Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My father has lived with a lady for several years, but he will not marry her because of her weight. (Of course, he has not told her this.)

She is not fat, but she is a little overweight, a size 12 to 14. When we ask Dad why he hasn't proposed yet, he just says, "She's on a diet right now, and as soon as she loses some weight and stays slim for a while, I'll see about it."

Should I tell her she's wasting her time with my dad? It seems to me that he's just waiting for something better to come along. She cooks, cleans house, washes his clothes, everything. I feel he is just using her. He says he "loves" her.

I think if he loves her, he should marry her. What is your opinion? -- A SOUTHERNER

DEAR SOUTHERNER: It is not your place to tell the lady anything. When your father asks for your opinion -- and not until then -- give it to him with both barrels.

DEAR ABBY: I am a single mom looking for a job. Recently I was called for an interview, and it seemed to go very well, as I was called back for a second interview.

The prospective employer told me he would call me next week with a decision. Abby, I waited a whole week without any word, so I decided to call them back. I left a message, and again no response.

Abby, if someone is called in for an interview, wouldn't it be simple, common courtesy for the interviewer to take a few minutes to say, yes, no, or thank you? -- SNUBBED, BRAMPTON, ONTARIO, CANADA

DEAR SNUBBED: Yours is a question that I have been asked several times.

Of course you should have been called back (as promised) and told that you did not get the job, so you could feel free to continue your job search.

DEAR ABBY: My personal frustration with today's impersonal communications systems led me to write the enclosed poem. It was printed in my local newspaper, and is also posted in the library. It gets lots of laughs -- and is yours to print if you see fit. -- RAE LUDWIG, PLEASANTVILLE, N.J.

DEAR RAE: It's a hoot -- and well worth sharing.


The frustrating non-communication of today's fax, e-mail and telephone systems leads me to peer into the future:

You have reached your doctor.

If it's your head, press 1 NOW.

If it's your stomach, press 2 NOW.

If it's your heart, press 3 NOW.

If you've died while waiting, press 4 NOW

and the morgue will be over to pick you up.

DEAR READERS: Here's a thought-provoking quote from the late -- and great -- author, John Steinbeck: "We give the president more work than a man can do, more responsibility than a man should take, more pressure than a man can bear. We abuse him often, and rarely praise him. We wear him out, use him up, eat him up. And with all this, Americans have a love for the president that goes beyond party loyalty or nationality; he is ours, and we exercise the right to destroy him."

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, 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. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4900 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64112; (816) 932-6600