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There's no valor in too much discretion

December 20, 2009

Dear Amy: My husband and I went to an upscale restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner. I noticed a woman walking toward her table, where two teenage boys were sitting.

As she approached her table, I observed a trail of toilet paper coming from the elastic of the back of her slacks. It was more than a foot long.

I thought it would be helpful if I discreetly told her of the trailing toilet paper, but my husband felt that it would have been extremely embarrassing for her to know that anyone noticed and advised me to not say anything.

I went along with his decision.

What would you have done?

Anne

Dear Anne: I probably would have sat in my chair, obsessively weighing the options in my head, but my friend Gay would have taken care of business very quickly by approaching the woman discreetly and saying, "Excuse me, you're trailing something. I just wanted to let you know."

The whole thing would have been over before the coffee had been poured.

And that's what I love about my friend. Sometimes you just have to act.

A tiny bit of quick embarrassment beats lingering dithering, deliberating and discussing.

Send questions to Amy Dickinson by e-mail to askamy@tribune.com.

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