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DEAR ABBY: I'm in my 50s, have a serious heart condition -- I almost died twice -- and am living on borrowed time. My doctors know it, my family knows it, and I know it. We have talked about it, as well as my living will and organ donation. We have also discussed at length QUALITY of life, as opposed to QUANTITY of life.

Some well-meaning people, out of a mistaken sense of kindness, would like me to do nothing but vegetate. I remind them I am still alive and able to do quite a few things. Perhaps vegetating would extend my life, but what would the "cost" be? Right now I can travel, do most of my own housework, putter in the flower garden and help my husband. While I cannot lift my grandchild or run in the yard with her, I can read to her and help her with the dishes.

It is demoralizing when people refuse to listen as I try to explain quality vs. quantity of life. I know they want me to be cautious because they fear losing me. I am afraid much of the time, and am in no hurry to "meet my Maker," but when that day does come, I'll die knowing I made the best of the most precious gift there is -- life.

Abby, please ask your readers to encourage and help those with limitations to live life to the fullest. And urge your readers who are blessed with good health not to waste it, but to use this gift of life for the good of all. -- LIVING LIFE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR LIVING LIFE: I'm pleased to pass along your message. Our time on Earth is not infinite; therefore, our days should be spent the way we invest our money -- wisely.

You're a pragmatic woman. I admire your determination to suck as much of the juice out of the fruit of life as you can. Bon appetit!

DEAR ABBY: My 11-year-old son has cut his beautiful long eyelashes. I am heartbroken. Will they grow back? -- WORRIED MOM IN WASHINGTON

DEAR WORRIED MOM: They should grow back. I called my ophthalmologist, who assured me that the normal life cycle of an eyelash is six weeks. In practically no time, your son will be batting his eyelashes again.

P.S. Since sharp, pointed objects near the eyes can be very dangerous, inform your son that there will be severe penalties if he does it again.

DEAR ABBY: I've heard that you can fall in love with people you've met over the Internet, on blind dates or even dialing the wrong number -- but have you ever heard of people falling in love through a toilet bowl?

I am a female inmate in a county jail in California. Men and women here speak to each other through air vents and the plumbing system. We take all the water out and talk through the toilet bowls.

I have met a great guy. I've never seen him, but we have so much in common. After speaking with each other every day for a month, he told me he loved me and wanted to be my "one and only."

I haven't told him I love him yet, because I feel I can't trust my emotions as long as I am locked up. I suspect that I care a great deal about him.

Abby, have you ever heard of a toilet bowl romance? Do you think this is possible? -- BOWLED OVER IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR BOWLED OVER: Your letter is a first! The answer to your questions are: "No" and "I have my doubts." You may be pulling my chain, but I'll take your word that you are serious. Wait until you are both released and have gotten to know each other before you decide to give your heart to "John" Doe.

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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