DEAR ABBY: After reading the letter from "Wife of a Slob," I had to write. My son makes this guy sound like "Mr. Clean"!

He layers his pile of clothing with dishes (with the food still on them) plus orange peelings, apple cores, egg shells, etc. Our house smells like a compost pile. This is not just confined to our home. His employer had to demand that he clean the food and garbage out of the company vehicle.Instead of putting garbage in the garbage container, he throws it downstairs or under the cupboards. He never vacuums his room or changes his sheets. He has absolutely no regard for our furniture - he thinks nothing of using my good crystal glasses (when all the other glasses are dirty in his room). These good glasses join the others - full of mold, under his bed or wherever he leaves them. This has been going on for 10 years. When I ask him to please clean his room, he becomes belligerent and doesn't speak to me for days.

I have just told him, for the 100th time, that he must clean his room or move. Abby, he is 26 years old and is impeccable about his personal hygiene and his appearance.

I cannot help but believe that this is an illness. I find it hard to believe that anyone could be this gross (by choice) without a deep psychological reason. I consulted a psychiatrist some years ago. He said my son would outgrow this.

Please help me, Abby. I know you often consult professionals. If one can help, I will be forever grateful. I don't mind paying for help, if only I knew where to look.

I love my son very much, and I know when he gets married, you'll be getting another letter from "Wife of a Slob" - but this time, it will be my slob. Please don't print my name. Sign this . . . MOTHER OF A SLOB

DEAR MOTHER: At first, I soliloquized: "Tell this tormented mother to find a psychiatrist with two couches - one for her son, and one for herself for putting up with him for so long. He didn't turn into a super-slob overnight. Why didn't she nip this gross, slovenly behavior in the bud before it reached the point where her lovely home smelled like a compost pile?"

Then I further soliloquized: "Telling her what she should have done won't help her. What should she do now?" And here's the answer:

You can't change anyone but yourself. Give your son an ultimatum: "Clean up your act within 24 hours, or you will find your clothes packed and on the porch because you can no longer live like a pig under this roof."

Then make good your threat - if you have to change the locks on your door.

Tough? You bet. The ball is now in your court, Mother. Please write again and let me know of your decision. I wish you well.

DEAR ABBY: In a recent letter to you signed "Wife of a Slob," she wrote, "There is a pile of his clothes a foot high on our bedroom floor." Then she wrote, "It's been there for two months." Abby, who's the slob?

She asked you, "What should I do?" You should have replied, "Pick up the clothes!"

I am a househusband (retired), have been married for 40 years, and have lovingly picked up after my wife most of those years and was glad to do it.

This reminds me of the story of two young men who met and one said, "I hear you're getting married." The other said, "Yes, I'm tired of no clean underwear, no clean shirts, dirty dishes in the sink and a messy apartment."

"Oh," said the first man, "that's why I'm getting divorced." - WES IN CHATTANOOGA

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