DEAR ABBY: I have been preparing tax returns for 15 years. In all this time, I have seen many people from all walks of life. My pet peeve is people who bring their children with them when they have us prepare their taxes. I have had children unplug my computer, spill drinks on my desk, run around as if my office is a play school -- and their parents do nothing to discipline them. I find it impossible to concentrate when a child is screaming or crawling under my desk.
People have 3 1/2 months to get their taxes done. During that time, I know they could find a baby sitter for a few hours. It would make my job so much easier.
My job is stressful. I will do no less than 500 tax returns between now and April 15. Often people must wait for hours in our office just to be seen. In that environment, children become very restless. We are more likely to make a mistake if we have to baby-sit children while figuring taxes.
So, Abby, PLEASE inform your readers to leave their kids at home. If necessary, exchange baby-sitting services with a neighbor, relative or friend while you get your taxes done. It could result in a larger refund, less time spent, and everyone being a lot happier. -- TAXED TAX PREPARER
DEAR TAXED: Your comments make a lot of sense, and I'm sure you're not the only tax preparer who faces this problem. Business offices are not set up to accommodate young children, regardless of how well behaved they may be. Active children cannot be expected to sit silently for long periods of time as adults can. Not only is it unfair to the little ones, it can also be a nightmare for adults who are trying to work.
If parents heed your advice, everyone will benefit.
DEAR ABBY: I am 26-year-old woman and my best friend is 42. Her husband is insanely jealous when we do anything together. He's even jealous of me because I can make her laugh! He picks fights with her when we decide to do something -- he throws things, squeals his tires in the driveway, calls us lovers (which we are not), anything to get attention.
I am always on my best behavior when I'm at their house so as not to cause any trouble. This situation is not only frustrating, but it's making it difficult to remain friends. This has gone on for four years, and I don't know how much more I can tolerate. Abby, could you please point me in the right direction? -- AT MY WIT'S END, ALMA, MICH.
P.S. I don't think he's going to get therapy for this anytime soon.
DEAR WIT'S END: Your friend's husband is counting on the idea that his outrageous behavior will drive you away. If you haven't already done so, talk with your friend about how childish and controlling his behavior is. His attempt to isolate her friends is a form of abuse. Since it has reached the point of exceeding your level of tolerance, schedule your visits away from her home.
P.S. It's sad this man won't consider therapy. He needs it. Your friend could benefit from counseling, too, in order to understand why she tolerates his behavior.
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-size, 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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600