DEAR ABBY: Last weekend my wife's former college roommate, "Kathy," came to visit my wife and me. We had not seen her since 1986. She had sent a Christmas card, which we followed up with a phone call inviting her for a weekend. She lives two hours away and accepted immediately - then she called back and asked if she could bring her new boyfriend. Well, we thought, "Any boyfriend of Kathy's would be as delightful as Kathy." Right? Wrong!

Kathy's boyfriend (I'll call him Chuck) turned out to be the most overbearing, crude, obnoxious, know-it-all we had ever met. He was argumentative, loud and just plain rude. We bit our tongues the entire weekend to keep from telling him where to go!The problem is that Kathy seems to like this guy and she indicated that she and Chuck would be back regularly for weekend visits! She also suggested that we take a vacation trip with them.

So how do we go about telling Kathy that we think Chuck is a first-class jerk and she deserves better? Or should we keep quiet and hope she sees the light and dumps this rude dude? - STUMPED

DEAR STUMPED: Be honest. If Kathy asks you what you think of Chuck, don't offer phony praise to keep from hurting her feelings. Tell her now not to include you in any vacations with her and Chuck because you don't enjoy his company that much. She may be offended, but it might inspire her to take a harder look at her new boyfriend and cause her to chuck Chuck.

DEAR ABBY: About a year and a half ago, I moved to a retirement facility in Oregon. Ever since, I have been swamped with mail-order catalogs (unsolicited) to the point that when the mail is delivered each day, there are more catalogs delivered than my mailbox can hold!

In the past you have, from time to time, printed an address to which one could write in order to put a stop to this nuisance. Would you please print it again? I am . . . KNEE-DEEP IN JUNK MAIL

DEAR KNEE-DEEP: Not only do some catalog companies make money by selling their merchandise; they also make a bundle by selling their customer lists to one another. Therefore, once you order anything by catalog you may find yourself on many other mailing lists and the recipient of many unwanted solicitations.

If you shop at home but want to lessen the unsolicited advertising mail you receive, simply ask the companies with which you do business not to rent your name to other mailers.

Your other option, the Mail Preference Service, screens out the national advertising mail and should be used by consumers who do not want to receive such solicitations. To have your name deleted from these lists, write to: Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association Inc., P.O. Box 3861, New York, NY 10163-3861. There is no charge for this service.

DEAR ABBY: I thought I'd share with you a very poignant letter that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle recently. Perhaps you will want to share it with your readers. - S.K. IN HAYWARD, CALIF.

DEAR S.K.: I think it is well worth sharing with my readers. It appeared in the "Letters to the Editor" section, and here it is:


Can I march in your parade, too? I came back from World War II after being in five battles, and I don't remember any ticker tape.

We were near Japan on VJ Day and didn't get to participate, unlike some of the lucky National Guardsmen in the latest short war.

In 1945, we were so jumpy from kamikaze attacks that we had a general quarters alarm after the Japanese surrendered. It was very remote from the joyful madness I saw displayed in pictures of Market Street.

Our ship's company had not seen civilization in over a year, and it was another eight months before I was mustered out.

Can I be in your parade now?


CONFIDENTIAL TO G.H. IN OTTAWA, CANADA: "The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is." (George Bernard Shaw) You, sir, are a very respectable man.

DEAR ABBY: Am I the only person in the world who puts eyeglasses on to answer the telephone? I use "specs" for reading only because my eyesight is quite good for a person my age - so why do I always reach for them when I answer the telephone? - WEIRD IN DENVER

DEAR WEIRD: Perhaps you want to be prepared in case you need to make a note of something during the telephone conversation. Many people (including me) have the same habit.

"How to Be Popular" is an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person. To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)