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by Abigail Van Buren

Student Who Is Chosen Last Dreads Going to Gym Class

DEAR ABBY: I am 10 years old and in fifth grade. All my life I have been chosen last. That's my problem.

P.E. is my least favorite class in school, not because I don't like sports -- I enjoy them. But it is so humiliating always being chosen last. I dread going to school on days when I know we will have P.E.

Why can't physical education teachers use a different system? P.E. teachers must have never had to experience what I have each day in P.E. I will go into the class again tomorrow to be chosen last.

Why don't they just hang a sign on me that says, "Reject. Last one to pick gets me."

I'm sure there are other kids who feel the same way. There is one in every P.E. class. It really hurts.

My mom says not to let it bother me. She says she was always chosen last, too. I think she says that just to make me feel better.

Please don't say, "Practice the sport and you'll be great at it and everyone will want you on their team." It doesn't work that way. I'm kind of quiet, and even if you're not bad at the sport, once you've been chosen last you will be last next week, the week after, and next year, too.

I really, really, really hope you print this. I can't bear to think I have to go to P.E. tomorrow. What can I do? -- ALWAYS CHOSEN LAST, SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.

DEAR ALWAYS CHOSEN LAST: Perhaps there is nothing you can do, but there is plenty your P.E. teacher could do if he or she had the sensitivity and imagination.

If I had my way, I would outlaw that system of choosing up sides. It's cruel! It was used many years ago when I was a girl in Sioux City, Iowa. It was wrong then, and it's still wrong!

DEAR ABBY: I hope you can help me with my problem. I talk to myself. I have always done this to some extent, just like my mother did, but I'm afraid it's getting worse since my husband died six months ago.

I live alone with my little dog, but I don't feel lonely. I like people very much and have no trouble visiting with them when the opportunity presents itself.

I am 73 years old. Is talking to yourself a sign of senility? Or am I losing my mind? I'm sure I do this in stores when shopping alone (not out loud, but my lips probably move), which is embarrassing. How serious is this? -- CHATTY CATHERINE, NASHVILLE, TENN.

DEAR CHATTY CATHERINE: I wouldn't consider this a serious problem. I'll wager most people have at least an occasional chat with their most constant companion -- themselves.

A widow once wrote, "I talk to myself whenever I feel the need for intelligent conversation."

DEAR ABBY: I am responding to "Best Friends in Kennesaw, Ga.," the young woman who wanted to be "best man" in her friend's wedding.

I became engaged to a caring, loving, hard-working man who treated me like a queen. I asked my best friend of many years to be my maid of honor. She refused because my fiance and I are of different faiths and she couldn't support our marriage.

I was devastated, but a male friend stepped in and helped me through. He had always been supportive, and I was proud to have him stand up for me in my wedding because he really cared about me. Friends have no gender. "Thomas" was my "Best Man of Honor." -- H.R., MELBOURNE, FLA.

DEAR H.R.: Congratulations for making a choice that was right for you. Several readers have suggested names for wedding party members of the opposite sex. My favorite was "Bride's (or Groom's) Honor Attendant."

Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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