DEAR ABBY: Several salespersons recently have ended our transaction by saying, "Have a blessed day." The last two times it happened, I stopped and asked, "What do you mean by that?" Both of them stammered and didn't know what to say.
One said, "I'm sort of religious." I replied that I'm atheist. I don't think these folks realize what they're saying. The next time it happens, I plan to respond by asking Zeus to bestow blessings upon them as well.
Why do people feel they have a right to force their religious beliefs on customers? -- ANNOYED ATHEIST IN TEXAS
DEAR ANNOYED ATHEIST: I seriously doubt they are trying to proselytize. The expression may be regional. Or the person may feel that "blessed" is synonymous with "good," "happy" or "safe." If you wish to invoke the blessings of Zeus upon them, feel free to do so. But don't be surprised if you have a heck of a time getting waited on the next time you visit the establishment.
DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with "Ward" for two years. I love him and everything is great except for one thing. He refuses to compromise when it comes to his family functions.
He's very close to his extended family, and every time there's an event like a recent graduation party for a cousin, he never wants to leave. We were there for 10 hours, and I spent more than half of it either alone or talking to someone I didn't know well because Ward had ditched me.
I have spoken to him about this, but he's unwilling to compromise. He says his family knows him as "the social guy" and expects him to stay late and be the life of the party. It's getting old that he makes me feel like the bad guy or a party-pooper when I want to leave.
We have had big fights over this. I'm not sure what to do. This has caused a rift in our relationship. -- FAMILY-FUNCTIONED OUT IN MINNESOTA
DEAR FAMILY-FUNCTIONED OUT: When the next family function rolls around, go in separate cars. That way you can leave when you get tired, and Ward can stay as long as he wants. No harm, no foul, no fights.
DEAR ABBY: I married my high school sweetheart at the age of 24. Five years later we divorced. My current husband, "Gil," had a similar short first marriage.
Although Gil and I have chosen not to divulge any information to our two children about our previous marriages, my sister thinks we should tell them everything because they may find out later in life and be disappointed they didn't hear it from us. She has said on many occasions that we are being dishonest. That is certainly not our intention. We truly believe there's no reason to bring up a past that has no benefit in their lives.
Your advice is badly needed because I see my relationship with my sister spiraling in a downward direction. I love her, but I don't agree with her opinion. -- LIVES IN THE PRESENT
DEAR LIVES IN THE PRESENT: I see no reason to make a "grand announcement" to your children, but with the rate at which marriages fail in this country, I also see no reason to keep this a deep, dark secret. If the subject of what makes a successful marriage comes up when your children are old enough, and you think it could be helpful to them, you might be able to impart some important life lessons if you mention the past. Having been married once previously isn't a shameful secret, and it should not be treated like one.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)