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by Abigail Van Buren

Man on the Wagon Nags His Friends to Join Him

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I went out to dinner with another couple. After finishing our meal, I offered our friend, "Elaine," a piece of gum. I handed her the box so she could remove the piece herself.

When she returned the box she said she had taken two pieces. I told her it wasn't right as I had offered her only one piece, which I believe is the correct serving. Elaine claimed I had no right to dictate her serving size. Was she right for "chewing me out" over this? -- MORE THAN I CAN SWALLOW, WAYNE, N.J.

DEAR MORE: After reading your letter, I took a random poll among my staff. Of those who had chewing gum with them, two-thirds had packages that indicated a serving is two pieces, while the rest read that a serving is only one piece. I don't think Elaine was wrong to defend herself after you attacked her, and before criticizing, you should have asked yourself if it was worth possibly gumming up a friendship.