DEAR ABBY: A boy in the grade below me killed himself. I didn't know him very well. He was a 10th-grader and we spoke in passing.
I realize no words in this world can explain a tragedy like this. I can't get past it because I know so many teens think of suicide at one time or another. Is the teen suicide rate higher than ever?
What options are there for teens to avoid getting to this point? Talking to a trusted adult won't work if a young person can't find an adult to trust. What more can kids do when they or a close friend are considering suicide? Please help us out, Abby. I'm afraid my generation is killing itself - - literally. -- SOON-TO-BE SENIOR IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR SOON-TO-BE SENIOR: I'm sorry for the tragic loss of your schoolmate. While it may seem that the suicide rate today is higher than years ago, my experts tell me that this is not the case. What has increased is the degree to which it has been publicized in the media.
If a contemporary should confide in you that he or she is considering suicide, tell that person that you care and are concerned. Under no circumstances should you keep what was said a secret. Tell your parents, a teacher or a school counselor, who can see that your friend gets help. If you feel there is no adult you can trust, then pick up the phone and call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will be saving a life if you do.
DEAR ABBY: Have you any advice for a woman who is married to a perpetual do-gooder? Every time someone asks for help, "Sam" feels he MUST. He's often gone three to five evenings a week after work, and at least once over the weekend. When Sam is home, he's so exhausted from all his activities and late nights that he just sleeps. (By the way, my husband is not the cheating type.)
When I point out that the kids and I need him as much or more than his "charity cases," he promises to cut back. Then he'll get another call for help and automatically says "yes."
If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. -- GOOD NEIGHBOR SAM'S WIFE
DEAR WIFE: While helping others is a virtue, Sam has turned it into something less than noble because his priorities are scrambled. It appears you married someone so hungry for affirmation that he can't say no to anyone.
Spending time with you and the children should be higher on his list. It is time to ask your husband if his do-gooding isn't also a way of avoiding his responsibilities as a husband and father, because the family has been getting the short end of the stick.
DEAR ABBY: Do you think it's rude for people to park their cars in front of the walkway to our house? My husband thinks I'm being a fussbudget. I say the walk should remain clear in case guests or visitors have mobility problems or are unloading something. -- DONNA IN SACRAMENTO, CALIF.
DEAR DONNA: Unless you are unloading something or have visitors with mobility problems, my advice is to lighten up, lest you be viewed as the neighborhood crank. If the situation changes, I'm sure your neighbors and/or their guests would be happy to move their cars to accommodate you.
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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