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Section: general-health, manners
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I have a relative who has diabetes and must take insulin shots after every meal. He makes quite a production of it, testing his blood sugar level, preparing the injection and injecting himself at the table. This procedure is done in the homes of family members and friends and in restaurants. I can handle it, but several others cannot. The sight of blood and injections ruins the enjoyment of the meals for those with queasy stomachs. This person is extremely sensitive, and his feelings would be crushed if he knew he was offending people. Your response in the paper would help make others who are afflicted with diabetes aware of how this sort of thing affects some of us. No name or city, please. -- Mrs. Anonymous

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Section: manners
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
My husband and I have been married for 30 years. He is Italian, and I am Canadian. I speak only English. Whenever we are with my mother-in-law, she and my husband speak nothing but Italian. My husband doesn't see anything wrong with this, even though I am left totally out of the conversation. He says the language is part of his heritage and it makes his mother happy. I would be more understanding if my mother-in-law could not speak English, but she speaks it very well. When our children were growing up, I never made an issue of it because I wanted the children to feel close to their grandparents, but now, it is bothering me to no end. I feel completely excluded and avoid being with just the two of them. I say they are terribly rude. What do you say? -- Excluded and Offended

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Section: sexuality, work
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I am a male escort while I am working on my master's degree at a university in Washington, D.C. I take out women (usually my mother's age) and am paid well. There is no sex involved. These women simply need a decent-looking, well-dressed guy to take them to various social events at which they would feel ill at ease if not accompanied. Very few friends know about my "moonlighting," which is the way I want it. I have met some interesting, intelligent women in my work, most of them widowed or divorced. Three of these women would like to marry me. Marriage is out of the question. I am gay. Should I tell them? It would be easier than trying to make up reasons for my lack of interest. Yes or no, Ann? -- Mr. X in D.C.

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Section: general-health, manners
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
My wife has cancer. We have been battling it for six years, and short of a major miracle, she will die from it. I am not asking for sympathy. We are living our lives as fully as we can, and we are not shy about discussing all aspects of this battle when it comes to our children, friends and family. Here is my problem: I find it painful when friends say to her, "Get well soon." It hurts to hear these words. They sound so phony, as if she had a broken leg. My wife will NOT get well, soon or ever, for that matter, and everybody knows it, including her. I haven't said anything about this because I know these people mean well, but it makes me want to scream every time I hear it. These friends are important to us, and I don't want to offend them by telling them to stop saying that, so I'm hoping if you print my letter, it will help. - Granada Hills, Calif.

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Section: mental-health, relationships, manners
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
For 10 years, I was a stand-up comic and moderately successful. After a show, I liked to chat, but some people didn't understand the show was over, or they had a joke to tell me. If I never again hear, "Three guys are in a bar," I will die happy. I often ran for the exit the second my act was over. I hated doing that, because many people just wanted to say they enjoyed the show. I know people are just trying to be friendly, but comics don't have the luxury of saying, "I've finished my gig," or they would appear rude and arrogant. Life on the road is very lonely, but after accepting after-show dinner invitations a few times, I realized people didn't want to have dinner with me; they just wanted more entertainment. So, folks, we love to talk with you after the show because you are often the catalysts for spectacular stories, but please leave the jokes at home. -- Stop Me If You've Heard This One in Rochester, N.Y.

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Section: addictions
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
Here's another story about stupid criminals. This happened to my husband, "Jim," a truck driver. Jim was on the road one day when two police cars pulled him over. The car right behind him also pulled over. The officers said that the car behind him had called in a report that Jim was weaving all over the road. They gave him a breathalyzer test and found he was perfectly sober. Jim suggested they give the driver behind him the same test. They did and discovered he was intoxicated -- twice the legal limit. In fact, he was so drunk, he didn't realize it was he who was weaving all over the road. He actually reported himself! Wouldn't it be nice if more drunk drivers reported themselves? -- His Wife

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Section: addictions, children, health-and-wellness
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
The recent letters you printed concerning parents whose underage children are drinking raises a critical point that cannot be overstated: Parental involvement is crucial to raising drug-free and alcohol-free kids. The most recent national survey for the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that teens who drink, smoke or use pot are less likely to tell their parents where they are on weekends, less likely to have a parent at home after school and less likely to rely on parents' opinions when they make important decisions. They are also less likely to attend religious services regularly. Nearly half of 13-year-olds say their parents have never discussed the dangers of illegal drugs with them. The survey also found that teens who have tried marijuana say their friends had the most influence over their decision. Teens who have chosen not to smoke pot say their parents influenced them most. The bottom line? Parents have more clout than they think. They should use it. -- Joseph A. Califano Jr., chairman and president, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University

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Section: children, grief-and-loss
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
Yesterday, we buried our only son. He was 9 years old. Apparently, he found the loaded gun my husband kept in the drawer of his nightstand, and well -- you can guess the rest. Please tell your readers NEVER to leave a loaded gun where a child can reach it. Even better advice, don't have a gun in the house. It won't protect you. The invader is more experienced at shooting, and he will get you before you get him. It is too late for us to protect our son from our carelessness, Ann, but maybe my letter will save someone else's child. -- Grieving in the Midwest

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Section: children, relationships
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
My husband's mother passed away four years ago. His father remarried not long after, but my husband hasn't taken to his stepmother very well. He never speaks to her unless he absolutely has to. Although there never has been an argument or a fight between them, the tension is obvious, and it is uncomfortable for everyone. About two months ago, I had a long talk with my father-in-law and let him know that his son wanted a closer relationship. The minute I opened my mouth, his wife jumped in, made all kinds of accusations and stormed out. I admit I might not have been very diplomatic in my approach, but I figured it was best to be honest and lay my cards on the table. Apparently, that was the wrong thing to do. I have apologized to his wife for being so frank, but I cannot change the way I feel. Now, the woman avoids us completely, and I think she is persuading my father-in-law to do the same. I am afraid I have made things worse, and now, I want to make the situation better. Any ideas? -- Lost in Louisiana

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Section: manners, relationships
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
Our son and his wife have separated after two months of marriage and will be divorcing shortly. They want to know what to do about the wedding gifts. Should gifts be returned when the marriage does not last six months? Many friends have said their gifts should be kept and that my son and his wife should divide them. Gifts of money were spent already on the honeymoon and on furnishing the house. - Splitsville in Wyoming

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"Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat."
-Ann Landers