Dear Ann: I need an unbiased person with a good set of brains to help me sort this out. I've chosen you.
A woman I work with (we're very compatible friends) decided we should take our vacation together and go to Las Vegas and gamble, just for the heck of it. We saved all year, and each of us was able to get together $1,800 for the trip. We got discount travel rates by checking the Internet. After travel and hotel expenses, we had $400 left for gambling.
"Nellie" and I had a terrific time, saw some great shows and ate like royalty. We stayed away from the craps tables, played a little blackjack and lost a few dollars, but not much. Then we went for the slot machines, which we both love. We each had $100 left and decided to play the $1 machines.
By 2:30 a.m., we were tapped out, and all the money we had set aside for gambling was gone. Nellie started to walk back to our rooms. I then said, "I'm going to put one last dollar in and call it quits." I stepped over to the slot that Nellie had been feeding all night, put in a dollar, and lo and behold, I hit the jackpot. The money was falling all over the floor, and it seemed like an endless stream of silver dollars was coming out. I counted the total, and it came to $1,200.
Nellie yelled, "You have to split that with me. I fed that machine all night!" I replied, "When you walked away, it became MY machine. I don't owe you anything." She yelled, "What kind of a friend are you, anyway?" Well, Ann, I realized our relationship was at stake and decided to split my winnings with Nellie.
I would like to know, was I a fool to do it, or was I morally obligated to share my winnings? Please tell me what you think. Tess in Texas
Dear Tess: When Nellie left the machine, she abandoned her claim to it. When you took over, all the losses and winnings belonged to you. You were extremely generous to share your winnings with your friend, although you had no obligation to do so. Were you a fool? No. You decided your friendship with Nellie was more important than the money and that was very classy.
Dear Ann: I carpool with several co-workers, and they are all OK people, but one passenger has a habit that drives me to distraction. He likes to hum, sing or whistle along with the tunes being played on the radio. I have asked this fellow to please stop doing this, and he does stop for a few minutes, but then he starts up again. He says he "can't help himself."
When I am the driver, I can turn off the radio, which eliminates the singing, but it also prevents me from enjoying the music. Of course, when I'm in someone else's car, I can't very well ask them to turn off the radio and stop singing.
I don't want to lose a friend over this, but how much should I have to tolerate? Is there some particular rule of etiquette that covers this situation? Please help me, Ann. I'm not dealing with it very well. Irritated in Illinois
Dear Illinois: When you are riding in someone else's car, you must respect the driver's wishes regarding singing, humming and whistling, and if you are asked to refrain from any of the above, you should do so. However, when you are in your own car, you can scream, whistle, hum, sing or yell to your heart's content, and if your passengers don't like it, well, too darned bad. Let 'em take the bus.
Gem of the Day: The best labor-saving device for a woman is a husband with money.