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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: To say I am upset is an understatement. I have a terrible problem. My wife of 22 years, "Verna," was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison. Verna, you see, always programmed our VCR. As a result, I have no idea how to record my favorite sporting events.

I begged my daughter to show me how to operate the darned thing, but she's still mad at me because when she asked me if her blue blazer made her look fat, I replied: "No, I don't think your blazer makes you look fat. It's those double cheeseburgers you've been scarfing down two at a time that make you look so fat."

I'm thinking maybe if I run a personal ad in my local paper I could meet a nice lady and get my mind off all the sports I'm missing on TV. Here's how I plan to word it: "SWM seeking single female with lots of money and a fast car. Race, age and looks unimportant. Please send picture of car."

I know you get hundreds of letters every day with the same exact problems that I have, but please tell me what to do. -- APRIL FOOL FROM FORT SMITH, ARK.

DEAR APRIL FOOL: People often ask me if I get made-up letters, and in honor of April Fools' Day, I am printing yours.

By the way, forget about the personal ad. You have enough family problems already without revving up anyone else's engine.

DEAR ABBY: I'm 13, and I have a problem with my parents. They have been having sex. That's not the problem, except for the fact that they don't wait for me to fall asleep before doing it. Tonight they had sex before saying goodnight! How do I confront them about this? -- FREAKED OUT IN ALAMEDA, CALIF.

DEAR FREAKED OUT: Tonight at dinner, say, "Mom, Dad, I think it's time we talked about the facts of life. The first fact of life is, I'm not deaf."

DEAR READERS: The following poem was written by a longtime reader, the late Jean Wells Rogers. In March of 2002, I printed a poem she had penned titled, "Old-Timer's Bedtime," which contained the heart-warming lines: "We're old and we're wrinkled, but why should we mind? We sleep like two trees -- our branches entwined."

Today, I'm sharing another one of her treasures because it is both timely and relevant. Enjoy!

APRIL 1

No one goes hungry

All people are fed

The oceans are clean

Lake Erie's not dead.

The Irish aren't fighting

The Arabs love Jews

The swords are now plowshares

Now ain't that good news?

The water's delicious

The air is so clear

On top of a mountain

You see to next year.

Couples stay married

Children are jewels

Sure got you going!

APRIL FOOLS!

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 $6 (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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