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by Abigail Van Buren

Take on Modern Spelling Is True All the Way Thru

DEAR ABBY: I enjoyed the poem I'm sending you so much that I hope you will share it with your readers. -- SCHOOLTEACHER

DEAR SCHOOLTEACHER: I'm sure many of them will enjoy it. It reads like the lyrics to a rap song:

Hey, whatcha doing? Whaddaya say?

Do ya wanna read a good poem today?

Hey, gotta sec? C'mon! Let's see!

Our language is changing, you'll hafta agree.

Well, gimme a minute, and lemme just show:

There's a new coined spelling, doncha know?

It's a heckuva note; it's kinda sad,

'Cuz our sloppy talking has gotten this bad.

If you're like me, and you hate there to be

Words like ain't in our vocabulary;

Don't be surprised if we're soon gonna see

Sorta or coulda in the dictionary.

Yeah, merchants and stores are doing it, too;

Making things EZ and quik for you.

They'll offer mor-valu; we can sav-rite tonite;

But the spelling's not kool; it's outtasite!

It's "lots of" (not lotsa), and "going to" (not gonna),

And "got to" and "want to," (not gotta or wanna);

It's "extra" (not x-tra), and "light" (not lite).

And who sez it's OK to use shur or nite?

Comic book lingo; doesn't it getcha?

Annoy? Perplex? Confuse? You betcha!

A whole lotta words like thru and tho;

So why do we all do it?

I dunno!

-- GEORGE WILLINK, 1995

DEAR ABBY: I'm getting married in four months and was planning on having a "dollar dance" at my reception.

My soon-to-be father-in-law is totally against it. He says it's tacky, and he would be embarrassed in front of his millionaire friends.

I told him that I have had friends do this at their receptions, and nobody thought it was tacky.

Help, Abby. I don't know what to do. -- DANCE DILEMMA IN ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.

DEAR DILEMMA: Since your father-in-law-to-be has told you that he would be embarrassed, I suggest that you skip the "dollar dance." The few dollars it would bring in aren't worth risking your relationship with your future in-laws.

DEAR ABBY: Re "Wiser Now," who bought fire extinguishers as gifts for weddings, housewarmings and graduations, after she had a close call with a pot of burning rice on the stove:

That has been a two-decade tradition in our family. My late father came up with the idea as a "funny" but practical shower gift. Dad suggested that I combine the "wishing well gift" (a bottle of aspirin) and the fire extinguisher, with a note:

"The extinguisher is for the bride to put his fire out, and the aspirin is for the groom to get rid of her headache!"

In all the years I have attended bridal showers, this is one gift that has never been duplicated, or returned. -- D. REBECCA SHOEMAKER, BETHLEHEM, PA.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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