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Dear Ann Landers,
I would like your help in eliminating a phrase from our vocabulary. It is "rule of thumb." This may seem innocuous to you, but the history of the phrase could make you change your mind. Before enlightenment and more civilized thinking, there were rules regarding when and how a man could beat a woman. For example, he could not beat her on Sundays and was not allowed to beat her with a stick that was thicker than the breadth of his thumb. Hence the expression "rule of thumb." I think we should eliminate that phrase from our vocabularies out of respect for the abused women of the world. Will you help? -- New Rules in Grand Forks, N.D.

Dear N.D.,
I don't recall ever having used that phrase, and now that I know the origin, I doubt that I ever will. Thanks for the info.

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Janice's Comment
I think you should take the time and energy it took you to write this letter, minimal though it was, and direct it towards solving an actual problem.
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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:

Dear Readers,
, My x-girlfriend who lived with my son and I for 16 years died of cancer. Prior before we knew she had cancer-she moved out because of an addiction problem. We did stay very close before she died. Her x-husband an attorney took over her finances and the burial arrangements. I being financially set was okay with that, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"Keep in mind that the true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good."
-Ann Landers