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Dear Prudence: Porcelain revenge

  • Article by: Emily Yoffe
  • Slate
  • March 5, 2014 - 1:27 PM

Dear Prudence: I used to be a live-in nanny for the world’s most annoying, inconsiderate, intolerant and rude couple. I stuck through for three months, but had to quit for my own mental health.

During this time, I occasionally took revenge by sneaking into their bathroom and dipping their toothbrushes in the toilet. The wife kept a drink bottle by the bedside table and I also put some toilet water into it as well. It made me feel better about my situation at the time, but now that I’ve quit (and regained some of my sanity), I’m consumed with guilt.

I heard from a mutual acquaintance that both of them are having some kind of health problems — exactly what, I don’t know — and I’m worried I may have caused this. Should I call and confess? We didn’t exactly leave on good terms.

Prudence says: I’m actually surprised you quit because, given your response to what you say was intolerable treatment by your employers, you attempted to cause them grave bodily harm — you all sound perfectly matched!

Making people ingest fecal matter without their knowledge is indeed likely to make people ill and leave their doctor baffled. Part of me would love to tell you to rush to confess.

However, I will extend you a courtesy that you didn’t give your “inconsiderate” and “rude” employers. That is, while I think this couple should know the source of their illness, confessing could leave you open to potential prosecution. You may deserve it, but you need to consider the stakes here.

So my suggestion is that you pay for a consultation with a lawyer and explain the situation. You also should find out what are the potential medical consequences of drinking toilet water. It may be that the need to get a proper diagnosis for this pair is crucial to their treatment, and you must consider that and bring it to the attention of your lawyer.

While your behavior makes my stomach turn, I am slightly heartened that you seem to recognize what you did was an abomination. I hope in the future you recognize that if you’re in a poisonous situation, you simply get out without trying to poison anyone else.

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