DEAR ABBY: Last month I saw one of those late-night "psychics" TV shows. They were begging viewers to call for a "free psychic consultation," so just for fun, I did.
As I expected, they could not give me answers to any of the specific questions I asked, and they finally admitted they were just doing a tarot card reading based on the birth date I had given them. Unfortunately, like a fool, I also gave them my mailing address. I was told, "We need it for our records."
Immediately I began to receive pounds of junk mail each week and phone calls from every kind of weird and goofy outfit you can possibly imagine. My name must have gone to 50 mailing lists! I have called and written to have this stopped, but it's as though a horrible virus has been unleashed and just keeps on spreading.
When I think of all the waste I created with a short little phone call to a bogus psychic, it makes me sick. Please, Dear Abby, warn your readers. (You may print my ame.) -- CINDY M. BLACK, SEATTLE
DEAR CINDY: On behalf of my readers, thank you for the warning. Many of them may be unaware that once this kind of personal information is given, it may be added to a database or list that is later sold -- and resold (!) -- to generate income.
DEAR ABBY: I just ended a six-year relationship. When I run into people I know and they inquire about my former companion, I simply say, "We are no longer together." Invariably, they will say something like, "Really? What happened?" How can I answer them?
I would like to say, "None of your business," but I don't have the nerve. I'm not a teen-ager; I'm a 50-year-old woman. Abby, please give me a clever comeback to let them know they're being too nosy. -- DISGUSTED IN DENVER
DEAR DISGUSTED: When you run into people you know and they persist in asking for details about the breakup, simply say, "That's a sensitive subject at this time. If you don't mind, I'd rather not discuss it."
DEAR ABBY: I am 72, and this is my first letter to you. I've been recalling memories and entering them in a family-tree program on our computer. The letter from the lady who shared the idea of putting a business card in a child's pocket for ID in case he or she got lost in a crowd brought back a good memory.
We did the same thing in 1958 before our trip to the Hudson's Department Store in downtown Detroit to see Santa Claus, and our son was instructed to show his father's business card if he got lost and someone asked his name.
We had forgotten about it until Santa asked, "And what is your name, young man?" Our 3-year-old son reached into his pocket and, without a word, handed the card to Santa. Santa just chortled and turned to all of us, "How do you like that! The kid carries his own business card!"
So thank you, Abby, and your reader for jogging this memory that is going into my file. -- BETTY IN FARMINGTON, MICH.
DEAR BETTY: Thank you for sharing that sweet family memory with my readers and me.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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