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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Is Ready to Tune Out Man Who Won't Turn Off TV

DEAR ABBY: I think my problem is unique: My longtime boyfriend is addicted to television.

He has it turned on all the time he's indoors and gets unreasonably angry if I turn it off. The constant distraction and noise drive me up the wall. Fortunately we don't live together.

I have tried to convince him it's irritating, and have even insisted he use earphones in my home, but he complains bitterly about this restriction. The television in his home won't accommodate earphones, and those in hotels and motels are not equipped with earphones either. I've tried earplugs for myself, but after a while they hurt.

The arguments over this have become very heated, and following our last battle, we split up.

Abby, I really love him and don't want to give him up, but if there is no other solution, I may have to do just that. Please don't use my name. -- DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION IN ALBANY, CALIF.

DEAR DRIVEN: This problem is not unique; many people are addicted to television.

Your boyfriend has fought your attempts to turn off the television for a very long time, so don't expect him to change now. It would be a shame to end this relationship because of his television addiction, if he's compatible in every other way. However, if you can no longer tolerate it, perhaps you should say farewell.

DEAR ABBY: As a proud American Indian, I resent the expression "Indian giver," which is what they call a person who gives a gift, then asks that it be returned.

Abby, where did that expression originate? It is clearly an insult to the Indian people. Sign me ... A PROUD SHOSHONE INDIAN IN WISCONSIN

DEAR PROUD SHOSHONE: The Henry Holt Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins gives the following origin for the expression:

"Indian giver. Tradition holds that American Indians took back their gifts when they didn't get equally valuable ones in return. Some Indians were no doubt 'Indian givers'; others, however, got insulted if they received more than they gave. Instances of Indians 'Indian-giving' are hard to come by, and even the Handbook of American Indians (1901), published by the Smithsonian Institution, defines the practice as an 'alleged custom.' Perhaps the expression is explained by the fact that 'Indian' was once widely used as a synonym for bogus or false. Many of the nearly 500 terms prefixed with 'Indian' unfairly impugn the Indian's honesty or intelligence -- even 'honest Injun' was originally meant sarcastically, and 'Indian summer' means a false summer."

DEAR ABBY: My New Year's wish for the many wives who, like me, have added pounds as well as years, is that their husbands be as tactful and loving as mine.

When I bemoaned the fact that at age 45, I weighed 110 pounds and now, at 65, I am 20 pounds heavier, he just hugged me and said, "Honey, you'll always be the ample of my eye." He's a keeper, and I am ... A HAPPY GEORGIA PEACH

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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