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Dear Abby 7/23
Friend advises punster to go slow with new colleagues
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    DEAR ABBY: My significant other helped me find a wonderful job with intelligent people. I'm an inveterate punster — "If I put a leafy green vegetable on the barbecue, will it be chard?"
    My friend says I shouldn't share my puns with my new co-workers as it may make them feel stupid and lead them to be mad at me. Is this a problem? Will my co-workers dislike me if they don't get my puns?
    Where do Bambi and the other deer go in the forest for sanctuary from hunters? To Deer Abby! -- COMPULSIVE PUNSTER IN CHICO, CALIF.
    DEAR COMPULSIVE: Cute. But technically it would be "Deer Abbey." I'm voting with your friend. Humor is risky, so curb the punning until they get to know you better. MUCH better.
    DEAR ABBY: Where is it published that "you're welcome" should be replaced with, "No problem"? I never received that memo and, what's more, I don't think it makes sense.
    I didn't intend to be "a problem" to anyone in the first place. So why am I not "welcome" now? It seems that parents and children have abandoned all forms of courtesy.
    To those who still teach their children good manners, I say, "Thank you," and I hope you'll reply, "You're welcome." -- MANNERLY MOM IN CUMBERLAND, MD.
    DEAR MANNERLY MOM: You have posed an interesting question. If I had to make a guess, it might be "you're welcome" carries a connotation that what you are thanking the person for might have been a burden or an imposition. "No problem" is meant to convey that it wasn't a burden.
    While I agree that it can be jarring when you're expecting "you're welcome," English is an evolving language and, rather than becoming offended, perhaps you should be grateful that the person is trying to be gracious.

    DEAR ABBY: When I proposed to my wife 15 years ago, I surprised her with a trip to San Francisco. We got engaged on one of the benches in Ghirardelli Square. I spent thousands on the ring and more on the flight, hotel, dinners, etc.
    Ever since, my wife has returned every gift I have given her for Christmas, her birthday, our anniversary and, most recently, on Mother's Day. It's never right. It's too small, too large, too expensive, too shiny, too furry — too anything.
    Not surprisingly, my desire to buy her gifts has dwindled over the years to the point where I never feel like getting her anything.
    Our 14th anniversary is coming up. I know, as usual, she expects me to do something to celebrate the occasion — but I don't want to waste time and effort on something she won't like and will return. I think she is ungrateful, and she will probably get nothing this time around as I am too tired to deal with it. However, if I don't buy something, I will probably feel guilty because she always buys me "something," even if it's another watch — I already have seven, which I don't wear. What should I do? -- GIFT GRINCH IN CARLSBAD
    DEAR GIFT GRINCH: Rather than "surprise" your wife with nothing, have a talk with her. Explain that buying her gifts that only get returned is depressing and suggest that from now on you shop for gifts together. That way each of you can select something you will enjoy, and you can share the "thrill of the hunt" together.
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