Dear Amy: A few years ago, I started a rock band with some very talented musicians.
We play for fun (not for money), and we’ve played before some very large crowds.
We have a very big gig in a couple of months and, because my heart’s not in it anymore and I’ve lived my “rock star” dream, I know that it will be our last.
Should I tell the band before the gig that it’s our last gig, or should I wait until after the gig? I see pros and cons to both.
— Rock Retiree
Dear Rock Retiree: I shared your dilemma with my friend, the comedy writer and musician Adam Felber, co-host of the fun podcast “Dad Band Land.”
Adam and his co-hosts play in a neighborhood cover band.
He responds: “Announcing your retirement depends on what instrument you play. If you’re a guitarist, I wouldn’t worry about it, because there are a lot of you and it’s entirely likely your replacement will randomly wander into the garage while you’re telling the band you’re retiring.
“If you’re a keyboardist like me, don’t worry, either, because it could be several months before they notice you’re gone.
“But if you’re the drummer, well, how dare you abandon them!?
“But seriously, unless you’re the front man, and there’s absolutely no way the band can continue without you, I’d wait until a few days after the gig and then tell them you need to take a break for a while.
“Telling them beforehand may have some upside for you, but not for the rest of the band. There’s no reason to add that to the vibe – this is your last gig, not The Last Waltz!”
Adam’s podcast cohost and fellow musician Kevin Burke also took his own sardonic solo: “If you really want this to be a true ‘rock star’ moment, wait until right before the very last song, then make a big ‘quitting’ announcement over the mic to the audience and the band at exactly the same time.
“Bonus points if you can disappear in a puff of smoke or giant pillar of fire when the last song ends.
“Otherwise, I’d wait until the show is over. Let everyone in the band have their last hurrah without making it bittersweet. And who knows, you might rock so hard you change your mind.”
Dear Amy: My younger brother “Wendell” spoke at our father’s 90th birthday party five years ago in front of 100 people. He went on and on about how our father wasn’t there for him growing up, was too busy working to attend all his soccer games, etc.
It shocked many people there who talked about it afterwards; my father was in the early stages of dementia and may not have understood what he said.
About a year later, Wendell told my mother on a phone call that he had some leftover morphine from a sick relative’s illness, and he offered to administer it to my father.
My mother was shocked and extremely upset.
I then called my brother and said his “offer” was immoral, illegal, and beyond inappropriate. He responded that I was entitled to “my opinion.”
Amy, I’ve never been close to my brother for various reasons, but these two actions were more than I could tolerate.
I’m cordial when I see him, but can’t get over/accept his behavior.
I understand that he, like many, has issues with his upbringing, but I think this goes way beyond “normal.”
Do I need to “forgive and move on,” or are there some actions that make a relationship beyond repair?
— Devastated Sister
Dear Sister: The way you describe him, your brother is extremely angry, and also holding onto some dangerous notions – directed at your father.
I agree with you that “Wendell’s” actions as you describe them are intolerable.
In this situation, I vote for understanding and clarity before forgiveness.
“Understanding” means that you should understand that your brother is not to be trusted.
You needn’t contemplate forgiveness unless he acknowledges and apologizes for his hostile behavior.
He doesn’t seem likely to do that, and so you should be extremely wary, especially regarding any attempts to be with your father and/or manipulate your mother.
Dear Amy: Your response to “Disgusted” (“Apparently, hot sex is the hill I am willing to die upon,”) made me laugh out loud after a long and difficult day.
Thanks for the chuckle and good for you to stand up for yourself.
Dear Suzy: I’m genuinely happy to have delivered a smile.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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