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by Abigail Van Buren

Academic Overachiever Feels He's Socially Behind the Curve

DEAR ABBY: I own a motorcycle, which is my only means of transportation. The other day I had a conversation with a stranger who "needed" to tell me about someone she knew who was paralyzed in a motorcycle crash. This isn't the first time I have had this conversation. It seems that almost everyone knows someone who was killed or maimed in a bike crash.

Abby, I know there is an increased risk of personal injury where motorcycles are concerned, and the thought of it happening to me isn't a pleasant one. But why do people insist on telling me these horror stories? How should I respond to such insensitive statements? -- LOW RIDER IN NEW YORK

DEAR LOW RIDER: Some of them may be trying to warn you, while others may simply enjoy telling horror stories. The way to handle it is to say, "Thank you for your concern."

Now I have a question for you: Why are you engaging in lengthy conversations with complete strangers?