DEAR ABBY: I grew up in a house full of siblings. Our father told us he would not tolerate smoking, drinking or cursing under his roof, and if we wanted to do any of those things, we were free to move out.
When I entered the Air Force in 1947, it wasn't long before I was confronted with the old, "Aw, come on -- have a drink. Don't be a stick-in-the-mud."
I had several good friends who drank, but I had no desire to start. I finally came up with an answer that worked. I told anyone who asked me to drink or smoke a funny cigarette, "I'll tell you what I'll do: I won't try to make you stop if you don't try to make me start."
In almost 13 years in the Air Force, it never failed me and I still had lots of friends. I still don't drink or smoke that funny weed, and I am over 70 years old.
Abby, why can't young people today use the same line to refuse alcohol, tobacco, drugs -- and maybe even sex? They might be surprised how they could influence some of their friends to stop. I'm proud to say I did. -- BEEN THERE IN TEXAS
DEAR BEEN THERE: They can. After reading your easy-to-memorize one-liner, some of them probably will. It's short, nonjudgmental and very much to the point.