Dear Abby

Lesson Backfires on Student Who Pulls Ill Conceived Prank

DEAR ABBY: I live in a dorm at a large university where a former friend, "Glen," also lives. We are no longer on speaking terms because of an incident that happened last year.

One day during pre-finals week, I left my room briefly to get something from a friend's room down the hall. I left my door unlocked because I'd be back soon. When I returned a few minutes later, my laptop, my cell phone and several books full of class notes were missing. I was distraught almost to the point of a breakdown.

Later that night, Glen knocked on my door and revealed that he had hidden the items in his room to "teach me a lesson" about not locking my door. I was speechless that a "friend" could do such a thing to me.

I notified the police and officials at the university. Glen was arrested for theft and charged with a misdemeanor. The university terminated his scholarship, and he was sentenced to community service.

Glen is now blaming me for what happened. He claims what he did wasn't really "stealing" and that I ruined his life. He's harassing me at every opportunity and spreading misinformation to my friends.

I believe I acted justly to what was plainly a case of theft. Am I wrong? How should I act in the case of Glen's current behavior? -- VICTIM IN TEXAS

DEAR VICTIM: Your former friend appears to be emotionally disturbed. He has no one to blame but himself for what has happened to him. If you haven't already done so, warn him to stop the harassment -- and if he doesn't, report it to the authorities. And don't worry about the misinformation he is trying to spread among your friends. If they are truly your friends, they'll believe you when you tell them they're being lied to.

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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been arguing about his leaving the lights on throughout our house. He's convinced that it adds little to our electric bill, but it bothers me that every single light is left burning. I realize there is a cost difference between incandescent and fluorescent lighting, but leaving all the lights on seems unnecessary and wasteful to me. Could you please "shed some light" on our argument? -- LIT UP IN JOHNSON CITY, TENN.

DEAR LIT UP: According to the Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP) in Washington, D.C., leaving a 100-watt incandescent bulb on for 12 hours a day for one month will add $40 per year to your electric bill. Multiply that by the number of bulbs in your home and it can add up quickly.

Fluorescent bulbs use fewer watts than incandescent bulbs, but turning them on ages the filaments -- so if they'll be turned on again within a minute or two, leave them on. (This is not a recommendation to leave fluorescent bulbs burning constantly, just a suggestion that if they won't be needed after a few minutes, to turn them off.)

LED bulbs are more expensive to buy, but they last longer, use less wattage and emit brighter light. However, when the illumination is no longer needed, they, too, should be extinguished.

P.S. Since your husband has money to burn, why not invest in motion sensors so he'll have light wherever he goes without inflating your energy bills?

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Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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