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Karma Cleanser 

Will it come back to bite you?

Dear Karma Cleanser:

I'm living in the years when it seems I have a wedding to attend every weekend. Since I've been away in the military for several of these years, I've been unable to attend most of them. I've been very inconsistent about buying and mailing wedding gifts for all of these friends, and I am concerned that this lapse in etiquette and tradition is affecting my ability to meet the "right one."

Do you think there is any merit to this suspicion, and if so, what can I do about it? For most, the one-year time meter has expired.

-- Wedding Bliss into Blues

We tend to regard the snowballing effect of ubiquitous wedding gift registries as a colossal racket, one conceived and perpetuated by the greed of giant retail conglomerates. It's this disturbing trend that transforms formerly sweet fiancées into bona fide "Bridezillas," and also can trample a once-close friendship underfoot. That said, you should absolutely extend an appropriate gesture to honor your friends who have tied the knot, even if more than a year has passed. Don't succumb to the pressure of marking the occasion with a new chafing dish or set of Ginsu knives. Rather, send a small gift that carries with it personal meaning -- along with a nicely worded letter offering your best wishes. Do it now before more time slips past, and feel free to drop a hint in the note that you're still single and looking. With any luck, the married folks just might play matchmaker.

Dear Karma Cleanser:

(In response to "Broken Heart Condition," July 25, the man who was considering committing insurance fraud surrounding his wife's illness): Your advice missed the mark set by your usual high quality and impeccable standards.

You wrote, "First find out what your insurance company will cover. Use Dr. Devious's unconventional methods only as a palliative of last resort."

Whatever you believe about the health-care system in this country, Dr. Devious's methods are criminal behavior. Unless Broken Heart Condition is prepared to accept the natural consequences of such actions (which is to say, prison), perhaps he should stick to legal remedies. Of course, in prison his health care would then be paid for by the taxpayers.

-- Concerned in Charlotte

Thanks for the backhanded compliment (we think). And kudos for pointing out one of the funnier aspects of America's twisted health-care predicament: Prisoners, the poor and the elderly already get government-sponsored medical treatment, while the rest of us languish. You're right to question if it's ever acceptable to circumvent legal channels and opt for treatment outside the realm of law. Given the reality of the wife's affliction, perhaps this is a case where the law is wrong and reducing human suffering is right. We'd hate to see the poor guy go to jail for it, though.

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