DEAR ABBY: I have a minor problem, but it is very irritating. It's my telephone answering machine. I made a recording saying, "You have reached (my telephone number)." Then I say, "Please leave your name, the time you called and your telephone number, and I will get back to you as soon as possible."

Abby, often callers will hang up before the instructions are finished. That's fine. Their loss.But the other evening, I returned to find the following message on my machine: "It's 6:35; please call me as soon as possible" - nothing else. It was a woman's voice that I did not recognize. Is one expected to be clairvoyant?

And while I'm airing my complaints, how about those world travelers who send postcards signed simply, "Tom, Mary, Peggy or Bob," and expect you to know who they are? Usually, these are people we don't see very often, and the handwriting must be compared with signatures we received on Christmas cards.

I hope you print this. Meanwhile, thanks for letting me get this out of my system. - ME

DEAR ME: You're welcome. That's what I'm here for.

DEAR ABBY: I recently attended a wedding, a company dinner and a commemorative dinner. At all three events, professional and amateur video camera users were present.

At the company dinner, those who were called up to receive their bonus checks were hidden by camera holders.

At the commemorative dinner, a tripod was set up directly in front of our table; when I asked the cameraman to kindly move, he refused and suggested that I move my chair. Where? We all had assigned seats, and there were no empty seats.

The wedding was a "production" produced to make the video to preserve for posterity. The wedding party and the guests were ordered around by the cameraman who was paid to get a video of the ceremony from start to finish. There were also amateur camera holders, and even flashbulbs going off! It was a farce. Abby, why must the magic of the present be sacrificed in an effort to preserve "memories"?

Please comment. These camera and video enthusiasts should not be permitted to run (and ruin) everything. - OLD-FASHIONED

DEAR OLD-FASHIONED: I agree. The magic of the present should not be sacrificed to preserve memories for posterity.

DEAR ABBY: I am quite sure that everyone who reads your column has been bored by people who are in the habit of telling long, drawn-out stories that are usually pointless and seem endless.

May I share a wonderful suggestion given to me by a very wise friend?

To test the interest of your audience, if someone interrupts you in the middle of a story and nobody asks, "And then what happened?" - shut up!

I have tried it many times over the years, and I must admit, I have shut up a lot. - SAMMY K., RANCHO MIRAGE

To get Abby's booklet "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada), to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)