DEAR ABBY: My husband and I attended the wedding of the son of some old friends in another state. Rather than buy the young couple a gift, we instead gave them a check for $1,000. Imagine our astonishment when a month later the following arrived in our mailbox:
"Dear 'Loretta' and 'Evan,'
"Thank you for the generous donation. We really enjoyed spending that money. If ever you feel like you have too much of it, we would gladly take it off your hands.
"Love, 'Mason' and 'Candace'"
Abby, my husband and I have worked hard for many years in our business and have been blessed by the Lord. We are not millionaires. We were happy and humbled to be able to share with them -- until we received this. The money wasn't a donation; it was a gift. -- STUNG IN SIOUX CITY
DEAR STUNG: Let's hope the note you received was an unfortunate attempt at humor. While the message may have gone over like a lead balloon and I'm sure the parents would be beyond embarrassed if they knew, at least you received a thank-you for your generosity. I hear from many people who complain that their gifts were not acknowledged at all.
DEAR ABBY: One of my co-workers takes company research presentation books into the restroom with him multiple times a day and spends upwards of half an hour in there with them. The unsanitary implications of this drive me batty.
I am not germophobic, but taking shared materials into the bathroom while you're doing your business is just too much for me. It's not like he's taking in a newspaper that can be tossed out; these are research materials that we must all share!
My co-worker told me I need to "get over it," that this is a "me" issue. Am I crazy or is taking shared workplace materials into the bathroom gross and inappropriate? -- WAITING FOR E. COLI TO KILL ME
DEAR WAITING: You are asking the wrong person this question. You should be asking the head of human resources or your boss.
I'm no germophobe either, but I agree that what your co-worker is doing is extremely inappropriate. You should not have to sanitize your hands after touching anything your co-worker might have touched, but that's what I'm suggesting you do.
DEAR ABBY: I have many problems, but my biggest one is, how do I forgive someone so I can move on with my life?
It would take me forever to tell you everything that has been said and done. Forgiving sounds simple, but it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Can you help? -- CHALLENGED IN ILLINOIS
DEAR CHALLENGED: If hate and resentment are eating away at you, then it is probably healthier for you to let go of it. Forgiving someone isn't doing something for someone else; it is a gift you give yourself that allows you to move forward with your life. Your religious adviser can help you -- or, if you prefer, a licensed mental health counselor.
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.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)