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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I work in the office of a trucking company. One of my four co-workers is a married man. I'll call him Tom. The rest of us are females. A divorced female truck driver comes into the office and can't keep her hands off Tom.

Every chance she gets, she rubs his neck, shoulders or back while he sits there looking embarrassed. She also tells him dirty jokes. The other women and I think her behavior is inappropriate.

When Tom's wife found out about this gal, she told him to put a stop to it because it shows a lack of respect for their marriage. He has asked me and the other women more than once how to handle this problem. I told him I'd write you, since we read you every morning on our breaks.

What do you say, Abby? We're awaiting your advice. -- THE OFFICE GANG

DEAR OFFICE GANG: Tom is a big boy. He ought to be able to discourage the woman's advance without our help. However, if he lacks the courage to speak up, he should discuss the matter with the office manager. It's his or her job to intervene if one of the employees is being harassed.

DEAR ABBY: My dad and I are partners in a home-based business. He has repeatedly told me he wants our business to be successful. However, when it's time to put his nose to the grindstone, he makes up one excuse after another and leaves it to me.

I love my dad. However, I have wasted a lot of time and money trying to get him to fulfill his responsibilities. Should I give up and work the business on my own? -- DISENCHANTED DAUGHTER IN CANADA

DEAR DISENCHANTED: Perhaps your father is finding the business stressful and would like to be bought out. Have a heart-to-heart talk with him and ask him if that's the case.

P.S. It is important that you talk to a lawyer about this "partnership" before you invest more time and money in the business.

DEAR ABBY: The letter in your column about a father explaining "the birds and the bees" to his 7-year-old son brought back the memory of my experience with my 6-year-old son.

I sat him in front of the television to watch a program on human reproduction. After the show, he told me that he understood everything except how the male seed got to the female egg. I said he was too young to know, and I would tell him when he was a teen-ager. He threw up his hands and said by that time, he would have forgotten the question.

After some pleading and a solemn promise not to tell his mother where he'd gotten his information, I told him. He stared at the wall for about 20 seconds, turned, looked me straight in the eye, and said, "Dad, that's the most disgusting thing I've ever heard." -- R.W., RAYMOND, N.H.

DEAR R.W.: I'm sure his opinion changed once his testosterone kicked in. Read on for a story that approaches the subject from a different angle:

DEAR ABBY: The letters about children learning the facts of life reminded me of this old story:

A country doctor went to deliver a baby. The expectant mother's 5-year-old son was with her and the delivery was imminent.

The house had no electricity, so the doctor brought out his lantern. He instructed the little fellow to hold the lantern while he delivered the baby. After the baby was born, the doctor spanked it and it began to cry.

Turning to the little boy, the doctor asked, "Well, son, what do you think of your baby brother?" "Hit him again," the boy replied. "He ought not to have climbed up there in the first place." -- ROWENA IN KANSAS CITY, KAN.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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