While "spring cleaning" around my office (which included mountains of paperwork), I found this clipping from a 1989 Ann Landers column. "Dad died on February 12. While putting his affairs in order, we found a letter in his desk that he had written to you but never mailed. As I read it over, I thought many of the things he said were true. "God love him. He had signs all over the house saying NO SMOKING. They were in every room and in the car. He refused to go to a restaurant that didn't have restricted areas for smokers. He was constantly telling everyone what was 'good' for them. Some of his friends got tired of it and told him off. "Dad was such a good man you couldn't help but love him, but because of the way he lived, I am determined to enjoy life and skip the crusading. In fact, I'm going to fix myself a drink right now. But before I do, I'm putting Dad's letter in the mail." Dear Ann Landers: I, like you, never smoked a cigarette in my life or had anything alcoholic to drink. In fact, I've been known as a 'health nut.' I ate all the right foods, no salt, no grease, no junk. I drank only bottled water. I ate bran regularly and took vitamins. After a lifetime of crusading and being an obnoxious jerk about smoking and drinking, I now have cancer and Parkinson's and the doctor tells me I have three months to live. I am 57 years old. Knowing what I know now, I wish I had drunk a bit, smoked a bit, and had enjoyed more good times. My advice is as follows: Use moderation in everything you do. Don't be rigid. Enjoy life. And stay off the soapbox. Every one of those know-it-alls will die from something sooner or later. It's not the length of your life that counts, it's he quality. If I had known 35 years ago what I know now, I would have lived differently and not been such a crusader. ~~B.A. Finding that middle ground between rigid denial of simple pleasures and overindulgence is what works, although I can't say I've always practiced what I'm preaching.