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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR READERS: It's April 1, the day I get to share some of the occasional letters I receive from folks who are pulling my leg. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: My wife of 23 years is threatening to divorce me on the grounds that I'm "unreasonable." Is it unreasonable for me to attempt to keep my socks oriented to the proper feet? When I put my socks on the wrong feet, I run around in circles and become disoriented. I know women don't have this problem because they wear pantyhose -- so it's impossible to put them on the wrong feet.

I sewed a bit of red yarn on the tops of my right socks so I could keep them straight. My wife says I'm crazy, but I insist, "Right on right; left on left."

So tell me, Abby -- must I run in stupid circles and endure moments of disorientation and embarrassment? Or should I forgo the red yarn and hang in there with my wife to preserve our marriage? -- DISTURBED KENTUCKY MAN

DEAR DISTURBED KENTUCKY MAN: And a happy April Fools' Day to you, too. The red yarn is preferable to the yarn you have spun for me. (It's also preferable to running in circles like a decapitated chicken.) And you're mistaken about women's pantyhose. Ask any woman who has put hers on backward.

DEAR ABBY: I'm concerned about my youngest son, "Sammy." From the moment he gets up each day until the time he retires at night, he spends almost the entire time playing in the sandbox in our backyard.

My wife and I are alarmed by his bizarre behavior, and incidentally, so is his wife. What should we do? -- WORRIED DAD IN GEORGIA

DEAR WORRIED DAD: Be sure to brush him off if he ever runs a marathon to prevent diaper rash.

DEAR ABBY: Lately I've been having some strange dreams. I cannot explain how I come up with this stuff. The other night I had a doozy: whips, chains, whistles, yo-yos, circus midgets, a duck, a Romanian peasant woman, and my grandmother riding by on a bicycle giving me the finger. Please advise. -- CALIFORNIA DREAMIN'

DEAR CALIFORNIA DREAMIN': What a coincidence! I had that very same dream last night. Your grandmother sure gets around.

DEAR ABBY: I hate bothering you because I know you're busy, but I have been getting the runaround from my TV provider. I have asked them repeatedly to send someone over to fix my set, but they keep saying it can be fixed by remote control. I've got a black screen and it just doesn't work. Can you come over to fix it? -- MISSING JERRY SPRINGER IN PITTSBURGH

DEAR MISSING JERRY: I help people solve relationship problems, but the one you're having with your TV set does not qualify. Sorry.

DEAR ABBY: I prefer to sleep facing in; my husband prefers to sleep facing out. My problem is when he's gassy -- which is often -- it puts me "in the line of fire." We've talked about how to deal with this problem, but haven't been able to come up with a solution. Any suggestions? -- GAS TAXED IN NEWARK, DEL.

DEAR GAS TAXED: Yes. Switch sides!

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)