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by Abigail Van Buren

Scheme to Get Rid of Junk Mail Runs Into Dead End

DEAR ABBY: After reading the comments in your column about junk mail, I had to share my experience with you. It all started in Vancouver, where my wife ordered a sweater for me from the landlady who ran the bed and breakfast inn where we were staying. The landlady wanted to be paid only for the yarn, not her time. She suggested we give what we felt it was worth to our favorite charity.

When we received the sweater at home in Pennsylvania two months later, my wife sent a check to the landlady and asked her to put her favorite charity on the check. Soon my wife was getting pelted with financial support letters from Jimmy Swaggart's ministry. Finally, I wrote "DECEASED" on one of the solicitations and returned it. Presto! She no longer got mail from Jimmy Swaggart.

My brother-in-law, a doctor in Miami, heard how I got rid of my "junk mail" and put "deceased" on all of his junk mail and returned it to sender. A few weeks later, he realized that he was not receiving important mail that he was expecting. He then found out that his postman had seen "deceased" on his mail and, assuming that he was indeed dead, had put "deceased" on his first-class mail and sent it back, too. My brother-in-law then discovered that he'd been mourned by his Harvard classmates and was no longer a member of some of his clubs and associations.

His remark to me was, "The next time you get a smart idea, don't tell me about it!" -- AN ABBY FAN IN LAKE WALES, FLA.

P.S. About 30 years ago, I wrote you about my wife not being interested in sex. You suggested we see a sex therapist, only we couldn't afford to go because I was starting a new business. This year, when things went from bad to worse, we started going to a therapist -- and we wished we had taken your advice years ago!

DEAR FAN IN LAKE WALES: Better late than never.