DEAR ABBY: I am a 27-year-old mom who has always been overweight. I have tried all sorts of diets and programs, and have lost a few pounds and then gained it all back and more.
My boss has offered to pay for me to have weight loss surgery. It is something I have always wanted, but could never afford. My boss told me she knows the struggle I have had and the frustration I have experienced.
My family is behind me and supports my decision to have it done. My concern is that once others in my office learn it was paid for by the boss, I'll be treated differently. I'm concerned about possible catty comments. They are gossips, and I hate being the center of attention in situations like that. The truth is bound to come out, so how can I comment on the gift I've been given? -- SO GRATEFUL IN TEXAS
DEAR SO GRATEFUL: You have a generous and empathetic boss who obviously cares about you. Unless one of you reveals that she paid for your surgery, "the truth" is not bound to come out. How your operation is paid for is nobody's business.
DEAR ABBY: My father recently told me his girlfriend is pregnant with twins. She is in her 40s and he is in his 50s. She already has two kids who are quite a handful. They both have low-paying jobs and I don't think they can handle two more children.
My father now is asking me to move in with him to help out. Because of their financial state and their ages, I'm afraid this is a huge risk. If I tell him what my concerns are, I am sure he'll think I'm heartless and stop talking to me. I don't know what to do. Dad might not even be around to see those kids graduate from high school. What can I do? -- TROUBLED SON IN COLORADO
DEAR TROUBLED SON: Unless you're willing to give up your freedom I don't recommend doing what your father is proposing. He should not expect you to assume child care or financial responsibility because his birth control method failed. That privilege rightfully belongs to him and his girlfriend. Tell your father you sympathize with his dilemma, but the answer is no.
DEAR ABBY: I read your column on the nights that I work, and I was wondering if you have had days when you just wanted to tell someone who has written to you to "suck it up and deal with it." I am generally a nice person and would help the most helpless cases as best I could, but I know that I have days when I have been snarky. I was wondering how you deal with those days. -- FEELING SNARKY TONIGHT IN VERMONT
DEAR FEELING SNARKY: I write my column from an office away from my home. Because of that, it's easier to leave distractions (or "problems") on the other side of the door when I enter. I'm here to help people, not to make anyone feel worse. If for some reason I felt I was unable to do that, I would either go for a long walk or postpone writing for another day.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.