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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have a telephone answering machine. It is very handy, but sometimes it's a source of great frustration when someone dials a wrong number and leaves a message.

For example, the following message was left on my machine: "Your daughter, Judy, was in a minor automobile accident. P1ease pick her up at the suburban police station."

Well, I do not have a daughter named Judy, so I called the suburban police station and suggested that they call Judy's parents and dial carefully next time.

Last week, an elderly woman left the following message: "Doctor, I'm sorry I have to cancel my appointment ..." Then she went on and on, describing all her symptoms and medications until my entire tape ran out.

I also got this message from a young man in a hurry: "Hi, Joe, dis is Pete. We're gonna have football practice at Baldwin Park. Call da udder guys and tell em!"

Last night I received the following message: "Hi, Gloria! We're leaving right now. Please be ready for a change, OK?" Bang! (I hope Gloria was ready for a change.)

Abby, inform your readers that before they leave a message on an answering machine, they should be sure they dialed the right number. -- WRONG GUY IN CLEVELAND

DEAR WRONG GUY: Thanks for reminding all the folks out there to dial very carefully.

DEAR ABBY: Some time ago, you had an article in your column titled "Only in America." It poked fun at Americans who buy everything they wear and use from some foreign country. I think Americans need to be reminded to BUY AMERICAN. Thanks. -- PATRIOTIC IN MAINE

DEAR PATRIOTIC: Once my readers have seen the following, I'm sure many of them will agree with you.

ONLY IN AMERICA

"He drove his German car made of Swedish steel and interior of Argentine leather to a gasoline station, where he filled up with Arab oil shipped in a Liberian tanker and bought two French tires, composed of rubber from Sri Lanka.

"At home, he dropped his Moroccan briefcase, hung up his Scottish tweed wool coat, removed his Italian shoes and Egyptian cotton shirt, then donned a Hong Kong robe and matching slippers from Taiwan.

"More comfortable now, he poured a cup of hot Brazilian coffee into an English coffee mug, set a Mexican placemat on an Irish linen tablecloth atop a Danish table varnished with linseed oil from India. Then he filled his Austrian pipe with Turkish tobacco, lit it, and picked up a Japanese ballpoint pen with which he wrote a letter to his congressman demanding to know why the United States has an unfavorable balance of trade."

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