I noticed this letter sent to an Agony Aunt over the weekend:
I have a new girlfriend who I am totally in love with, but I am terrified about telling her about my family.
You see, my father is a convicted rapist.
That's bad I know, but then my mother has been working as a prostitute for the past few years.
Then there's my sister who became addicted to cocaine as a teenager, and is now a crack whore living in a squat in South London.
Now I know that all sounds dreadful, but I can just about handle all of that.
I think she would understand all of that.
But what really worries me – I mean really, really scares the bejeezus out of me – is that my new girlfriend might find out our very, very secret, family secret.
This is the one that not even my dad or mum can talk about in the open, as they know they will get beat up about it.
Y'see, I hope she never finds out, and don't know if I should tell her, that my brother is …
… a banker.
Can you help?
Name withheld for obvious reasons"
The Aunt's answer was intriguing:
I understand the shame of having a family member in such a profession.
I can only suggest that you tell your brother you need a very large loan. A humongous loan.
I guarantee you won't see him again for a long time.
I promise you that there are at least a few reasons to be cheerful in 2009, even if you are a banker.
Come back here tomorrow and I'll share a few of them with you.