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Dear Abby: I am a flight attendant for a major airline, and I would like to shed some light on carry-on baggage before the summer rush ends. So many people read your column, I hope you'll print this.

Airlines offer passengers a service of checking baggage to their final destinations. I wish more people would take advantage of this service. For the passenger, getting through security is easier with less baggage, you'll have a more comfortable flight with more legroom, you need not search the plane for overhead bin space (sometimes causing delays) and most important, in the event of an emergency, too much carry-on baggage could hinder an evacuation.Also, please don't assume the flight attendant will heave your bag into a storage area. I do not have the physical strength to lift hundreds of bags a day. It is my responsibility to make sure that your bag is stowed securely, not to stow it. (I do help passengers who require special assistance, of course.) I just can't count the times an able passenger has tossed a heavy bag at my feet and said, "Put this somewhere." I'll tell them where to put it - with the checked baggage in the belly of the aircraft!

- Irritated in Seattle

Dear Abby: I became a widow at age 52. I am now 70, but people tell me I could pass for 50. My hobby is bowling, and I really do enjoy it. I bowl between 160 and 200.

I have a boyfriend who has been my bowling buddy since my husband passed away. We bowl at the same place. The problem is that he is very stingy. He takes me out to dinner in exchange for sex at my place afterward. (I feel like a whore; instead of money, he buys me dinner.)

I would dump him in a minute if I could find another bowling partner. I am very personable and have many friends, but he is the only bowler.

- Young at Heart

Dear Young: Strike the boyfriend and spare yourself the humiliation of feeling like a whore; he's not in your league.

Post a notice on the bulletin board of your bowling alley: WANTED: PARTNER FOR SENIOR WOMAN WHO BOWLS 160-200. Sign it, "Young at Heart" and include your telephone number. You could score.

Dear Abby: My husband is a registered Republican and I am a Democrat. When we were first married, it wasn't a big deal to either one of us. During the last presidential election, we fought over which bumper stickers to put on our cars, and whose sign to put in our front yard. We have three teenage children; two are Democrats and one is a Republican.

In the '92 presidential election, my husband and I went to Washington, D.C., and rented two different cars because my husband wanted Bush stickers and I wanted Clinton stickers on the car. When Clinton won, my husband sulked for two weeks.

We can't discuss political issues anymore without ending up in a shouting match, so we just stay off the subject to keep peace in the family.

Abby, are we unusual? Or are there other families like ours?

- Fighting in Connecticut

Dear Fighting: I would say that your family is unusual. Most families are of the same political persuasion. But when family members disagree, they need not be disagreeable.

Dear Abby: Your letter about the guy who, after buying two drinks for a girl at a bar, said, "Your place or mine?" reminded me of Alex Karras, who told this one on the Johnny Carson show:

A guy bought a couple of drinks for a gal at a popular pickup bar, then invited her up to his room.

She replied, "Oh, I think I should tell you, I'm a lesbian." The fellow replied, "Oh? How are things in Beirut?"

- John Heiden, El Paso, Texas

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