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by Abigail Van Buren

Aphorisms Get Tweaked From Senior Point of View

DEAR ABBY: I laughed out loud when I saw your column featuring famous sayings with original endings provided by a fourth-grade class in Ventura County, Calif.

At our computer Web site, the Geezer Brigade for "seniors with an attitude," a competition was held to see if Geezers couldn't outdo the little whippersnappers. Here are the results:


-- All that glitters is not ... necessarily something you want your only daughter sticking through a hole in her nose.

-- The early bird catches ... hell from the union.

-- A penny saved is ... something you could've invested in the biggest bull market in history, if only you hadn't listened to your idiot brother-in-law.

-- The road to hell is ... paved.

-- If you can't stand the heat ... hire an assistant.

-- The squeaky wheel ... got to be lead singer in my son's rock group.

-- It's always darkest just before ... you try to find your seat in a movie theater.

-- To err is ... not permitted by the IRS, and to forgive is unheard of!


DEAR JOHN: If some people are curious about what seniors are doing with computers these days, your letter should put their curiosity to rest.

DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Picture Perfect," whose married sister didn't want "Picture's" fiance in their family portrait, made me chuckle. By agreeing with the sister, you implied that tying the knot was a guarantee of permanent family status. A son-in-law can end up "out of the picture" just as easily as a fiance can.

Several years ago, we had a family portrait taken that included our parents, my husband and myself, my two married sisters and their husbands and children, and my unmarried sister. Well, all three of the sons-in-law have since become "exes."

There have been ongoing family jokes about the usefulness of those little "sticky notes" as cover-ups, making miniature brown paper sacks to paste over obsolete heads, or covering the face of each ex with his replacement.

Fortunately, when we sat for the portrait, we also had shots taken of my parents by themselves, and "just us girls" with our parents. Although most of us now display the abbreviated portrait, I keep the one with the exes tucked away in a family album. All three were good men and are a part of our family history, even if not a part of its future. -- PICTURE THIS IN HANFORD, CALIF.

DEAR PICTURE THIS: I think I've got the picture. It's dizzying to think that the only way to have a family portrait is to include blood relatives only. However, many readers wrote suggesting that this family have two portraits made -- one with the fiance, and one without.

DEAR ABBY: You asked your readers how they would define "elderly." My 4-year-old daughter came to me one day with a question about our neighbor, Fern. "Mom," Katy asked, "is Fern old?"

"Yes," I replied, "Fern is old."

"No, Mom, I mean really old."

Knowing that Fern is 87, I answered "Yes."

"Gosh!" Katy said, her eyes shining. "Is she 30?"

So, Abby, I thought you'd like to know that in my daughter's eyes, "elderly" is synonymous with 30. -- KIM YOSHIHARA, PORTLAND, ORE.

DEAR KIM: Katy is not alone. I remember the '60s, when teen-agers and college students used to say, "Don't trust anyone over 30."

For Abby's favorite family recipes, send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet No. 1, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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