DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Happy to Lose the Lottery" is just another sign of the decline of manners in our society. Co-workers were notified by e-mail that their names had been "entered in a lottery," the winners of which would receive invitations to attend a "small but poignant wedding." The writer had not been a winner, but was advised to send a gift anyway.
You asked readers if they cared to comment. I certainly do. My reply:
DEAR ELMER AND GLADYS: Like your wedding, my bank account is also a "small but poignant affair," and due to the "physical nature" of cash-flow difficulties, I cannot send gifts to all my friends and relatives.
Per your suggestion, I have "held a lottery with your name included, but alas, you were not on the winners list." When my gift does not arrive, you will know you've invented a "most equitable" solution for any "disappointment problem." I "thank you in absentia." -- MARTY IN SEATTLE
DEAR MARTY: You are a wit, and I'm sure your suggested response will bring a smile to many faces. That letter generated a flood of mail from longtime readers, many of whom had not been moved to pick up a pen and write to me before. Read on for a sample; I only wish I could print more of them:
DEAR ABBY: When I read the "invitation" from Elmer and Gladys, my jaw dropped. Do you think they actually expect a gift and a continuing friendship with those people? I don't think so!
Perhaps it's punishment enough that their invitation would appear in your column. However, I would send them a gift, all right -- a book on etiquette. They need to learn a thing or two. -- TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA