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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am at the end of my rope. Actually, I am mad at myself because I just came home from another boring evening. I am a 74-year-old retired widower with time on my hands. I belong to a golf club where I hang out to kibitz with the card players.

A retired professional man about my age, also a widower, also kills time at the club. I felt sorry for him because he was always alone, so I started having lunch with him -- then he suggested we have dinner together (Dutch), so I said OK. Now I can't get rid of him.

He is the most boring person I've ever met. He talks about himself, his investments, his assets, his this, his that, and no matter how hard I try to get off his favorite subject (himself), he manages to get back on it.

I can't get rid of this obnoxious guy. He sticks like glue, and doesn't have one other friend at the club. Everybody avoids him because he is so egotistical and boring.

If you can solve this problem, Abby, you are a genius. For obvious reasons, I can't sign my name or location. Sign me ... TRAPPED

DEAR TRAPPED: You could do yourself and your boring friend an enormous favor if you sat him down and told him very frankly that he would not be so lonely if he made a few major changes in his personality.

Tell him that nobody wants to listen to a person who talks about nothing but himself and his assets. If he's all that well-heeled financially, he could benefit enormously from a few sessions with a psychologist. The truth may hurt, but it could also solve your problem.

DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I go to a restaurant, we are served such large portions that we either have to ask for a doggie bag to take home what we can't eat, or we leave it on our plates to be thrown out.

At times we have ordered only one meal and an extra plate so we can split the dinner. This isn't always convenient because we both don't always want to eat the same thing.

The few restaurants that offer "lighter fare" serve diet foods. Why can't these restaurant owners realize that all people don't eat like harvest hands? I sometimes wonder if they realize how much food is wasted.

How can we get the restaurant owners to offer only half-portions? I can't be the only person who hates to see food wasted. How about it, Abby? Any suggestions on how to get this problem corrected? -- NOT THAT HUNGRY IN ORLANDO

DEAR NOT THAT HUNGRY: If you are suggesting that restaurateurs offer half the food at half the price, please read on: Restaurant owners could not survive on half the profit. Better leave things the way they are and give their customers doggie bags to tote home their leftovers.

CONFIDENTIAL TO NO GAMBLER IN LAS VEGAS: When it comes to birth control, the only method that's 100 percent effective is self-control.

To get Abby's booklet "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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