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by Abigail Van Buren

Creative Approach to Cursing Helps Swearers Kick Habit

DEAR ABBY: You recently advised readers to substitute an acceptable word or phrase for curse words. Your examples were "Holy Moses!" and "Gosh darn son-of-a-sea-cook!"

My dad, Dale Lynk, must have had a wider repertoire because he had a longer list of substitutions. However, even they were suspiciously close to the original. His standard line went like this: "Cheese and rice, got all muddy, got damp by a stone on the beach." It must have worked, because I do not remember that he said much worse than that. Thanks for the memory. -- ALLAN LYNK, WADENA, MINN.

DEAR ALLAN: I admire your father's creativity. Read on for another suggestion:

DEAR ABBY: I, too, was a "Cursing Mom" -- mostly in traffic.

When my two sons were old enough to start imitating me, I set up a system of fines. This worked both ways since spanking and time-outs don't work so well. They were fined for "not listening to Mama or Daddy," for hitting, etc. I was fined if they caught me swearing. Each boy would get 50 cents each time he caught me. Both collected, even if only one heard me. It got to be a family joke. I'd put the money in their savings accounts, and once I took them shopping with it.

I haven't had to pay out in a while, and neither of my sons swears, nor do they seem the least bit interested in doing so. (They are now 9 and 7.) I've gotten quite creative in venting frustration. Now, if I get angry in traffic, I make up obnoxious songs about the other driver's bad habits. I hope this helps other frustrated moms. -- TONI BROWN, VIRGINIA BEACH

DEAR TONI: An excellent solution, but not a new one. I recall a famous movie and television star of the '50s, Loretta Young, who had a "swear box" on the set of her show because she wouldn't tolerate bad language.

I have also received mail from readers who feel that substituting other words for swear words is still swearing -- and that those who strive to rid themselves of the habit should refrain from uttering oaths of any kind.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Ned," and I have lived together for seven years, since I was 19 and he was 21. We have no children.

He proposed to me five years ago and I accepted. However, we haven't legalized our relationship yet, although we have been faithful to each other.

Abby, I do everything for him that a wife does: keep house, cook, do the laundry, let him borrow my car when his isn't running (he won't let me borrow his), and support him emotionally.

I work in a coffee shop and don't make much money, but I have bought all our cookware, dishes, linens and curtains, and I help with the utilities as well as pay for all the groceries. It isn't easy on my wages and tips, but I pinch every penny twice, and I eat where I work to save on food expenses.

Ned makes twice the money I do, and consequently he claims he has the right to make most of the decisions in our life. I tried going to college so I could get a better job, but working full time and attending school was very hard. The hours were killing me.

I would like for us to finally get married, but Ned refuses. He says he won't marry me until I get a job that pays enough to handle half the bills.

Abby, I love him, but it seems that no matter what I do, it's never enough because I can't pay half of everything. Believe me, I would if I could.

Have you any advice for me, Abby? -- BEAST OF BURDEN, KINGMAN, ARIZ.

DEAR B.O.B.: Yes. If you want to get married, find another man, one who will value you for yourself -- not your paycheck. Ned is a user. You deserve far better, but you won't get it from this man. You've given enough, and it's time to move on.

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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