Dear Abby: Diner owner erupts when asked to stop gross conversation

People are trying to eat while he goes on about dirty bathrooms, and when patrons object, he throws them out.

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DEAR ABBY: Last night, my husband and I were eating at a popular restaurant when the owner started talking to the diners at the next table.

The topic was bathrooms — what people leave behind and cleaning up after them. The people he was talking to had finished their dinner by the time we sat down, so this subject didn’t bother them. I got up, tapped the owner on the shoulder and asked if he could please talk about something else because people within earshot were eating. He took offense and said it shouldn’t bother anyone. Then he ordered me to go get my money back and leave.

I sat back down to try to finish eating when he came over, THREW money on our table, told us to leave immediately and not to come back! My husband and I were dumbfounded. We stared at each other for a moment, then left our plates and walked out.

Was I wrong? Was I overly sensitive or rude? We were brought up not to discuss bodily functions at the dinner table. If I had been the owner, I would have apologized and changed the subject. I am so offended by this. If I was wrong, I will send the owner a written apology. — HEARD TOO MUCH IN INDIANA

DEAR HEARD: You do not owe the restaurant owner an apology. The man’s reaction was over the top. Discussing what people leave behind in the restroom that needs cleaning up is definitely not a subject for public consumption in a restaurant dining room. I cannot imagine why you would want to set foot in that establishment again.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are in our 30s. I love him, and I’m worried because he has a “laissez-faire” attitude about everything — especially his health. He has had high cholesterol for five years and has done little to nothing about it. He found out only because I kept hounding him for a year to get a physical.

To say I’m “concerned” is an understatement. When I asked him how he can be so complacent about something so dangerous, I got this blank stare and “I don’t know what you want me to say.” Or he says I’m being rude. I can’t understand why this doesn’t scare him. Should I try to force him to go back to the doctor and deal with this, or must I sit and wait for the consequences of him ignoring his health to happen? — WIFE WHO CARES IN IOWA

DEAR WIFE: Try this: “I love you. But I’m worried sick about the state of your health. I need US to start being more health conscious because WE are still young enough to do something about it if our lifestyle needs improving. This is why I am making appointments for physical exams for both of us every year, and I expect you to come with me.”

Cookbooks have been written on the subject of heart-healthy diets. It may be time to incorporate some of these guidelines into your menu planning. If you do, you may feel less frustrated, and your husband may not even realize you are helping him.

DEAR ABBY: I sent a fruit basket to a neighbor across the street after her brother’s death, but I never heard from her. Should I ask if she got it? — PONDERING IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR PONDERING: You were thoughtful to send food. But give your neighbor a few weeks before asking that question. She may be grieving and not yet organized enough to begin thanking people for their thoughtfulness. If the eventual answer is no, contact the VENDOR and ask for a refund.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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