Dear Ann:

Now that almost every office has personal computers, I have an etiquette question that I hope you can answer. How do you get people to stop looking over your shoulder and reading your e-mail? I am driven to distraction by this blatant disregard for privacy.

My co-workers are constantly asking me what I am doing. The other day, my boss asked me to find a certain location for him. While I was checking out a map on the Internet, one of my co-workers walked over and asked if I was taking a trip. Sometimes, the boss sends me an e-mail memo that no one else should be reading, yet people feel free to come by and look. Yesterday, I had a stack of papers turned upside-down on my desk, and a female co-worker turned them over and started to read them. I was speechless. I would very much appreciate some suggestions.

Too Nosy in Montana

Clods, slobs and boors do not understand subtlety. For example, when Nosy Nellie flipped over the papers on your desk and proceeded to read them, you should have said, "The papers on my desk are my personal business -- if you don't mind." If you have a steely tone of voice, use it for emphasis. That should convey your message nicely.

As for the e-mail messages, turn to the clod who is reading over your shoulder, and ask in a voice loud enough to be heard by everyone in the room, "Why would you be interested in my personal messages?"

Dear Ann:

I read the letter from "Split Opinion in the Midwest," who wanted to keep her maiden name after marriage, but whose fiance, "Desmond," strongly objected. I hope my letter will help.

I took my husband's last name, but our wonderful new daughter-in-law chose to keep her family name. We are all happy with these choices. My son had enough intelligence and understanding to realize that his wife's decision would make no difference in how good a wife she was, or how loving a member of the family she would become.

Please tell Desmond that a wife is not a possession to be named by the owner. He needs to develop more confidence in his masculinity, and place his pride in the woman, not the name he chooses for her.

Proud Mother-In-Law in Pa.

What a gem of a mother-in-law YOU are. I hope your son and his wife realize how lucky they are to have you.

Dear Ann:

I heard on the national news this week that due to the inability of pharmacists to read prescriptions, some people have died as a result of errors, and many others have become seriously ill. When one sees the handwriting of some of our doctors, one can understand how this could happen. They may have learned how to be doctors in medical school, but unfortunately, they did not learn how to write legibly before they got there.

I am launching a one-man campaign to have all prescriptions typewritten, in English. If you agree that there is a need for this, please print my letter.

Norman Clarke, Millen, Ga.

I do agree. Your suggestion is an excellent one. Prescriptions should be in English, and typewritten or block-printed. The pharmacists all around the country will bless you for writing, and I send heartfelt thanks.