DEAR ABBY: What on earth has become of college education when professors and teachers write that they use dear Abby for English courses? I am horrified that an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher uses your column to teach foreign students our customs. WHAT customs? Unresolved anger? Sibling rivalry? Mistrust of spouses? Broken homes? Drunk driving? Homosexuality? Sexual abuse? Internet pornography? It is insanity that this is what foreign students use to gauge American culture.
Abby, what about the monogamous marriage that has endured hardships? The couple still devoutly loyal and faithful to each other? Kids who still have the same mother and father and are contributing to society? What about the people who give 100 percent of themselves for community involvement with no thought to themselves? You have even said yourself that some people accuse you of making up the letters because they are so bizarre. Some are R-rated at best. And this is what teachers use to teach English? God forbid!
No wonder people in other countries think Americans are idiots. If they get all their information from Dear Abby, they may not be too far off the mark. You may print my name. -- MICHELLE CRIPPEN, HARPERS FERRY, W.VA.
DEAR MICHELLE: Ouch! I cannot agree with you that the people who write to me are idiots. The problems they write about are human relations problems -- and not necessarily unique to the U.S.A. Furthermore, they make interesting reading -- and that, I think, is what motivates the teachers to use my column. By the time people reach adulthood, "See Spot Run" and "The Adventures of Dick and Jane" no longer hold their interest. Face it, my column has it all -- drama, human interest, comedy, sex, drugs -- and solid information that many people relate to.
DEAR ABBY: I am 16 and dream of becoming a voice for a Disney animated film. This is not some silly phase, Abby. I really want to do this. The only problem is, I have no clue how to get the attention of Disney. I have had little theatrical experience, and my school's drama program isn't the best. I have a good singing voice but have had no lessons.
I need your advice on what to do here. I have sent letters to Disney, but no response has ever come. Any suggestions you might offer would be great. Thanks. -- DISNEY DREAMER IN CONCORD, CALIF.
DEAR DREAMER: You're welcome. I checked with my friend, Tress MacNeille, who does voice-overs for "The Simpsons" and is the classic voice of Daisy Duck and Chip 'n Dale. She asked me to tell you that "longevity in a show business career can be measured by the amount of time spent PREPARING for it."
Do not attempt to do this straight out of high school. Study drama and speech in college, and work to sharpen your improvisational skills. Take every acting class you can. Be a reader and an observer, so you can pick up nuances of language in the mold of Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. And most important of all, remember this is not a part-time effort. Keep your eye on your goal. Good luck.
DEAR ABBY: Is it rude to open a drawer or medicine cabinet in the bathroom of someone's home? -- SNOOPY IN PORTLAND, ORE.
DEAR SNOOPY: It certainly is, although many people do it anyway. It's also nosy -- and it's wrong. (But fascinating.)
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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