Dear Abby: I have been reading your column since before my son was born, so I know it's been more than 35 years. In all that time, I've been amused, surprised, offended and entertained, according to my own assessment of your handling of various subjects. Most of the time I commend the accuracy, wit, sage advice, compassion and genuine down-to-earth logic I've seen in your responses.

Regarding the subject of crowing roosters: When I was a kid, one of my greatest pleasures was being awakened at dawn by "Old Harry" - our rooster. Then we'd come down to the kitchen to find breakfast ready and the welcoming smiles of Mamma and Dad at the table.Today, I have an alarm clock in the shape of a rooster, which crows at the appointed alarm setting. When the alarm is shut off, it says, "Good morning!" I call that alarm clock "the New Harry."

I am certain that amid the flurry of this workaday world, there are a horde of people who still enjoy hearing a rooster crow, as opposed to hearing the infernal buzzing or sudden blaring of the radio's wake-up alarm.

After experiencing life as it is, to hear "New Harry" each morning is as much a comfort as it is to wake up. I'd rather hear a rooster than another commentary on rising crime.

- James W. Branden,

San Diego

Dear James Branden: So would I. And since you can't smuggle dawn past a rooster, please write again and tell me where I can buy one of those clocks. Thank you!

Dear Abby: I recently met a man who is very nice and caring. He would be the dream of any woman, but there is one problem: his teeth. They really are terrible. I am sure he hasn't seen a dentist in years. Or he may have never seen a dentist in his entire life.

Abby, how do you politely tell a person he needs to get his teeth fixed - or else get false ones?

I think he has a romantic interest in me but, under the circumstances, I can't bring myself to kiss him. I am a faithful "Dear Abby" reader.

- Ontario, Canada

Dear Faithful Reader: Tell this man the truth: "You really need to see a dentist. If you don't have a dentist, let me introduce you to mine."

Dear Abby: Re the difficulty in remembering names although the face is familiar:

I extend my hand in greeting and say, "I'm Leland Hammerschmitt" (my real name). Then the other party, visibly relieved, does the same.

It works every time.

- Leland P. Hammerschmitt,

Ojai, Calif.

Dear Abby: About the "Doctor" thing: When I meet a pompous donkey at a social occasion, and he or she is introduced as "Charles (or Charlotte) Brown" and then says, "It's DOCTOR Brown," I usually say, "How nice . . . I also have a doctorate, but my friends call me `Judge.' " That usually slows them down to a walk!

- Judge J.C.W. Jr.,

Retired in Palm Springs

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)