time to hang up the apron and head not for the mountains, but for the far-seeing hills of sobriety, located just to the north of day-job acres and its teeming cubicle farms. Your persistent negativity grows out of the disconnect between your current occupation and what you'd rather be doing with your nights. If you miss the bar so much, you can always go back; the regulars will surely still be there.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
My partner and I have been together for years and we share a bank account. He accuses me of spending money on things we don't need. I, of course, accuse him of being cheap. I now have an allowance of $200 spending money per week. Any other expenses we have to both agree on.

??
I fudged on my allowance numbers for last week. I made a contribution to our local public radio station, which I listen to daily. The contribution also netted me free tickets to see a performer both my partner and I enjoy.

??
My question is: Am I risking bad karma by not disclosing to my partner how I came across the tickets? The show is still a month away, and once we're there I know he'll enjoy himself. But if he knew that I lied and spent money on what he sees as a needless cause, he will not have fun at the concert.

??
– ''– Radio Remorse''

??
''Our utilitarian instincts tell us your lie is excusable because it serves the greater good: You're supporting a cause you believe in and also scored a fun night out for you and your honey. We suspect your partner won't agree with that math. If you can live with the guilt, so be it. If not, tell him now so that maybe he can simmer down before the performance night.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2883) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-04-04T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - April 04 2007      2007-04-04T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I've been working at this bar for three years. I haven't ever fully liked it, but in the past month or so it's really been taking its toll. I work with really nice people, and the customers are (usually) sweet, especially the regulars. But I'm not a people person. I feel bad, and beat myself up thinking I should be, and people keep being nice and I feel worse.

??
The constant exposure to drinking and alcohol leads me to choose to drink every night. I want to quit this job and get a day job and stop drinking. On the other hand, this bar has been so good to me and pays well. I'm one of only a few employees left.

??
Do I leave a job and people who've been good to me in spite of my negativity, even though I "feel" the job isn't a good fit and have felt so for years? Or is there another route?

??
– – Stuck in the Cycle

??
You know the answer already. Listen to that persistent (and probably annoying) little whine in your mind that's been telling you it's time to hang up the apron and head not for the mountains, but for the far-seeing hills of sobriety, located just to the north of day-job acres and its teeming cubicle farms. Your persistent negativity grows out of the disconnect between your current occupation and what you'd rather be doing with your nights. If you miss the bar so much, you can always go back; the regulars will surely still be there.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My partner and I have been together for years and we share a bank account. He accuses me of spending money on things we don't need. I, of course, accuse him of being cheap. I now have an allowance of $200 spending money per week. Any other expenses we have to both agree on.

??
I fudged on my allowance numbers for last week. I made a contribution to our local public radio station, which I listen to daily. The contribution also netted me free tickets to see a performer both my partner and I enjoy.

??
My question is: Am I risking bad karma by not disclosing to my partner how I came across the tickets? The show is still a month away, and once we're there I know he'll enjoy himself. But if he knew that I lied and spent money on what he sees as a needless cause, he will not have fun at the concert.

??
– – Radio Remorse

??
Our utilitarian instincts tell us your lie is excusable because it serves the greater good: You're supporting a cause you believe in and also scored a fun night out for you and your honey. We suspect your partner won't agree with that math. If you can live with the guilt, so be it. If not, tell him now so that maybe he can simmer down before the performance night.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024191 1266655                          Karma Cleanser - April 04 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday April 4, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Will it come back to bite you? | more...

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  string(2529) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I have a friend who recently accepted a very busy job. We used to IM, e-mail and call all the time. Now I am lucky if I hear from him once a month. I get that he's busy, but I'm sick of playing the fool and feel like he's not holding up his end of the friendship.

??
Do you think I should write him off, or is it better for my social karma to keep the friendship going with the hope that eventually, this person might realize that he's been ignoring me? I don't want to be the Drama Friend who gets all whiney when the phone doesn't ring.

??
– Forgotten in Raleigh

??
Dear Forgotten: We're going to try something a bit different this time and give you the chance to expand upon your initial query. We'll then fire back our take on your social snag. First, how long have you been friends with this person? If it's somebody you've known only a few months, the sudden lack of communication probably doesn't warrant all your bellyaching. Second, have you let him know that his behavior is bugging you? Finally, we detect a note of sensitivity at the end. Have other folks dubbed you the "Drama Friend" in the past?

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
Me again. I've known this friend for close to five years. It's not just an acquaintance but someone I thought I'd be friends with forever. Second, yes, I did let him know that his behavior was bugging me. I sent him an e-mail which said that I was about to buy a new condo. When he did not write back, I sent another e-mail saying, "Hello, are you alive, did you not read what I just wrote?" Still, nothing.

??
As for your last question, I will say that I have been the "Drama Friend" in the past but I don't want to be that person again. Thanks.

??
 – (Still) Forgotten

??
Now we're getting somewhere. Sounds to us like your friendship is going through a dip just now, which happens to all long-standing relationships. A relationship is a living thing, like a tree, and if it doesn't change, it dies. The friendship will come back around. Or not. Perhaps now is the time for one last communication, this one saying simply, "I understand you're busy but it hurts my feelings that you didn't respond to my very big news." If he doesn't write back, there's no need for you to feel like the fool, but also no reason to keep flinging spitballs at an impenetrable wall. If you truly don't want to be dramatic, now might be the time to take a deep breath and just let it be what it is. Keep us posted on how it turns out.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2590) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I have a friend who recently accepted a very busy job. We used to IM, e-mail and call all the time. Now I am lucky if I hear from him once a month. I get that he's busy, but I'm sick of playing the fool and feel like he's not holding up his end of the friendship.

??
Do you think I should write him off, or is it better for my social karma to keep the friendship going with the hope that eventually, this person might realize that he's been ignoring me? I don't want to be the Drama Friend who gets all whiney when the phone doesn't ring.

??
''– Forgotten in Raleigh''

??
''Dear Forgotten: We're going to try something a bit different this time and give you the chance to expand upon your initial query. We'll then fire back our take on your social snag. First, how long have you been friends with this person? If it's somebody you've known only a few months, the sudden lack of communication probably doesn't warrant all your bellyaching. Second, have you let him know that his behavior is bugging you? Finally, we detect a note of sensitivity at the end. Have other folks dubbed you the "Drama Friend" in the past?''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
Me again. I've known this friend for close to five years. It's not just an acquaintance but someone I thought I'd be friends with forever. Second, yes, I did let him know that his behavior was bugging me. I sent him an e-mail which said that I was about to buy a new condo. When he did not write back, I sent another e-mail saying, "Hello, are you alive, did you not read what I just wrote?" Still, nothing.

??
As for your last question, I will say that I have been the "Drama Friend" in the past but I don't want to be that person again. Thanks.

??
 ''– (Still) Forgotten''

??
''Now we're getting somewhere. Sounds to us like your friendship is going through a dip just now, which happens to all long-standing relationships. A relationship is a living thing, like a tree, and if it doesn't change, it dies. The friendship will come back around. Or not. Perhaps now is the time for one last communication, this one saying simply, "I understand you're busy but it hurts my feelings that you didn't respond to my very big news." If he doesn't write back, there's no need for you to feel like the fool, but also no reason to keep flinging spitballs at an impenetrable wall. If you truly don't want to be dramatic, now might be the time to take a deep breath and just let it be what it is. Keep us posted on how it turns out.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2742) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-03-28T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - March 28 2007      2007-03-28T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I have a friend who recently accepted a very busy job. We used to IM, e-mail and call all the time. Now I am lucky if I hear from him once a month. I get that he's busy, but I'm sick of playing the fool and feel like he's not holding up his end of the friendship.

??
Do you think I should write him off, or is it better for my social karma to keep the friendship going with the hope that eventually, this person might realize that he's been ignoring me? I don't want to be the Drama Friend who gets all whiney when the phone doesn't ring.

??
– Forgotten in Raleigh

??
Dear Forgotten: We're going to try something a bit different this time and give you the chance to expand upon your initial query. We'll then fire back our take on your social snag. First, how long have you been friends with this person? If it's somebody you've known only a few months, the sudden lack of communication probably doesn't warrant all your bellyaching. Second, have you let him know that his behavior is bugging you? Finally, we detect a note of sensitivity at the end. Have other folks dubbed you the "Drama Friend" in the past?

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
Me again. I've known this friend for close to five years. It's not just an acquaintance but someone I thought I'd be friends with forever. Second, yes, I did let him know that his behavior was bugging me. I sent him an e-mail which said that I was about to buy a new condo. When he did not write back, I sent another e-mail saying, "Hello, are you alive, did you not read what I just wrote?" Still, nothing.

??
As for your last question, I will say that I have been the "Drama Friend" in the past but I don't want to be that person again. Thanks.

??
 – (Still) Forgotten

??
Now we're getting somewhere. Sounds to us like your friendship is going through a dip just now, which happens to all long-standing relationships. A relationship is a living thing, like a tree, and if it doesn't change, it dies. The friendship will come back around. Or not. Perhaps now is the time for one last communication, this one saying simply, "I understand you're busy but it hurts my feelings that you didn't respond to my very big news." If he doesn't write back, there's no need for you to feel like the fool, but also no reason to keep flinging spitballs at an impenetrable wall. If you truly don't want to be dramatic, now might be the time to take a deep breath and just let it be what it is. Keep us posted on how it turns out.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024126 1266513                          Karma Cleanser - March 28 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday March 28, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2763) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I have a question about greed, trust and doing the right thing. I am part of a circle of women, many of them in their late 30s or 40s, and all with successful husbands and/or well-paying jobs. They are good people underneath it all, even if we sometimes call ourselves the "Wisteria Lane Girls" because of some of our "indiscretions."

??
Recently one of these women recommended that I start to use her cleaning lady. A young, rather naive, Korean girl showed up at my house the next week. After she cleaned for three hours, I asked how much she charged. I thought her rate would be about $80, the same as my last cleaning lady. She said, "$30," which just felt like highway robbery on my part. I gave her $50 and said she should charge all her clients more.

??
Now my generosity has come back to bite me in the fanny. My friend says the cleaning lady has raised her rates, and my friend is mad at me. I just feel like I was doing the right thing. Should I have kept my big mouth shut, or isn't it a risk for bad karma to take advantage of a poor young girl who doesn't know any better? I am now considering using a different cleaning service altogether.

??
– – The Stemware Does Sparkle

??
If your "Desperate" lady friend will screw over the help, she'll screw over you, too. We're not saying you should pass on the bargain house cleaning, nor should you ditch the friendship, but consider this an eye-opener on how things really work on Wisteria Lane. Kudos to you and your karma for paying with mindfulness.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
In response to "A loner, again," the person who posted the sex ad on Craigslist, I will say I'm shocked that she (or he, who knows?) was able to find a living, breathing person using an online ad at all. I've posted ads online on and off again for the last two years. So far, I have not yet met a single through it. I have started to realize that there's only about 10 or 11 actual, living people who use the Internet in my city (in that regard, anyway) and they are all liars, or thieves, or both.

??
When I first started going to online sex sites, it seemed like I was chatting with a lot of pretty hot and interesting people. Now, everyone just wants drugs, or to come over and take advantage of you. Just my two cents worth on this very common and bad problem.

??
– – A Smart Lurker

??
Maybe there's no polite way for us to say this, but darling, you really need to get out of the house more. Granted, we don't know what city you live in, but it's hard to fathom fewer than a dozen Internet users in even the most backwater boondocks these days. Perhaps the negativity you bring to the keyboard just gets reflected back to you on the screen.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2824) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I have a question about greed, trust and doing the right thing. I am part of a circle of women, many of them in their late 30s or 40s, and all with successful husbands and/or well-paying jobs. They are good people underneath it all, even if we sometimes call ourselves the "Wisteria Lane Girls" because of some of our "indiscretions."

??
Recently one of these women recommended that I start to use her cleaning lady. A young, rather naive, Korean girl showed up at my house the next week. After she cleaned for three hours, I asked how much she charged. I thought her rate would be about $80, the same as my last cleaning lady. She said, "$30," which just felt like highway robbery on my part. I gave her $50 and said she should charge all her clients more.

??
Now my generosity has come back to bite me in the fanny. My friend says the cleaning lady has raised her rates, and my friend is mad at me. I just feel like I was doing the right thing. Should I have kept my big mouth shut, or isn't it a risk for bad karma to take advantage of a poor young girl who doesn't know any better? I am now considering using a different cleaning service altogether.

??
– ''– The Stemware Does Sparkle''

??
''If your "Desperate" lady friend will screw over the help, she'll screw over you, too. We're not saying you should pass on the bargain house cleaning, nor should you ditch the friendship, but consider this an eye-opener on how things really work on Wisteria Lane. Kudos to you and your karma for paying with mindfulness.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
In response to "A loner, again," the person who posted the sex ad on Craigslist, I will say I'm shocked that she (or he, who knows?) was able to find a living, breathing person using an online ad at all. I've posted ads online on and off again for the last two years. So far, I have not yet met a single through it. I have started to realize that there's only about 10 or 11 actual, living people who use the Internet in my city (in that regard, anyway) and they are all liars, or thieves, or both.

??
When I first started going to online sex sites, it seemed like I was chatting with a lot of pretty hot and interesting people. Now, everyone just wants drugs, or to come over and take advantage of you. Just my two cents worth on this very common and bad problem.

??
– ''– A Smart Lurker''

??
''Maybe there's no polite way for us to say this, but darling, you really need to get out of the house more. Granted, we don't know what city you live in, but it's hard to fathom fewer than a dozen Internet users in even the most backwater boondocks these days. Perhaps the negativity you bring to the keyboard just gets reflected back to you on the screen.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2976) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-03-21T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - March 21 2007      2007-03-21T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I have a question about greed, trust and doing the right thing. I am part of a circle of women, many of them in their late 30s or 40s, and all with successful husbands and/or well-paying jobs. They are good people underneath it all, even if we sometimes call ourselves the "Wisteria Lane Girls" because of some of our "indiscretions."

??
Recently one of these women recommended that I start to use her cleaning lady. A young, rather naive, Korean girl showed up at my house the next week. After she cleaned for three hours, I asked how much she charged. I thought her rate would be about $80, the same as my last cleaning lady. She said, "$30," which just felt like highway robbery on my part. I gave her $50 and said she should charge all her clients more.

??
Now my generosity has come back to bite me in the fanny. My friend says the cleaning lady has raised her rates, and my friend is mad at me. I just feel like I was doing the right thing. Should I have kept my big mouth shut, or isn't it a risk for bad karma to take advantage of a poor young girl who doesn't know any better? I am now considering using a different cleaning service altogether.

??
– – The Stemware Does Sparkle

??
If your "Desperate" lady friend will screw over the help, she'll screw over you, too. We're not saying you should pass on the bargain house cleaning, nor should you ditch the friendship, but consider this an eye-opener on how things really work on Wisteria Lane. Kudos to you and your karma for paying with mindfulness.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
In response to "A loner, again," the person who posted the sex ad on Craigslist, I will say I'm shocked that she (or he, who knows?) was able to find a living, breathing person using an online ad at all. I've posted ads online on and off again for the last two years. So far, I have not yet met a single through it. I have started to realize that there's only about 10 or 11 actual, living people who use the Internet in my city (in that regard, anyway) and they are all liars, or thieves, or both.

??
When I first started going to online sex sites, it seemed like I was chatting with a lot of pretty hot and interesting people. Now, everyone just wants drugs, or to come over and take advantage of you. Just my two cents worth on this very common and bad problem.

??
– – A Smart Lurker

??
Maybe there's no polite way for us to say this, but darling, you really need to get out of the house more. Granted, we don't know what city you live in, but it's hard to fathom fewer than a dozen Internet users in even the most backwater boondocks these days. Perhaps the negativity you bring to the keyboard just gets reflected back to you on the screen.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024061 1266379                          Karma Cleanser - March 21 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday March 21, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2706) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I recently bought a couch on Craigslist. The person who sold it to me was asking $150 plus a $30 delivery fee.

??
When I went to see the couch, I offered her $100. She accepted, saying she'd rather get rid of it quickly than wait for someone to pay more. I took this to mean she accepted that I would pay her $100 total.

??
However, when I came with my boyfriend to help her load it in her truck (we did all the heavy lifting while she stood by), she asked me for the delivery fee. I didn't have any money on me because I thought everything was paid for. When we'd driven the six blocks to my house and my boyfriend and I unloaded the couch (again, she did almost nothing), I told her I'd mail her a check.

??
She's e-mailed me to demand the money. But now that I've had some time to reflect on the situation, I think she misled me and just wants to try to get more money out of me. I put a $15 check in the mail because I think that's fair for spending 20 minutes standing around and then driving six blocks. It seems like there was some miscommunication because we both think we're in the right.

??
Is this going to come back to bite me the next time I try to sell something online?

??
– – Broke But Honest

??
Yours is the second Craigslist-related letter we've received in as many days, which implies that the great hand of karma must be updating its bookmarks. Sadly, we'll have to side with the seller: Your time to renegotiate the delivery fee was before the transaction, not after. Make amends by posting something dear to you in the "free stuff" section, or else by just paying the chick her other $15.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
A friend from high school was diagnosed with cancer. Luckily, she is expected to make a full recovery. The day she told me the bad news, I happened to be watching "Oprah" and saw a segment on this DVD, The Secret. I thought its message of hope might cheer her up so I sent her a copy.

??
Now, I did not watch the whole DVD first, but apparently it includes a portion saying that if you get sick, it's because your thoughts brought the sickness on yourself. When my friend saw this, she became uncomfortable because she thought I was saying that to her. I didn't mean to imply that at all. Does no good deed go unpunished?

??
– – Blame It On Oprah

??
We haven't seen the DVD either, though we have read one of the related texts, The Law of Attraction. Seems the basic message is that good thoughts attract more good thoughts, as do bad. Trying to comfort your sick friend definitely deserves some good karma points, though maybe you should just stick with Hallmark the next time around.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2775) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I recently bought a couch on Craigslist. The person who sold it to me was asking $150 plus a $30 delivery fee.

??
When I went to see the couch, I offered her $100. She accepted, saying she'd rather get rid of it quickly than wait for someone to pay more. I took this to mean she accepted that I would pay her $100 total.

??
However, when I came with my boyfriend to help her load it in her truck (we did all the heavy lifting while she stood by), she asked me for the delivery fee. I didn't have any money on me because I thought everything was paid for. When we'd driven the six blocks to my house and my boyfriend and I unloaded the couch (again, she did almost nothing), I told her I'd mail her a check.

??
She's e-mailed me to demand the money. But now that I've had some time to reflect on the situation, I think she misled me and just wants to try to get more money out of me. I put a $15 check in the mail because I think that's fair for spending 20 minutes standing around and then driving six blocks. It seems like there was some miscommunication because we both think we're in the right.

??
Is this going to come back to bite me the next time I try to sell something online?

??
– ''– Broke But Honest''

??
''Yours is the second Craigslist-related letter we've received in as many days, which implies that the great hand of karma must be updating its bookmarks. Sadly, we'll have to side with the seller: Your time to renegotiate the delivery fee was before the transaction, not after. Make amends by posting something dear to you in the "free stuff" section, or else by just paying the chick her other $15.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
A friend from high school was diagnosed with cancer. Luckily, she is expected to make a full recovery. The day she told me the bad news, I happened to be watching "Oprah" and saw a segment on this DVD, ''The Secret''. I thought its message of hope might cheer her up so I sent her a copy.

??
Now, I did not watch the whole DVD first, but apparently it includes a portion saying that if you get sick, it's because your thoughts brought the sickness on yourself. When my friend saw this, she became uncomfortable because she thought I was saying that to her. I didn't mean to imply that at all. Does no good deed go unpunished?

??
– ''– Blame It On Oprah''

??
''We haven't seen the DVD either, though we have read one of the related texts,'' The Law of Attraction''. Seems the basic message is that good thoughts attract more good thoughts, as do bad. Trying to comfort your sick friend definitely deserves some good karma points, though maybe you should just stick with Hallmark the next time around.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2919) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-03-14T04:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - March 14 2007      2007-03-14T04:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I recently bought a couch on Craigslist. The person who sold it to me was asking $150 plus a $30 delivery fee.

??
When I went to see the couch, I offered her $100. She accepted, saying she'd rather get rid of it quickly than wait for someone to pay more. I took this to mean she accepted that I would pay her $100 total.

??
However, when I came with my boyfriend to help her load it in her truck (we did all the heavy lifting while she stood by), she asked me for the delivery fee. I didn't have any money on me because I thought everything was paid for. When we'd driven the six blocks to my house and my boyfriend and I unloaded the couch (again, she did almost nothing), I told her I'd mail her a check.

??
She's e-mailed me to demand the money. But now that I've had some time to reflect on the situation, I think she misled me and just wants to try to get more money out of me. I put a $15 check in the mail because I think that's fair for spending 20 minutes standing around and then driving six blocks. It seems like there was some miscommunication because we both think we're in the right.

??
Is this going to come back to bite me the next time I try to sell something online?

??
– – Broke But Honest

??
Yours is the second Craigslist-related letter we've received in as many days, which implies that the great hand of karma must be updating its bookmarks. Sadly, we'll have to side with the seller: Your time to renegotiate the delivery fee was before the transaction, not after. Make amends by posting something dear to you in the "free stuff" section, or else by just paying the chick her other $15.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
A friend from high school was diagnosed with cancer. Luckily, she is expected to make a full recovery. The day she told me the bad news, I happened to be watching "Oprah" and saw a segment on this DVD, The Secret. I thought its message of hope might cheer her up so I sent her a copy.

??
Now, I did not watch the whole DVD first, but apparently it includes a portion saying that if you get sick, it's because your thoughts brought the sickness on yourself. When my friend saw this, she became uncomfortable because she thought I was saying that to her. I didn't mean to imply that at all. Does no good deed go unpunished?

??
– – Blame It On Oprah

??
We haven't seen the DVD either, though we have read one of the related texts, The Law of Attraction. Seems the basic message is that good thoughts attract more good thoughts, as do bad. Trying to comfort your sick friend definitely deserves some good karma points, though maybe you should just stick with Hallmark the next time around.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13024011 1266260                          Karma Cleanser - March 14 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday March 14, 2007 12:04 am EDT
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2726) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I met a guy who I soon fell head over heels in love with. Everything seemed to go right in the relationship. I wasn't needy, I trusted him and gave him what I had if I had it. Everything changed when I confessed my feelings to him. About a month later, he disappeared.

??
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??
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??
– – Lost Love

??
Nobody deserves pain for wanting to see their love reciprocated, unless they're dating a neo-Nazi sympathizer who clubs baby seals to death just for kicks. Which you weren't. So your beau got back with his former love; good for him. She will be the one who deals with all his baggage and bullshit – not you. If he disappeared on you, he'll do it to her, too. Don't dwell on your past ignorance, but know that the thoroughly romanticized notion you have of the love that might've been is just that, a fantasy.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
About a month ago, I responded to an ad for sex that was posted on Craigslist. The guy came over to my house, we had a few drinks, watched a movie, then made out. No sex. Just a nice little make-out session and some very real longing. He could tell that this was something more than either of us had bargained for, and as soon as I started to unzip his pants, he abruptly stood up and said this was getting too "real" for him. He left, although he did say he'd call.

??
We've traded e-mails twice since then and haven't gotten together again. I think I am developing real feelings for this person. I also fear that my feelings are one-sided. I worry that this is karma getting me back for all the completely empty hookups I've had in the past.

??
– – A Loner, Again

??
Too often, we hear from readers who mistake karma for common sense. Conventional wisdom plainly says, "Don't go to an anonymous website thinking you might find true love." Maybe you couldn't have predicted the unexpected intensity that erupted in this situation, but don't for a second start to think that a pound of real passion on your part will translate to an ounce of follow-through on his.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2787) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I met a guy who I soon fell head over heels in love with. Everything seemed to go right in the relationship. I wasn't needy, I trusted him and gave him what I had if I had it. Everything changed when I confessed my feelings to him. About a month later, he disappeared.

??
I later found out that he was back with his ex-girlfriend and happy. I was shattered by the news. He changed his numbers and never gave me that call to formally say it was over. I never uttered an ill word about him. If he was happy, so was I. I'll admit that I wanted to tear his lover's throat out, but I kept my space.

??
Is this karma teaching me a lesson? I always used to look down on women who gave their hearts away and got all sappy with love. I was pretty level-headed through the entire fiasco; I didn't demand closure or anything. I just backed away to lick my wounds. I still love him, too. Did I deserve that pain for my past ignorance?

??
– ''– Lost Love''

??
''Nobody deserves pain for wanting to see their love reciprocated, unless they're dating a neo-Nazi sympathizer who clubs baby seals to death just for kicks. Which you weren't. So your beau got back with his former love; good for him. She will be the one who deals with all his baggage and bullshit – not you. If he disappeared on you, he'll do it to her, too. Don't dwell on your past ignorance, but know that the thoroughly romanticized notion you have of the love that might've been is just that, a fantasy.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
About a month ago, I responded to an ad for sex that was posted on Craigslist. The guy came over to my house, we had a few drinks, watched a movie, then made out. No sex. Just a nice little make-out session and some very real longing. He could tell that this was something more than either of us had bargained for, and as soon as I started to unzip his pants, he abruptly stood up and said this was getting too "real" for him. He left, although he did say he'd call.

??
We've traded e-mails twice since then and haven't gotten together again. I think I am developing real feelings for this person. I also fear that my feelings are one-sided. I worry that this is karma getting me back for all the completely empty hookups I've had in the past.

??
– ''– A Loner, Again''

??
''Too often, we hear from readers who mistake karma for common sense. Conventional wisdom plainly says, "Don't go to an anonymous website thinking you might find true love." Maybe you couldn't have predicted the unexpected intensity that erupted in this situation, but don't for a second start to think that a pound of real passion on your part will translate to an ounce of follow-through on his.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2939) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-03-07T05:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - March 07 2007      2007-03-07T05:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I met a guy who I soon fell head over heels in love with. Everything seemed to go right in the relationship. I wasn't needy, I trusted him and gave him what I had if I had it. Everything changed when I confessed my feelings to him. About a month later, he disappeared.

??
I later found out that he was back with his ex-girlfriend and happy. I was shattered by the news. He changed his numbers and never gave me that call to formally say it was over. I never uttered an ill word about him. If he was happy, so was I. I'll admit that I wanted to tear his lover's throat out, but I kept my space.

??
Is this karma teaching me a lesson? I always used to look down on women who gave their hearts away and got all sappy with love. I was pretty level-headed through the entire fiasco; I didn't demand closure or anything. I just backed away to lick my wounds. I still love him, too. Did I deserve that pain for my past ignorance?

??
– – Lost Love

??
Nobody deserves pain for wanting to see their love reciprocated, unless they're dating a neo-Nazi sympathizer who clubs baby seals to death just for kicks. Which you weren't. So your beau got back with his former love; good for him. She will be the one who deals with all his baggage and bullshit – not you. If he disappeared on you, he'll do it to her, too. Don't dwell on your past ignorance, but know that the thoroughly romanticized notion you have of the love that might've been is just that, a fantasy.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
About a month ago, I responded to an ad for sex that was posted on Craigslist. The guy came over to my house, we had a few drinks, watched a movie, then made out. No sex. Just a nice little make-out session and some very real longing. He could tell that this was something more than either of us had bargained for, and as soon as I started to unzip his pants, he abruptly stood up and said this was getting too "real" for him. He left, although he did say he'd call.

??
We've traded e-mails twice since then and haven't gotten together again. I think I am developing real feelings for this person. I also fear that my feelings are one-sided. I worry that this is karma getting me back for all the completely empty hookups I've had in the past.

??
– – A Loner, Again

??
Too often, we hear from readers who mistake karma for common sense. Conventional wisdom plainly says, "Don't go to an anonymous website thinking you might find true love." Maybe you couldn't have predicted the unexpected intensity that erupted in this situation, but don't for a second start to think that a pound of real passion on your part will translate to an ounce of follow-through on his.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13023968 1266160                          Karma Cleanser - March 07 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday March 7, 2007 12:04 am EST
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2711) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My mother was one of the strictest parents you'd ever meet. She didn't allow me to date or wear makeup. I felt like I was in prison, and my father was a distant workaholic who never said a word to her.

??
After my father left, my mother went back to work and paid for my and my brother's college on her own. I was an ungrateful little brat still upset about the way she'd treated me. We didn't have much to say to each other when we spoke, which became less and less often. After college, I quickly moved far away from the coastal town where she lived.

??
Now I'm in my 40s and a mother myself. Meanwhile, my mother has gotten to the point where she can't live alone and my brother won't take her in. Soon, she's going to have to come live with me in a house that she's admitted that she hates. I want to tell her that this is just karma coming back on her for the way she treated me. When she does come, I want to do exactly the same things to her, but I know that's probably bad for my own karma in the long run.

??
Perhaps you should read Flannery O'Connor's short story, "Everything That Rises Must Converge." It involves a grumbling son who wants to teach his aged mother a lesson about her boorish behavior. But when that lesson unexpectedly arrives in a brutal and irreversible climax, the son is filled with regret. It's a case of "be careful of what you ask for," and also says plenty about taking mercy on those who may have wronged us.

??
– Mrs. Brady's Revenge

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My boyfriend might be addicted to porn. He says it's a natural thing that all guys do and I should just let him have some space.

??
I knew that he liked to look at that kind of stuff on the Internet. He admitted to that very soon after we started dating. One day when he was at work, I broke into his computer and found his hidden collection of images. I was also surprised by how much of it he has saved on his computer.

??
I confronted him about it and he got very mad at me. He said I'm not allowed to go near his computer again. I'm considering ending the relationship because of this. I've never actually seen him look at the porn. He's also been a very good boyfriend. But it bothers me that it's there, and that's enough, right?

??
Imagine if you'd cracked open your partner's hard drive and instead discovered a vast cache of bunny rabbits: thousands of images of Thumper and Buggs, Ricochet and Roger. You'd feel pretty guilty for invading his privacy. So why should his smut library be any different? If the bunnies aren't hopping on your relationship, it's best to let the sleeping rabbits lie.

??
– Rated Ex

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2764) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
My mother was one of the strictest parents you'd ever meet. She didn't allow me to date or wear makeup. I felt like I was in prison, and my father was a distant workaholic who never said a word to her.

??
After my father left, my mother went back to work and paid for my and my brother's college on her own. I was an ungrateful little brat still upset about the way she'd treated me. We didn't have much to say to each other when we spoke, which became less and less often. After college, I quickly moved far away from the coastal town where she lived.

??
Now I'm in my 40s and a mother myself. Meanwhile, my mother has gotten to the point where she can't live alone and my brother won't take her in. Soon, she's going to have to come live with me in a house that she's admitted that she hates. I want to tell her that this is just karma coming back on her for the way she treated me. When she does come, I want to do exactly the same things to her, but I know that's probably bad for my own karma in the long run.

??
''Perhaps you should read Flannery O'Connor's short story, "Everything That Rises Must Converge." It involves a grumbling son who wants to teach his aged mother a lesson about her boorish behavior. But when that lesson unexpectedly arrives in a brutal and irreversible climax, the son is filled with regret. It's a case of "be careful of what you ask for," and also says plenty about taking mercy on those who may have wronged us.''

??
''– Mrs. Brady's Revenge''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
My boyfriend might be addicted to porn. He says it's a natural thing that all guys do and I should just let him have some space.

??
I knew that he liked to look at that kind of stuff on the Internet. He admitted to that very soon after we started dating. One day when he was at work, I broke into his computer and found his hidden collection of images. I was also surprised by how much of it he has saved on his computer.

??
I confronted him about it and he got very mad at me. He said I'm not allowed to go near his computer again. I'm considering ending the relationship because of this. I've never actually seen him look at the porn. He's also been a very good boyfriend. But it bothers me that it's there, and that's enough, right?

??
''Imagine if you'd cracked open your partner's hard drive and instead discovered a vast cache of bunny rabbits: thousands of images of Thumper and Buggs, Ricochet and Roger. You'd feel pretty guilty for invading his privacy. So why should his smut library be any different? If the bunnies aren't hopping on your relationship, it's best to let the sleeping rabbits lie.''

??
''– Rated Ex''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2930) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-02-28T05:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - February 28 2007      2007-02-28T05:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My mother was one of the strictest parents you'd ever meet. She didn't allow me to date or wear makeup. I felt like I was in prison, and my father was a distant workaholic who never said a word to her.

??
After my father left, my mother went back to work and paid for my and my brother's college on her own. I was an ungrateful little brat still upset about the way she'd treated me. We didn't have much to say to each other when we spoke, which became less and less often. After college, I quickly moved far away from the coastal town where she lived.

??
Now I'm in my 40s and a mother myself. Meanwhile, my mother has gotten to the point where she can't live alone and my brother won't take her in. Soon, she's going to have to come live with me in a house that she's admitted that she hates. I want to tell her that this is just karma coming back on her for the way she treated me. When she does come, I want to do exactly the same things to her, but I know that's probably bad for my own karma in the long run.

??
Perhaps you should read Flannery O'Connor's short story, "Everything That Rises Must Converge." It involves a grumbling son who wants to teach his aged mother a lesson about her boorish behavior. But when that lesson unexpectedly arrives in a brutal and irreversible climax, the son is filled with regret. It's a case of "be careful of what you ask for," and also says plenty about taking mercy on those who may have wronged us.

??
– Mrs. Brady's Revenge

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My boyfriend might be addicted to porn. He says it's a natural thing that all guys do and I should just let him have some space.

??
I knew that he liked to look at that kind of stuff on the Internet. He admitted to that very soon after we started dating. One day when he was at work, I broke into his computer and found his hidden collection of images. I was also surprised by how much of it he has saved on his computer.

??
I confronted him about it and he got very mad at me. He said I'm not allowed to go near his computer again. I'm considering ending the relationship because of this. I've never actually seen him look at the porn. He's also been a very good boyfriend. But it bothers me that it's there, and that's enough, right?

??
Imagine if you'd cracked open your partner's hard drive and instead discovered a vast cache of bunny rabbits: thousands of images of Thumper and Buggs, Ricochet and Roger. You'd feel pretty guilty for invading his privacy. So why should his smut library be any different? If the bunnies aren't hopping on your relationship, it's best to let the sleeping rabbits lie.

??
– Rated Ex

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13023906 1266002                          Karma Cleanser - February 28 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday February 28, 2007 12:04 am EST
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2577) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I read with great interest the letter from "All Mixed Up," the husband who was thinking about leaving his wife and wanted to know how to avoid bad karma for doing so. I was in a similar situation myself just last year. My husband of six years started seeing a woman in his martial-arts class. Next thing I knew, they were living together and I was left to care for our two children.

??
I started seeing a therapist who gave me the advice to let go of the past and just to "bless my husband and his journey." That was exactly what I didn't want to do. But I tried it. I told my husband that he could still be part of the kids' lives and that I wished him well with his new girlfriend, even though I really wanted to throw her off a cliff.

??
Well, I guess the good karma came back to me. A year later, the woman left my husband and also wrecked his credit in the process. He's now on the verge of declaring bankruptcy and begging me to take him back. And of course, I love to see him beg. I am still not sure what to do, but I do think things would have not turned out so good for me had I been a vindictive bitch when this whole thing started.

??
–  The First Lady

??
Does "blessing his journey" include taking visceral pleasure from seeing him suffer? Oh, who are we kidding? Let the guy grovel, then give him another chance. Perhaps being drop-kicked by the other woman was exactly what your ex needed to see the good thing he lost.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
One week ago, I received a chain letter in my e-mail box. It said, "If there is someone you loved (or still do) and can't get them out of your mind, forward this letter to someone in another city within five minutes. Tonight between 1 and 4 a.m. they will remember how much they loved you as well. You will get the shock of your life tomorrow. Karma is real, just believe."

??
Knowing that I still had feelings for someone I knew in high school, I did as the letter asked. And sure enough, the next day I heard from a friend that my former flame was single again.

??
Is this really a sign from karma? What do I do next?

??
–  Been Through the Ringer

??
Karma isn't luck, nor is it God. It's more like gravity, a force that keeps the universe in balance. We're not saying that the chain letter couldn't carry some message from the cosmos — stranger things have certainly happened — but don't get karma all mixed up in your superstitious spam filter. If your old crush is single again, shoot him an e-mail. No forwards allowed.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2628) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I read with great interest the letter from "All Mixed Up," the husband who was thinking about leaving his wife and wanted to know how to avoid bad karma for doing so. I was in a similar situation myself just last year. My husband of six years started seeing a woman in his martial-arts class. Next thing I knew, they were living together and I was left to care for our two children.

??
I started seeing a therapist who gave me the advice to let go of the past and just to "bless my husband and his journey." That was exactly what I didn't want to do. But I tried it. I told my husband that he could still be part of the kids' lives and that I wished him well with his new girlfriend, even though I really wanted to throw her off a cliff.

??
Well, I guess the good karma came back to me. A year later, the woman left my husband and also wrecked his credit in the process. He's now on the verge of declaring bankruptcy and begging me to take him back. And of course, I love to see him beg. I am still not sure what to do, but I do think things would have not turned out so good for me had I been a vindictive bitch when this whole thing started.

??
– '' The First Lady''

??
''Does "blessing his journey" include taking visceral pleasure from seeing him suffer? Oh, who are we kidding? Let the guy grovel, then give him another chance. Perhaps being drop-kicked by the other woman was exactly what your ex needed to see the good thing he lost.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
One week ago, I received a chain letter in my e-mail box. It said, "If there is someone you loved (or still do) and can't get them out of your mind, forward this letter to someone in another city within five minutes. Tonight between 1 and 4 a.m. they will remember how much they loved you as well. You will get the shock of your life tomorrow. Karma is real, just believe."

??
Knowing that I still had feelings for someone I knew in high school, I did as the letter asked. And sure enough, the next day I heard from a friend that my former flame was single again.

??
Is this really a sign from karma? What do I do next?

??
– '' Been Through the Ringer''

??
''Karma isn't luck, nor is it God. It's more like gravity, a force that keeps the universe in balance. We're not saying that the chain letter couldn't carry some message from the cosmos -- stranger things have certainly happened -- but don't get karma all mixed up in your superstitious spam filter. If your old crush is single again, shoot him an e-mail. No forwards allowed.''

??
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  string(2796) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-02-21T05:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - February 21 2007      2007-02-21T05:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I read with great interest the letter from "All Mixed Up," the husband who was thinking about leaving his wife and wanted to know how to avoid bad karma for doing so. I was in a similar situation myself just last year. My husband of six years started seeing a woman in his martial-arts class. Next thing I knew, they were living together and I was left to care for our two children.

??
I started seeing a therapist who gave me the advice to let go of the past and just to "bless my husband and his journey." That was exactly what I didn't want to do. But I tried it. I told my husband that he could still be part of the kids' lives and that I wished him well with his new girlfriend, even though I really wanted to throw her off a cliff.

??
Well, I guess the good karma came back to me. A year later, the woman left my husband and also wrecked his credit in the process. He's now on the verge of declaring bankruptcy and begging me to take him back. And of course, I love to see him beg. I am still not sure what to do, but I do think things would have not turned out so good for me had I been a vindictive bitch when this whole thing started.

??
–  The First Lady

??
Does "blessing his journey" include taking visceral pleasure from seeing him suffer? Oh, who are we kidding? Let the guy grovel, then give him another chance. Perhaps being drop-kicked by the other woman was exactly what your ex needed to see the good thing he lost.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
One week ago, I received a chain letter in my e-mail box. It said, "If there is someone you loved (or still do) and can't get them out of your mind, forward this letter to someone in another city within five minutes. Tonight between 1 and 4 a.m. they will remember how much they loved you as well. You will get the shock of your life tomorrow. Karma is real, just believe."

??
Knowing that I still had feelings for someone I knew in high school, I did as the letter asked. And sure enough, the next day I heard from a friend that my former flame was single again.

??
Is this really a sign from karma? What do I do next?

??
–  Been Through the Ringer

??
Karma isn't luck, nor is it God. It's more like gravity, a force that keeps the universe in balance. We're not saying that the chain letter couldn't carry some message from the cosmos — stranger things have certainly happened — but don't get karma all mixed up in your superstitious spam filter. If your old crush is single again, shoot him an e-mail. No forwards allowed.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13023848 1265856                          Karma Cleanser - February 21 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday February 21, 2007 12:04 am EST
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2662) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
While vacationing in the Caribbean, I had several crazy nights out in bars. I was partying with my friend Sandy, who lives on the island, and she knew all the hot spots. I had quite a few hookups with guys I hardly knew. I'm not like that when I'm home; being there just seemed to free something in myself that I'd never really tapped into before.

??
But as my grandmother used to say, if you play, you pay. A few weeks after I came home from vacation, I found out I had an STD. Nothing fatal, thank the gods, but something that's contagious and needs several treatments to be cured. I will never know exactly where I caught the STD, nor who I gave it to. Because these guys live in such an inaccessible place, I'm not sure I could ever get in touch with them to warn them about the disease.

??
I'm confessing this now in hopes that my already-screwed karma can somehow benefit. I feel completely guilty and regret ever going on the trip.

??
– -- Clap Your Hands, Say No Thanks

??
The steamy island climate has turned many a sober sister into a swashbuckling bar wench. Your STD is an unfortunate side effect of this newfound liberation, and certainly a clue that all exploration must be tempered with moderation. Tell Sandy about your unhappy discovery and ask that she spread the news to the men you bagged down south.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I married a man who I knew I wasn't in love with. I think he knew how I felt, but he was good to me and good to my young daughter. A few years went by and I found myself dreaming of a different life for myself and my child, but I knew that I couldn't leave this man because he would be heartbroken and lost without me. We were comfortable in our arrangement and even started talking about having more kids.

??
This Christmas, my husband announced suddenly that he's moving back to his hometown in Maine. His mother is ill and he wants to be close to her. He presented this not as, "Will you go there with me," but more of "I'm leaving and this is the end of us." I didn't expect to feel so heartbroken and shocked.

??
Now, I miss him dearly. Is this just karma coming back at me for the way I entered into the marriage? If so, how can I get back the man I never thought I wanted?

??
– -- Being Single in the Suburbs

??
Do you really miss him, or do you just miss having someone? Sounds to us like you've been more caught up in security rather than a search for your soul mate. Look at the timing of your husband's exit as a gift from the universe, a difficult but indispensable test to make you both realize where your bliss truly lies.

??
been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2723) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
While vacationing in the Caribbean, I had several crazy nights out in bars. I was partying with my friend Sandy, who lives on the island, and she knew all the hot spots. I had quite a few hookups with guys I hardly knew. I'm not like that when I'm home; being there just seemed to free something in myself that I'd never really tapped into before.

??
But as my grandmother used to say, if you play, you pay. A few weeks after I came home from vacation, I found out I had an STD. Nothing fatal, thank the gods, but something that's contagious and needs several treatments to be cured. I will never know exactly where I caught the STD, nor who I gave it to. Because these guys live in such an inaccessible place, I'm not sure I could ever get in touch with them to warn them about the disease.

??
I'm confessing this now in hopes that my already-screwed karma can somehow benefit. I feel completely guilty and regret ever going on the trip.

??
– ''-- Clap Your Hands, Say No Thanks''

??
''The steamy island climate has turned many a sober sister into a swashbuckling bar wench. Your STD is an unfortunate side effect of this newfound liberation, and certainly a clue that all exploration must be tempered with moderation. Tell Sandy about your unhappy discovery and ask that she spread the news to the men you bagged down south.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I married a man who I knew I wasn't in love with. I think he knew how I felt, but he was good to me and good to my young daughter. A few years went by and I found myself dreaming of a different life for myself and my child, but I knew that I couldn't leave this man because he would be heartbroken and lost without me. We were comfortable in our arrangement and even started talking about having more kids.

??
This Christmas, my husband announced suddenly that he's moving back to his hometown in Maine. His mother is ill and he wants to be close to her. He presented this not as, "Will you go there with me," but more of "I'm leaving and this is the end of us." I didn't expect to feel so heartbroken and shocked.

??
Now, I miss him dearly. Is this just karma coming back at me for the way I entered into the marriage? If so, how can I get back the man I never thought I wanted?

??
– ''-- Being Single in the Suburbs''

??
''Do you really miss him, or do you just miss having someone? Sounds to us like you've been more caught up in security rather than a search for your soul mate. Look at the timing of your husband's exit as a gift from the universe, a difficult but indispensable test to make you both realize where your bliss truly lies.''

??
''been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2881) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-02-14T05:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - February 14 2007      2007-02-14T05:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
While vacationing in the Caribbean, I had several crazy nights out in bars. I was partying with my friend Sandy, who lives on the island, and she knew all the hot spots. I had quite a few hookups with guys I hardly knew. I'm not like that when I'm home; being there just seemed to free something in myself that I'd never really tapped into before.

??
But as my grandmother used to say, if you play, you pay. A few weeks after I came home from vacation, I found out I had an STD. Nothing fatal, thank the gods, but something that's contagious and needs several treatments to be cured. I will never know exactly where I caught the STD, nor who I gave it to. Because these guys live in such an inaccessible place, I'm not sure I could ever get in touch with them to warn them about the disease.

??
I'm confessing this now in hopes that my already-screwed karma can somehow benefit. I feel completely guilty and regret ever going on the trip.

??
– -- Clap Your Hands, Say No Thanks

??
The steamy island climate has turned many a sober sister into a swashbuckling bar wench. Your STD is an unfortunate side effect of this newfound liberation, and certainly a clue that all exploration must be tempered with moderation. Tell Sandy about your unhappy discovery and ask that she spread the news to the men you bagged down south.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I married a man who I knew I wasn't in love with. I think he knew how I felt, but he was good to me and good to my young daughter. A few years went by and I found myself dreaming of a different life for myself and my child, but I knew that I couldn't leave this man because he would be heartbroken and lost without me. We were comfortable in our arrangement and even started talking about having more kids.

??
This Christmas, my husband announced suddenly that he's moving back to his hometown in Maine. His mother is ill and he wants to be close to her. He presented this not as, "Will you go there with me," but more of "I'm leaving and this is the end of us." I didn't expect to feel so heartbroken and shocked.

??
Now, I miss him dearly. Is this just karma coming back at me for the way I entered into the marriage? If so, how can I get back the man I never thought I wanted?

??
– -- Being Single in the Suburbs

??
Do you really miss him, or do you just miss having someone? Sounds to us like you've been more caught up in security rather than a search for your soul mate. Look at the timing of your husband's exit as a gift from the universe, a difficult but indispensable test to make you both realize where your bliss truly lies.

??
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday February 14, 2007 12:04 am EST
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2772) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I've been in a tumultuous marriage for 10 years. We have a 6-year-old daughter. In many ways, my wife and I are still a great match. People who know us always talk about what a great couple we are, blah blah blah. When we're around others, everything is all hunky-dory. And we're good coparents, very much on the same wavelength on our daughter's upbringing.

??
But (and there's always a "but," isn't there?) over the years, some fundamental differences have grown and festered to the point where we're both depressed and very unhappy. Attempts have been made to deal with these issues, but nothing sticks and we're back where we started, only ever more bleak. There is festering anger and resentment that threatens to consume the marriage eventually.

??
So I guess I was ripe for what happened. I have fallen in love with another woman, and now I'm ready to leave my wife. I feel like I have to for my own mental health. And for her mental health, too, though that won't be apparent when I break the news to her. It is my intention to take an apartment in my current neighborhood and to stay actively involved in raising my daughter. And it's my intention to fork over whatever money I can possibly afford each month to make sure my wife doesn't take too much of a financial hit.

??
But it will break her heart, at least initially. And I can't help but wonder if I am I setting myself up for some serious karmic retribution. I'm doing everything I can think of to minimize the blow (and she doesn't know about the other woman, nor will she until long after the sting has passed).

??
– -- All Mixed Up

??
We're taking a break from our normal two-letter format to give your predicament the proper amount of breathing room. And what a quandary it is, so familiar yet also unique in its Tolstoyian unhappiness. The short, easy answer is: Leave. If the dynamic with your spouse has deteriorated as much as you say, then that toxic air will contaminate the whole household, if it already hasn't. Yes, there will be karma on both sides of the equation — how could there not be? — but now that you've decided to go, leave before you doubt your gut.

??
The longer, harder answer, and the one you won't want to hear, is to also break it off with the new woman. Not forever, but at least for now. You're going to have enough knives in the air these next few months to also juggle a fire baton, and that's what this new relationship will be — ripe with passion, but also danger. Sit it aside while you sort out the situation at home. Seriously.

??
Remember what we said earlier about breathing room? For the sake of karma — and the kid, and your wife — give that gift to yourself.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2804) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I've been in a tumultuous marriage for 10 years. We have a 6-year-old daughter. In many ways, my wife and I are still a great match. People who know us always talk about what a great couple we are, blah blah blah. When we're around others, everything is all hunky-dory. And we're good coparents, very much on the same wavelength on our daughter's upbringing.

??
But (and there's always a "but," isn't there?) over the years, some fundamental differences have grown and festered to the point where we're both depressed and very unhappy. Attempts have been made to deal with these issues, but nothing sticks and we're back where we started, only ever more bleak. There is festering anger and resentment that threatens to consume the marriage eventually.

??
So I guess I was ripe for what happened. I have fallen in love with another woman, and now I'm ready to leave my wife. I feel like I have to for my own mental health. And for her mental health, too, though that won't be apparent when I break the news to her. It is my intention to take an apartment in my current neighborhood and to stay actively involved in raising my daughter. And it's my intention to fork over whatever money I can possibly afford each month to make sure my wife doesn't take too much of a financial hit.

??
But it will break her heart, at least initially. And I can't help but wonder if I am I setting myself up for some serious karmic retribution. I'm doing everything I can think of to minimize the blow (and she doesn't know about the other woman, nor will she until long after the sting has passed).

??
– ''-- All Mixed Up''

??
''We're taking a break from our normal two-letter format to give your predicament the proper amount of breathing room. And what a quandary it is, so familiar yet also unique in its Tolstoyian unhappiness. The short, easy answer is: Leave. If the dynamic with your spouse has deteriorated as much as you say, then that toxic air will contaminate the whole household, if it already hasn't. Yes, there will be karma on both sides of the equation -- how could there not be? -- but now that you've decided to go, leave before you doubt your gut.''

??
''The longer, harder answer, and the one you won't want to hear, is to also break it off with the new woman. Not forever, but at least for now. You're going to have enough knives in the air these next few months to also juggle a fire baton, and that's what this new relationship will be -- ripe with passion, but also danger. Sit it aside while you sort out the situation at home. Seriously.''

??
''Remember what we said earlier about breathing room? For the sake of karma -- and the kid, and your wife -- give that gift to yourself.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2991) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-02-07T05:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - February 07 2007      2007-02-07T05:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I've been in a tumultuous marriage for 10 years. We have a 6-year-old daughter. In many ways, my wife and I are still a great match. People who know us always talk about what a great couple we are, blah blah blah. When we're around others, everything is all hunky-dory. And we're good coparents, very much on the same wavelength on our daughter's upbringing.

??
But (and there's always a "but," isn't there?) over the years, some fundamental differences have grown and festered to the point where we're both depressed and very unhappy. Attempts have been made to deal with these issues, but nothing sticks and we're back where we started, only ever more bleak. There is festering anger and resentment that threatens to consume the marriage eventually.

??
So I guess I was ripe for what happened. I have fallen in love with another woman, and now I'm ready to leave my wife. I feel like I have to for my own mental health. And for her mental health, too, though that won't be apparent when I break the news to her. It is my intention to take an apartment in my current neighborhood and to stay actively involved in raising my daughter. And it's my intention to fork over whatever money I can possibly afford each month to make sure my wife doesn't take too much of a financial hit.

??
But it will break her heart, at least initially. And I can't help but wonder if I am I setting myself up for some serious karmic retribution. I'm doing everything I can think of to minimize the blow (and she doesn't know about the other woman, nor will she until long after the sting has passed).

??
– -- All Mixed Up

??
We're taking a break from our normal two-letter format to give your predicament the proper amount of breathing room. And what a quandary it is, so familiar yet also unique in its Tolstoyian unhappiness. The short, easy answer is: Leave. If the dynamic with your spouse has deteriorated as much as you say, then that toxic air will contaminate the whole household, if it already hasn't. Yes, there will be karma on both sides of the equation — how could there not be? — but now that you've decided to go, leave before you doubt your gut.

??
The longer, harder answer, and the one you won't want to hear, is to also break it off with the new woman. Not forever, but at least for now. You're going to have enough knives in the air these next few months to also juggle a fire baton, and that's what this new relationship will be — ripe with passion, but also danger. Sit it aside while you sort out the situation at home. Seriously.

??
Remember what we said earlier about breathing room? For the sake of karma — and the kid, and your wife — give that gift to yourself.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13023722 1265513                          Karma Cleanser - February 07 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday February 7, 2007 12:04 am EST
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2687) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I am a student at a culinary school. I live on campus and work at the front desk as a work study. During the day, a school staff member sits at the desk and security officers come in at night.

??
Last week, I overheard the front desk worker complaining about the night officer. She had logged into the desk computer to get a code for a student to get into his room; I know this because I was standing with the student when he came in. The officer called to get the code from the security office but their system was down, so instead of making my friend wait, the officer just got the code from the computer at the desk. The front desk manager was livid because the computer had been touched.

??
The front desk manager and I spend our work time on the computer watching DVDs and searching Internet chat rooms, none of which is school-related. Anyway, the security officer quit, I believe because her boss wrote her up for using the computer.

??
Is my karma shot because I remained silent or does the better good understand that I really need my easy job?

??
– -- Chef Life

??
Hypocrisy is indeed a bitter ingredient in any dish, and your manager friend has just cooked up a steaming wok full of it. This should be a lesson for you as to what kind of person you're sharing your days with. The so-called "better good" wants to know why you didn't defend the officer, especially when you were a bystander to the whole incident. Redeem your karma by baking her something sweet, and by skipping the next DVD party with your two-faced manager.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
If someone asked me how my life is going right now, I would have to say it's good. I've got a good, well-paying job, a cute apartment and a dog who loves me. On the outside, it looks like things are going great. On the inside, I'm rather miserable.

??
I think it's because I no longer believe in the work that I'm doing. I figured out that something I once thought was true is actually false, and therefore all the work I'm doing ultimately serves an artificial purpose. (Don't ask: I know I'm being obtuse but you just have to trust me that it's not a good place for me to be in.) How can I get my job karma back on a good vibration?

??
– -- Lost in an Office Park

??
The Karma Cleanser recently took the time to read the apocryphal Gospel of St. Thomas (as you put it, don't ask), which includes this advice: "Don't lie, and don't do what you hate, because all things will be disclosed before heaven." Heed that wisdom. Stop doing the thing you hate, and start looking for greater truths from unexpected, even officially unsanctioned, sources.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2748) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I am a student at a culinary school. I live on campus and work at the front desk as a work study. During the day, a school staff member sits at the desk and security officers come in at night.

??
Last week, I overheard the front desk worker complaining about the night officer. She had logged into the desk computer to get a code for a student to get into his room; I know this because I was standing with the student when he came in. The officer called to get the code from the security office but their system was down, so instead of making my friend wait, the officer just got the code from the computer at the desk. The front desk manager was livid because the computer had been touched.

??
The front desk manager and I spend our work time on the computer watching DVDs and searching Internet chat rooms, none of which is school-related. Anyway, the security officer quit, I believe because her boss wrote her up for using the computer.

??
Is my karma shot because I remained silent or does the better good understand that I really need my easy job?

??
– ''-- Chef Life''

??
''Hypocrisy is indeed a bitter ingredient in any dish, and your manager friend has just cooked up a steaming wok full of it. This should be a lesson for you as to what kind of person you're sharing your days with. The so-called "better good" wants to know why you didn't defend the officer, especially when you were a bystander to the whole incident. Redeem your karma by baking her something sweet, and by skipping the next DVD party with your two-faced manager.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
If someone asked me how my life is going right now, I would have to say it's good. I've got a good, well-paying job, a cute apartment and a dog who loves me. On the outside, it looks like things are going great. On the inside, I'm rather miserable.

??
I think it's because I no longer believe in the work that I'm doing. I figured out that something I once thought was true is actually false, and therefore all the work I'm doing ultimately serves an artificial purpose. (Don't ask: I know I'm being obtuse but you just have to trust me that it's not a good place for me to be in.) How can I get my job karma back on a good vibration?

??
– ''-- Lost in an Office Park''

??
''The Karma Cleanser recently took the time to read the apocryphal Gospel of St. Thomas (as you put it, don't ask), which includes this advice: "Don't lie, and don't do what you hate, because all things will be disclosed before heaven." Heed that wisdom. Stop doing the thing you hate, and start looking for greater truths from unexpected, even officially unsanctioned, sources.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2904) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-01-31T05:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - January 31 2007      2007-01-31T05:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I am a student at a culinary school. I live on campus and work at the front desk as a work study. During the day, a school staff member sits at the desk and security officers come in at night.

??
Last week, I overheard the front desk worker complaining about the night officer. She had logged into the desk computer to get a code for a student to get into his room; I know this because I was standing with the student when he came in. The officer called to get the code from the security office but their system was down, so instead of making my friend wait, the officer just got the code from the computer at the desk. The front desk manager was livid because the computer had been touched.

??
The front desk manager and I spend our work time on the computer watching DVDs and searching Internet chat rooms, none of which is school-related. Anyway, the security officer quit, I believe because her boss wrote her up for using the computer.

??
Is my karma shot because I remained silent or does the better good understand that I really need my easy job?

??
– -- Chef Life

??
Hypocrisy is indeed a bitter ingredient in any dish, and your manager friend has just cooked up a steaming wok full of it. This should be a lesson for you as to what kind of person you're sharing your days with. The so-called "better good" wants to know why you didn't defend the officer, especially when you were a bystander to the whole incident. Redeem your karma by baking her something sweet, and by skipping the next DVD party with your two-faced manager.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
If someone asked me how my life is going right now, I would have to say it's good. I've got a good, well-paying job, a cute apartment and a dog who loves me. On the outside, it looks like things are going great. On the inside, I'm rather miserable.

??
I think it's because I no longer believe in the work that I'm doing. I figured out that something I once thought was true is actually false, and therefore all the work I'm doing ultimately serves an artificial purpose. (Don't ask: I know I'm being obtuse but you just have to trust me that it's not a good place for me to be in.) How can I get my job karma back on a good vibration?

??
– -- Lost in an Office Park

??
The Karma Cleanser recently took the time to read the apocryphal Gospel of St. Thomas (as you put it, don't ask), which includes this advice: "Don't lie, and don't do what you hate, because all things will be disclosed before heaven." Heed that wisdom. Stop doing the thing you hate, and start looking for greater truths from unexpected, even officially unsanctioned, sources.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13023654 1265350                          Karma Cleanser - January 31 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday January 31, 2007 12:04 am EST
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2863) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
For 13 years, I gave money to a woman who regularly came to my house to beg. Last summer, things escalated and she was at my home three or four times a week. One day, she was waiting on my porch for a handout when my neighbor asked, "So, when are y'all going on vacation?" The woman then said, "So when are you going on vacation?" I didn't say, but for the first time she demanded a restroom. I acquiesced. (She's much larger than me.) The next day, a car that I can connect with her was parked in front of my home, surrounded by four young men. They didn't notice us until my child and I were walking toward our home, at which point they leapt into the car and sped off, as did a car across the street manned by two young women.

??
That day, I went to the police station and asked for extra patrols while we were gone on vacation. About two months later, the woman appeared at my door. I waved her away, but she just kept knocking. About 30 minutes went by and she returned, and the knocking and ringing began again.

??
I called the police, asking that they tell her to leave me in peace. Unfortunately, she had two outstanding warrants against her, and they carried her off to jail — not my intent whatsoever.

??
After 13 years of kindness, I got physically scared for me and my child. Will I be in karma hell? Did I do wrong? I never meant to get her arrested.

??
– -- Guilt, Guilt, Guilt!

??
Your karma is gold, perhaps even platinum, for showing so much charity to this obviously deranged person. Your mistake was a lack of moderation. Some spiritual teachers tell us to "give until it hurts," but in this case your giving ended up hurting both parties. Should the woman show up again, bless her for her perseverance, but let her know that your donations are now going to an agency.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I've been reading your answers ever since I moved back to the South and started picking up the paper, and I've noticed something. You write about karma and retribution and yet there's never any discussion of reincarnation. Why is that?

??
I did not believe in reincarnation until I started dating someone who has vivid recollections of a past life. She and I knew each other when I lived here years ago though we only started a romantic relationship when I came back to the city. She also enjoys your column a lot but feels like the reincarnation element is a vital part of karma.

??
– -- History Repeating

??
Thanks for reading, and welcome back. We suspect you're fixated on the reincarnation angle because it speaks to your own experience of returning to a place that you once left, and we all want to discover our own autobiographies in everything we read. The Karma Cleanser tends to focus singularly on this life at hand. Really, isn't that enough to manage?

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2919) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
For 13 years, I gave money to a woman who regularly came to my house to beg. Last summer, things escalated and she was at my home three or four times a week. One day, she was waiting on my porch for a handout when my neighbor asked, "So, when are y'all going on vacation?" The woman then said, "So when are you going on vacation?" I didn't say, but for the first time she demanded a restroom. I acquiesced. (She's much larger than me.) The next day, a car that I can connect with her was parked in front of my home, surrounded by four young men. They didn't notice us until my child and I were walking toward our home, at which point they leapt into the car and sped off, as did a car across the street manned by two young women.

??
That day, I went to the police station and asked for extra patrols while we were gone on vacation. About two months later, the woman appeared at my door. I waved her away, but she just kept knocking. About 30 minutes went by and she returned, and the knocking and ringing began again.

??
I called the police, asking that they tell her to leave me in peace. Unfortunately, she had two outstanding warrants against her, and they carried her off to jail -- not my intent whatsoever.

??
After 13 years of kindness, I got physically scared for me and my child. Will I be in karma hell? Did I do wrong? I never meant to get her arrested.

??
– ''-- Guilt, Guilt, Guilt!''

??
''Your karma is gold, perhaps even platinum, for showing so much charity to this obviously deranged person. Your mistake was a lack of moderation. Some spiritual teachers tell us to "give until it hurts," but in this case your giving ended up hurting both parties. Should the woman show up again, bless her for her perseverance, but let her know that your donations are now going to an agency.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I've been reading your answers ever since I moved back to the South and started picking up the paper, and I've noticed something. You write about karma and retribution and yet there's never any discussion of reincarnation. Why is that?

??
I did not believe in reincarnation until I started dating someone who has vivid recollections of a past life. She and I knew each other when I lived here years ago though we only started a romantic relationship when I came back to the city. She also enjoys your column a lot but feels like the reincarnation element is a vital part of karma.

??
– ''-- History Repeating''

??
''Thanks for reading, and welcome back. We suspect you're fixated on the reincarnation angle because it speaks to your own experience of returning to a place that you once left, and we all want to discover our own autobiographies in everything we read. The Karma Cleanser tends to focus singularly on this life at hand. Really, isn't that enough to manage?''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(3080) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-01-24T05:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - January 24 2007      2007-01-24T05:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
For 13 years, I gave money to a woman who regularly came to my house to beg. Last summer, things escalated and she was at my home three or four times a week. One day, she was waiting on my porch for a handout when my neighbor asked, "So, when are y'all going on vacation?" The woman then said, "So when are you going on vacation?" I didn't say, but for the first time she demanded a restroom. I acquiesced. (She's much larger than me.) The next day, a car that I can connect with her was parked in front of my home, surrounded by four young men. They didn't notice us until my child and I were walking toward our home, at which point they leapt into the car and sped off, as did a car across the street manned by two young women.

??
That day, I went to the police station and asked for extra patrols while we were gone on vacation. About two months later, the woman appeared at my door. I waved her away, but she just kept knocking. About 30 minutes went by and she returned, and the knocking and ringing began again.

??
I called the police, asking that they tell her to leave me in peace. Unfortunately, she had two outstanding warrants against her, and they carried her off to jail — not my intent whatsoever.

??
After 13 years of kindness, I got physically scared for me and my child. Will I be in karma hell? Did I do wrong? I never meant to get her arrested.

??
– -- Guilt, Guilt, Guilt!

??
Your karma is gold, perhaps even platinum, for showing so much charity to this obviously deranged person. Your mistake was a lack of moderation. Some spiritual teachers tell us to "give until it hurts," but in this case your giving ended up hurting both parties. Should the woman show up again, bless her for her perseverance, but let her know that your donations are now going to an agency.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I've been reading your answers ever since I moved back to the South and started picking up the paper, and I've noticed something. You write about karma and retribution and yet there's never any discussion of reincarnation. Why is that?

??
I did not believe in reincarnation until I started dating someone who has vivid recollections of a past life. She and I knew each other when I lived here years ago though we only started a romantic relationship when I came back to the city. She also enjoys your column a lot but feels like the reincarnation element is a vital part of karma.

??
– -- History Repeating

??
Thanks for reading, and welcome back. We suspect you're fixated on the reincarnation angle because it speaks to your own experience of returning to a place that you once left, and we all want to discover our own autobiographies in everything we read. The Karma Cleanser tends to focus singularly on this life at hand. Really, isn't that enough to manage?

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13023600 1265213                          Karma Cleanser - January 24 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday January 24, 2007 12:04 am EST
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2570) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
In response to "Stop It, You're Both Pretty" (in which old friends Anne and Beulah had gotten their other friends tangled up in their fight): I was on the opposite side of the same argument. I got into a fight with my best friend from high school, and it ended up costing me not only her friendship, but also my relationship, my apartment and almost $2,000 in legal bills.

??
Looking back on it now, the story sounds ridiculous, but my best friend and I were fighting at first over a boy, then things got ugly when she stopped paying me the rent she owed me. (She was also my roommate.) I finally told her not to worry about the money she owed me as long as we could stay friends. She said that was fine — but then went out of her way to sleep with my new boyfriend to get her "revenge." That's when I sued her.

??
A year later, I am living in a trailer and have no friends left. I think my karma has been permanently scarred by the fight and its aftermath. How can I now get back on my feet?

??
– -- Double-Crossed in a Double-Wide

??
We're not buying your story, partly because you obviously believe that you were completely blameless in all of this, and also because two grand sounds awfully low for a lengthy legal battle. Your karma will recover once you admit your own fault in the fractured friendship.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I was at the airport when I sat my bag down on a chair and turned to check on my departing flight. I came back to the chair and saw that my bag was open. My cell phone and day planner had both been nicked — all in the course of about four minutes.

??
I reported the incident to security, and they said this kind of thing happens all the time. I didn't have time to stick around and file a report because I was about to miss my flight.

??
On the plane, an elderly gentleman was sitting next to me. I was pretty mad the whole flight and relieved when the man didn't try to talk to me. After we landed, he got off the plane before me, and when he left, I noticed that his wallet was in his seat. I caught up with him in the terminal and gave it back to him. He was so happy, he gave me $50 on the spot.

??
I guess you could say this is karma in action, though the $50 doesn't quite cover the cost of a new cell phone.

??
– -- First in Flight

??
Kudos to you for not keeping the wallet, as tempting as it may have been. You were doubly fortunate, because we'd usually gladly pay the person next to us 50 bucks just to keep quiet the whole flight.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2621) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
In response to "Stop It, You're Both Pretty" (in which old friends Anne and Beulah had gotten their other friends tangled up in their fight): I was on the opposite side of the same argument. I got into a fight with my best friend from high school, and it ended up costing me not only her friendship, but also my relationship, my apartment and almost $2,000 in legal bills.

??
Looking back on it now, the story sounds ridiculous, but my best friend and I were fighting at first over a boy, then things got ugly when she stopped paying me the rent she owed me. (She was also my roommate.) I finally told her not to worry about the money she owed me as long as we could stay friends. She said that was fine -- but then went out of her way to sleep with my new boyfriend to get her "revenge." That's when I sued her.

??
A year later, I am living in a trailer and have no friends left. I think my karma has been permanently scarred by the fight and its aftermath. How can I now get back on my feet?

??
– ''-- Double-Crossed in a Double-Wide''

??
''We're not buying your story, partly because you obviously believe that you were completely blameless in all of this, and also because two grand sounds awfully low for a lengthy legal battle. Your karma will recover once you admit your own fault in the fractured friendship.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I was at the airport when I sat my bag down on a chair and turned to check on my departing flight. I came back to the chair and saw that my bag was open. My cell phone and day planner had both been nicked -- all in the course of about four minutes.

??
I reported the incident to security, and they said this kind of thing happens all the time. I didn't have time to stick around and file a report because I was about to miss my flight.

??
On the plane, an elderly gentleman was sitting next to me. I was pretty mad the whole flight and relieved when the man didn't try to talk to me. After we landed, he got off the plane before me, and when he left, I noticed that his wallet was in his seat. I caught up with him in the terminal and gave it back to him. He was so happy, he gave me $50 on the spot.

??
I guess you could say this is karma in action, though the $50 doesn't quite cover the cost of a new cell phone.

??
– ''-- First in Flight''

??
''Kudos to you for not keeping the wallet, as tempting as it may have been. You were doubly fortunate, because we'd usually gladly pay the person next to us 50 bucks just to keep quiet the whole flight.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2787) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-01-10T05:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - January 10 2007      2007-01-10T05:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
In response to "Stop It, You're Both Pretty" (in which old friends Anne and Beulah had gotten their other friends tangled up in their fight): I was on the opposite side of the same argument. I got into a fight with my best friend from high school, and it ended up costing me not only her friendship, but also my relationship, my apartment and almost $2,000 in legal bills.

??
Looking back on it now, the story sounds ridiculous, but my best friend and I were fighting at first over a boy, then things got ugly when she stopped paying me the rent she owed me. (She was also my roommate.) I finally told her not to worry about the money she owed me as long as we could stay friends. She said that was fine — but then went out of her way to sleep with my new boyfriend to get her "revenge." That's when I sued her.

??
A year later, I am living in a trailer and have no friends left. I think my karma has been permanently scarred by the fight and its aftermath. How can I now get back on my feet?

??
– -- Double-Crossed in a Double-Wide

??
We're not buying your story, partly because you obviously believe that you were completely blameless in all of this, and also because two grand sounds awfully low for a lengthy legal battle. Your karma will recover once you admit your own fault in the fractured friendship.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I was at the airport when I sat my bag down on a chair and turned to check on my departing flight. I came back to the chair and saw that my bag was open. My cell phone and day planner had both been nicked — all in the course of about four minutes.

??
I reported the incident to security, and they said this kind of thing happens all the time. I didn't have time to stick around and file a report because I was about to miss my flight.

??
On the plane, an elderly gentleman was sitting next to me. I was pretty mad the whole flight and relieved when the man didn't try to talk to me. After we landed, he got off the plane before me, and when he left, I noticed that his wallet was in his seat. I caught up with him in the terminal and gave it back to him. He was so happy, he gave me $50 on the spot.

??
I guess you could say this is karma in action, though the $50 doesn't quite cover the cost of a new cell phone.

??
– -- First in Flight

??
Kudos to you for not keeping the wallet, as tempting as it may have been. You were doubly fortunate, because we'd usually gladly pay the person next to us 50 bucks just to keep quiet the whole flight.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13023471 1264926                          Karma Cleanser - January 10 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday January 10, 2007 12:04 am EST
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2483) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

I have a question about contemporary etiquette. I was invited to a holiday party and decided to attend, RSVP-ing by phone hours beforehand.

At the party, someone stole the selection of imported beer I brought. No one would tell me what brand of radiator fluid was used to sweeten the two sick beers I was able to scrounge out of the cooler with the scowling plaid-shirted lady sitting on it.

Later, noticing I had been drugged or gassed with something, I started mumbling under my breath about the situation, cursing the wait until whatever had screwed me had worn off so I could drive home.

After several people had introduced themselves to me as the same person and I was temporarily blinded by a flash and at the same time orally assaulted by what I hope was a rolled napkin, I managed to walk outside and drive home unimpaired. Should I send a thank-you note for the party by e-mail or is a letter required to be socially correct?

– -- Dazed and Confused

Goodness. We'll resist saying that you deserve the abuse for not having the courtesy to RSVP sooner. Instead, we suggest that you do send the host a note — e-mail or otherwise — listing your grievances and asking for an explanation. Who was throwing this party anyway, the Duke lacrosse team?

Dear Karma Cleanser:

This has been a not-so-great year for me. In fact, I think that 2006 is the worst year of my life yet. I turned 28 last January and on the day after my birthday, there was a fire in my apartment building. My unit wasn't burned, thankfully, but the smoke damage meant that I had to move out. Later, the building was condemned.

I was sleeping on my best friend's couch. Then he found out that he had cancer and asked if I could find somewhere else to stay. The spring and summer went by without anything big happening, but then my company abruptly shut down and everyone was fired. I'm starting 2007 broke and single, with no job and having to depend on friends for a place to stay. How can I set my karma straight to make this year better than the last?

– -- Crystal Ball

Sounds like you're going through a classic astrological Saturn Return. (Google it for details.) The good news: You're turning 29 this month, which means a whole new set of challenges and opportunities. This bumpy slide into 30 happens to everyone. It may sound trite, but hang in there. As your best friend might point out, at least you don't have cancer.

Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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I have a question about contemporary etiquette. I was invited to a holiday party and decided to attend, RSVP-ing by phone hours beforehand.

At the party, someone stole the selection of imported beer I brought. No one would tell me what brand of radiator fluid was used to sweeten the two sick beers I was able to scrounge out of the cooler with the scowling plaid-shirted lady sitting on it.

Later, noticing I had been drugged or gassed with something, I started mumbling under my breath about the situation, cursing the wait until whatever had screwed me had worn off so I could drive home.

After several people had introduced themselves to me as the same person and I was temporarily blinded by a flash and at the same time orally assaulted by what I hope was a rolled napkin, I managed to walk outside and drive home unimpaired. Should I send a thank-you note for the party by e-mail or is a letter required to be socially correct?

– ''-- Dazed and Confused''

''Goodness. We'll resist saying that you deserve the abuse for not having the courtesy to RSVP sooner. Instead, we suggest that you do send the host a note -- e-mail or otherwise -- listing your grievances and asking for an explanation. Who was throwing this party anyway, the Duke lacrosse team?''

__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

This has been a not-so-great year for me. In fact, I think that 2006 is the worst year of my life yet. I turned 28 last January and on the day after my birthday, there was a fire in my apartment building. My unit wasn't burned, thankfully, but the smoke damage meant that I had to move out. Later, the building was condemned.

I was sleeping on my best friend's couch. Then he found out that he had cancer and asked if I could find somewhere else to stay. The spring and summer went by without anything big happening, but then my company abruptly shut down and everyone was fired. I'm starting 2007 broke and single, with no job and having to depend on friends for a place to stay. How can I set my karma straight to make this year better than the last?

– ''-- Crystal Ball''

''Sounds like you're going through a classic astrological Saturn Return. (Google it for details.) The good news: You're turning 29 this month, which means a whole new set of challenges and opportunities. This bumpy slide into 30 happens to everyone. It may sound trite, but hang in there. As your best friend might point out, at least you don't have cancer.''

''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2706) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-01-10T05:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - January 10 2007 (2)     2007-01-10T05:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

I have a question about contemporary etiquette. I was invited to a holiday party and decided to attend, RSVP-ing by phone hours beforehand.

At the party, someone stole the selection of imported beer I brought. No one would tell me what brand of radiator fluid was used to sweeten the two sick beers I was able to scrounge out of the cooler with the scowling plaid-shirted lady sitting on it.

Later, noticing I had been drugged or gassed with something, I started mumbling under my breath about the situation, cursing the wait until whatever had screwed me had worn off so I could drive home.

After several people had introduced themselves to me as the same person and I was temporarily blinded by a flash and at the same time orally assaulted by what I hope was a rolled napkin, I managed to walk outside and drive home unimpaired. Should I send a thank-you note for the party by e-mail or is a letter required to be socially correct?

– -- Dazed and Confused

Goodness. We'll resist saying that you deserve the abuse for not having the courtesy to RSVP sooner. Instead, we suggest that you do send the host a note — e-mail or otherwise — listing your grievances and asking for an explanation. Who was throwing this party anyway, the Duke lacrosse team?

Dear Karma Cleanser:

This has been a not-so-great year for me. In fact, I think that 2006 is the worst year of my life yet. I turned 28 last January and on the day after my birthday, there was a fire in my apartment building. My unit wasn't burned, thankfully, but the smoke damage meant that I had to move out. Later, the building was condemned.

I was sleeping on my best friend's couch. Then he found out that he had cancer and asked if I could find somewhere else to stay. The spring and summer went by without anything big happening, but then my company abruptly shut down and everyone was fired. I'm starting 2007 broke and single, with no job and having to depend on friends for a place to stay. How can I set my karma straight to make this year better than the last?

– -- Crystal Ball

Sounds like you're going through a classic astrological Saturn Return. (Google it for details.) The good news: You're turning 29 this month, which means a whole new set of challenges and opportunities. This bumpy slide into 30 happens to everyone. It may sound trite, but hang in there. As your best friend might point out, at least you don't have cancer.

Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13023529 1265054                          Karma Cleanser - January 10 2007 (2) "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday January 10, 2007 12:04 am EST
Will it come back to bite you? | more...
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  string(2724) "Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I moved into my boyfriend's apartment a few months ago, and the experience overall has been good for us, with just a few snags. He's messy, I'm clean. He's a smoker, I'm not. Otherwise, we're doing fine. Or so I thought.

??
He works for an Internet startup and handles all the computer maintenance in our household. He was out of town for work, and I had a problem logging into our Internet connection. I called him up and he said I had to reboot the network. So, I had to enter in one of his passwords. Over the phone, I could tell he was blushing. He finally told me that the password is "Allison." I didn't think much of it at first, but then later remembered that Allison was the name of a girl he dated for two years.

??
Now he's back from his trip and I am being distant, even though I don't want to be. Shouldn't he have changed that password, or is he holding on to hope that Allison will come back around?

??
– -- Broad Banned Connection

??
Passwords and their ilk are the great invisible fossils of the digital age: They can sit untouched for years, and often provide a key into the holder's frame of mind at the time of their creation. You shouldn't hold this relic of another life against your boyfriend, but you should also remind him that he needs to update all his passwords, for the sake of security, if nothing else.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My friend offered me two tickets to see a live show with him. The date of the concert was Dec. 1, he said. The day before the show, he called me and said that the show was actually Dec. 8. I was bummed at first, because I'd offered my second ticket to another friend, and that guy couldn't go on the later date. I told my friend I still wanted to go, but he said that because of the confusion, he assumed I couldn't go. He'd now offered the tickets to another couple.

??
The day of the show, he called me and said that the couple now couldn't go. I was getting kinda peeved at the whole situation, so I said I had other plans. I didn't tell him I was pissed off.

??
Apparently, he got really mad at me for not agreeing to go, and told other people that I'd "bailed on him" and left him with an extra ticket that he had to sell to scalpers. I feel like I'm in the right here, but just in case I'm not, can you tell me how I can keep my own karma from being compromised?

??
– -- No Show

??
Your karma is fine, though you should have told your friend that you didn't like the cat-and-mouse game he was playing. For what it's worth, we happened to catch the concert you were talking about, and it was rather lame. So maybe we should be mad at your friend for ruining it for the rest of us.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com."
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  string(2785) "__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
I moved into my boyfriend's apartment a few months ago, and the experience overall has been good for us, with just a few snags. He's messy, I'm clean. He's a smoker, I'm not. Otherwise, we're doing fine. Or so I thought.

??
He works for an Internet startup and handles all the computer maintenance in our household. He was out of town for work, and I had a problem logging into our Internet connection. I called him up and he said I had to reboot the network. So, I had to enter in one of his passwords. Over the phone, I could tell he was blushing. He finally told me that the password is "Allison." I didn't think much of it at first, but then later remembered that Allison was the name of a girl he dated for two years.

??
Now he's back from his trip and I am being distant, even though I don't want to be. Shouldn't he have changed that password, or is he holding on to hope that Allison will come back around?

??
– ''-- Broad Banned Connection''

??
''Passwords and their ilk are the great invisible fossils of the digital age: They can sit untouched for years, and often provide a key into the holder's frame of mind at the time of their creation. You shouldn't hold this relic of another life against your boyfriend, but you should also remind him that he needs to update all his passwords, for the sake of security, if nothing else.''

??
__Dear Karma Cleanser:__

??
My friend offered me two tickets to see a live show with him. The date of the concert was Dec. 1, he said. The day before the show, he called me and said that the show was actually Dec. 8. I was bummed at first, because I'd offered my second ticket to another friend, and that guy couldn't go on the later date. I told my friend I still wanted to go, but he said that because of the confusion, he assumed I couldn't go. He'd now offered the tickets to another couple.

??
The day of the show, he called me and said that the couple now couldn't go. I was getting kinda peeved at the whole situation, so I said I had other plans. I didn't tell him I was pissed off.

??
Apparently, he got really mad at me for not agreeing to go, and told other people that I'd "bailed on him" and left him with an extra ticket that he had to sell to scalpers. I feel like I'm in the right here, but just in case I'm not, can you tell me how I can keep my own karma from being compromised?

??
– ''-- No Show''

??
''Your karma is fine, though you should have told your friend that you didn't like the cat-and-mouse game he was playing. For what it's worth, we happened to catch the concert you were talking about, and it was rather lame. So maybe we should be mad at your friend for ruining it for the rest of us.''

??
''Been bad? [mailto:karmacleanser@gmail.com|karmacleanser@gmail.com].''"
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  string(2941) "    Will it come back to bite you?   2007-01-03T05:04:00+00:00 Karma Cleanser - January 03 2007      2007-01-03T05:04:00+00:00  Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
I moved into my boyfriend's apartment a few months ago, and the experience overall has been good for us, with just a few snags. He's messy, I'm clean. He's a smoker, I'm not. Otherwise, we're doing fine. Or so I thought.

??
He works for an Internet startup and handles all the computer maintenance in our household. He was out of town for work, and I had a problem logging into our Internet connection. I called him up and he said I had to reboot the network. So, I had to enter in one of his passwords. Over the phone, I could tell he was blushing. He finally told me that the password is "Allison." I didn't think much of it at first, but then later remembered that Allison was the name of a girl he dated for two years.

??
Now he's back from his trip and I am being distant, even though I don't want to be. Shouldn't he have changed that password, or is he holding on to hope that Allison will come back around?

??
– -- Broad Banned Connection

??
Passwords and their ilk are the great invisible fossils of the digital age: They can sit untouched for years, and often provide a key into the holder's frame of mind at the time of their creation. You shouldn't hold this relic of another life against your boyfriend, but you should also remind him that he needs to update all his passwords, for the sake of security, if nothing else.

??
Dear Karma Cleanser:

??
My friend offered me two tickets to see a live show with him. The date of the concert was Dec. 1, he said. The day before the show, he called me and said that the show was actually Dec. 8. I was bummed at first, because I'd offered my second ticket to another friend, and that guy couldn't go on the later date. I told my friend I still wanted to go, but he said that because of the confusion, he assumed I couldn't go. He'd now offered the tickets to another couple.

??
The day of the show, he called me and said that the couple now couldn't go. I was getting kinda peeved at the whole situation, so I said I had other plans. I didn't tell him I was pissed off.

??
Apparently, he got really mad at me for not agreeing to go, and told other people that I'd "bailed on him" and left him with an extra ticket that he had to sell to scalpers. I feel like I'm in the right here, but just in case I'm not, can you tell me how I can keep my own karma from being compromised?

??
– -- No Show

??
Your karma is fine, though you should have told your friend that you didn't like the cat-and-mouse game he was playing. For what it's worth, we happened to catch the concert you were talking about, and it was rather lame. So maybe we should be mad at your friend for ruining it for the rest of us.

??
Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.             13023421 1264786                          Karma Cleanser - January 03 2007  "
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Karma Cleanser

Wednesday January 3, 2007 12:04 am EST
Will it come back to bite you? | more...