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DRESSES, FRIENDSHIP CARRY TOO HIGH A PRICE FOR EX-BRIDESMAIDS

DEAR ABBY: I just learned that a friend for whom I agreed to be a bridesmaid tried to make a profit on the bridesmaids' dresses. "Betty" told me the dress cost $125. When she delivered it to me, I thought it looked rather cheap and poorly made, but I didn't say anything. I paid the $125 in good faith.

Another bridesmaid, Betty's roommate, called to tell me that she just found a sales slip listing the dress as $54, and she was so disgusted, she pulled out of the wedding party. That gave me the courage to call Betty and tell her I was pulling out, too, and why.I had also planned a wedding shower for Betty, which I canceled. Betty became very defensive and said the store had made a mistake in marking the dresses, which was untrue. I checked with the store.

Betty is now frantically calling around trying to find other girls to be her bridesmaids. She told one girl the dresses cost $125, but she could have hers for $60.

Money is not the issue here. I told Betty that she was not the kind of person I wanted for my friend. She accused me of "overreacting" and making a big deal out of nothing.

I would like your opinion and so would the other bridesmaids who dropped out. - EX-BRIDESMAIDS IN LONG BEACH

DEAR EX-BRIDESMAIDS: Overreacting? No way. I have heard of petty ripoffs, but I must say that this is a new low. (And people ask me if I make up these letters.)

DEAR ABBY: After a recent death in our family, I suddenly realized that I didn't have a will.

I intend to make one as soon as possible, but I need to know if it's possible to write a will myself, or must I use a lawyer?

If I write my own will, is it necessary to have it notarized? Also, is there anything else I should know to make sure it holds up? - ROGER THE DODGER IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR ROGER: Each state has its own laws concerning wills, but in California a "holographic" will - one written in one's own handwriting - is legal, providing: It is written on a plain piece of paper with no other writing on the paper. The writer must show a "donative" intent, stating clearly what he wants left to whom. The will must be signed and dated by the author.

A holographic will requires no witnesses.

DEAR ABBY: I want to comment on a problem I have never seen addressed in your column. I live in Atlanta and, like all large cities, the traffic is heavy and driving is dangerous.

However, despite that fact, I see people reading newspapers, business documents, letters and even books while they are driving! How can they read while they're driving and at the same time concentrate on the traffic?

The first time I noticed this, I thought it was an isolated fluke. But now, rarely a day goes by that I don't see at least one person reading something propped up on the steering wheel.

Abby, why do people engage in such dangerous practices? - A MAN FROM SMYRNA, GA.

DEAR MAN: A partial list off the top of my head:

1. Boredom. (A stupid reason.)

2. Wants to finish an article, letter or document.

3. Cramming for a test.

4. Reviewing material he or she must know at the finish of the drive.

5. A death wish.