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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: After spending yet another night alone while my husband was out having a few beers with his friends, I decided to write him the following thank-you note:

Thank you for the countless times you've gone out with your friends and left me home alone; it's made me realize I'm pretty good company.

Thank you for withholding your affection; you taught me I can live without it.

Thank you for refusing to help me do anything around the house; it's made me realize I can do just about anything myself.

Thank you for finding reasons not to spend time with me; it's made me learn to appreciate spending time alone.

Thank you for never sitting down to talk to me; the quiet time has allowed me to re-evaluate my life.

But most of all, and I mean this sincerely, thank you for giving me nine lonely years to realize with conviction that I can walk away from you and survive! -- YOUR 'IN NAME ONLY' WIFE

DEAR IN NAME ONLY: Your farewell letter gives new meaning to finding the good in every bad situation. I'm sorry your lessons had to be learned the hard way. Perhaps your letter will educate others and save them from the pain you experienced.

DEAR ABBY: On the last night of baseball's World Series, I settled in front of the television to watch this deciding game. At the bottom of the ninth inning, my wife asked me to change the channel to her favorite Sunday evening program. This is a program that comes on every week. The last game of the World Series comes on once a year.

I did not want to change the channel, and an argument ensued. I relented, but I was so angry I went for a one-hour walk to cool off while she watched her program. I returned to find my wife pouting because I didn't watch her program with her.

You, being a woman, will have a real problem deciding who should have given in. Abby, please don't suggest two televisions. Come right out with your response. -- FRANK B. JAMES, EL CAJON, CALIF.

DEAR FRANK: I had no problem at all deciding. This is not a man/woman issue. It is about common courtesy and consideration. I think your wife should have conceded.

P.S. Do you own a VCR? It could have averted a disagreement, and allowed you both to have viewed her favorite program at a later time.

DEAR ABBY: I can bear it no longer. I want to know what other people think of "clapping" in church after the choir -- or an individual -- sings. I am so weary of it.

I always thought that you sang in church to praise the Lord, not as entertainment. Most choir numbers or solos are very moving. Then to hear this rousing applause just galls me. People never used to clap in church after performances. Why have they started now?

I think it is rude rather than complimentary. A church should be a place of worship where people offer their talent to God -- not an entertainment center.

After the service ends, there is plenty of time to say you enjoyed their singing. -- P. MEYERS IN MISSOURI

DEAR P. MEYERS: A spontaneous outburst of applause in appreciation of the choir -- or soloist having delivered an exceptionally moving performance -- is understandable, although I have never witnessed it.

Discuss your concerns with your pastor and church leaders. If they find it objectionable, they can pass the word to the congregation that applause during a worship service is inappropriate.

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.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600