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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman's Search for Insight Yields Man of Her Dreams

DEAR ABBY: I would like to share something special with you. What began as a simple little experiment to give me insight into the people around me ended up giving me more than just the warm fuzzies.

I asked some of those I work with and some close friends to answer the following question with the first thing that came to mind. I asked it exactly as stated with no emphasis on any one particular word: "If you could do any one thing in the world, what would it be?" Some of the answers were amusing. My co-workers answered: "Turn invisible." "Lose 50 pounds." "Educate the world." "I'd rule the world."

My friends answered: "Feel better about myself." "Feed the world" "Become a millionaire."

I asked my boyfriend of five months at the time the same question. Without hesitation, he answered, "I would give you a working pancreas." My jaw dropped, my heart melted and my eyes filled with tears. You see, Abby, I have had type II diabetes for nearly 10 years. Thankfully, I am very well controlled and healthy, yet he knows that the daily rituals that control my life will never go away.

I think I have finally met a man with my best interest at heart. How could I not love someone with such unselfish kindness? Maybe there is hope for the world after all! -- LANA A., ATLANTA

DEAR LANA A.: You picked yourself a Georgia peach, honey. Hang onto him -- he's a keeper.

DEAR ABBY: Yet one more letter about tolerance. Can we not be great Americans and still hold onto ethnic traditions? Why do we have to be a melting pot? Why do we need to shed our backgrounds in order to be true Americans?

There are so many wonderful, beautiful and enriching traditions, and if we open ourselves to learning about them, we can only grow in our acceptance and appreciation of all people. Tolerance means the acceptance of individuals as they are, not as we necessarily want them to be.

I choose to believe that our founding fathers wanted America to be a place where all are welcome, not just those who are like us. Good citizenship does not require the shedding of our backgrounds. Good citizenship means accepting each other and working together for the betterment of us all. -- ANDELA IN LOVELAND, OHIO

DEAR ANDELA: Of course we can be great Americans and still hold onto our ethnic traditions. However, this country would be stronger if everyone who immigrates here became proficient in the English language. And while our various cultural traditions are important in defining who we are, I think it is important to define ourselves as Americans first, rather than calling ourselves "hyphen-Americans," which separates us rather than unites us as a nation. It's a matter of priorities.

DEAR ABBY: I have a neighbor who tells visitors to remove their shoes before entering because she has a light-colored carpet.

I, for one, don't like it. What should I do in this situation? -- WONDERING IN COLORADO

DEAR WONDERING: Either walk on your hands or stay home!

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, 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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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