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GIRLS' KISS WORRIES MOM

Dear Ann Landers: Last night, my 7-year-old daughter invited her 7-year-old girlfriend to sleep over. When I went to check on them, I found the girls with their arms wrapped around each other, and they were kissing. I called my daughter into the hallway and told her the kissing must stop immediately. Was my response correct?

I'm aware children experiment, but can it be that these girls have lesbian tendencies?

-- Beside Myself in Atlanta
Dear Atlanta: I doubt very much that the 7-year-olds were exhibiting lesbian tendencies. They were no doubt imitating the romantic sequences they have seen on TV. Young children often do that. Nevertheless, do you monitor what your daughter watches? If not, I strongly recommend it. You'd be surprised at how many "ideas" children get from TV.

Hooked on gambling?

Dear Readers: A recent issue of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter has some interesting information about gambling. Too many people have difficulty knowing when to stop. Those who are unable to stop have a clinical addiction. Here are some signs that may indicate the gambler is hooked:

Skipping family dinners or work gatherings to gamble.

Gambling in secret.

Repeatedly vowing to quit but failing to stick with it.

Not planning to gamble but just "ending up" gambling.

Gambling with money needed for bills.

Lying, stealing or borrowing to get gambling money.

Continuing to gamble when you lose in an effort to win back losses.

Gambling when you feel depressed or when you feel like celebrating.

If you have concerns about your gambling, talk to your doctor, or contact the National Center on Problem Gambling at (800) 522-4700 (www.ncpgambling.org), or write to: Gamblers Anonymous, P.O. Box 17173, Los Angeles, Calif. 90017 (www.gamblersanonymous.org).

Laugh for the day

Dear Ann Landers: I am enclosing a clipping from the obituary section of the Providence (R.I.) Journal, which turned out to be my laugh for the day. A Rhode Island woman died last October, and the family planned a memorial service just before Election Day. Her obituary ended with the following: "In lieu of flowers, please vote for Al Gore."

-- Cynthia in Largo, Fla.
Dear Cynthia: That might have been your laugh for the day, but I'm sure Al Gore's supporters didn't think the election was all that funny. Because the ballots were so convoluted, some people in Florida who intended to vote for Al Gore voted for Pat Buchanan. That was the closest presidential election in recent history. Small wonder so many people were unhappy about it.

This was my laugh for the day (credit Curmudgeon's Corner):

Emily Sue was going into labor, and her husband, Bubba, called 911. The operator told Bubba she would send someone out right away. "Where do you live?" asked the operator. Bubba replied, "Eucalyptus Drive." The operator asked, "Can you spell that for me?" There was a pause, and then Bubba said, "How about I drag her over to Oak Street, and you pick her up there?"

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