Dear Ann: You were recently asked by a reader why the government does not ban smoking, and your answer was, "It's the money, honey." Let me ask the same question a different way: Do you really want the government to decide what is harmful for you and let them ban it? Whatever happened to free will?
If we allow the government to make smoking illegal, what will stop them from banning other potentially dangerous things such as cars, boats, planes, motorcycles, red meat, mountain climbing, scuba diving, cross-country skiing, in-line skating, butcher knives and pitchforks?
The point is that we should educate ourselves and learn what we ought to avoid in order to stay alive and healthy. We should NOT look to the government to make these decisions for us. What do you say, Ann? Jim in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Dear Oklahoma: It has been proven that tobacco is an addictive substance. The same cannot be said for cars, boats, planes and motorcycles, nor do I know of any clinics that help people who are hooked on in-line skating or mountain climbing.
Ask anyone whose loved one has died from a tobacco-related illness, and they will tell you it is a horrible way to go. For years, I've been trying to educate my readers on this subject especially the young ones, for whom it is not too late. Should government BAN tobacco? No. America is a democracy. People should be free to make such decisions for themselves and pay the price if those decisions are wrong. People have the right to kill themselves if they choose to, but it's awfully hard on the ones they leave behind.
Dear Ann: The daughter of a longtime close friend was married at an elaborate wedding 11 months ago. My husband hates putting on a tuxedo, but he conceded to my wishes and went begrudgingly. We sent a beautiful wedding gift, which made a sizable dent in our budget.
It has been almost a year since the event took place, and we have yet to receive an acknowledgment that our gift was received. We checked the store to make certain it was sent, and they said, "Indeed it was. We sent it certified mail and have the signed receipt." What do you suggest we do now? Miffed in Missouri
Dear M. in M.: It is apparent that your close friend's daughter has no social graces and is probably lazy, as well. If it will make you feel better, drop her a note and ask if she received your gift. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope. If she is embarrassed by your not-so-subtle reminder, fine. Hopefully, it will have taught her something.
Dear Ann: I have a wonderful girlfriend, 25 years old, who is just about perfect in every way. We plan to be married next summer. The problem is that "Alice's" mother insists she wear a pager and carry a cell phone whenever she goes out. She must check in with Mom every hour. I am concerned about what effect this will have on our marriage.
Her mom is a nice woman, and I don't want to alienate her. Do you have any advice for me? Texas Tom
Dear Tom: Alice is 25 years old, and she has to check in with her mother every hour when she is out for an evening? If you are willing to tolerate such extraordinary control, be prepared to have your mother-in-law involved in every aspect of your life, because this is the way it's going to be. My condolences for what lies ahead. I see red lights flashing all over the place.