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Crime Shows Influence Parents' Paranoia About the Real World

DEAR ABBY: I dwell in a small, Southern and, I thought, safe hometown. I'm currently unemployed and therefore unable to afford a place of my own. I live with my parents. I have job-searched for months now for something within walking distance. I pay for food with food stamps. But I can't yet pay for transportation, insurance, necessities, etc.

My problem is, I love to walk four to six times a week for 30 minutes to an hour. It helps me with depression and boosts my self-esteem, health and wellness. It shouldn't be a problem, right? Well, I've been warned several times that I could get hit by a vehicle, kidnapped and even murdered if I continue to do it. (My parents are TV crime show fans.)

Abby, I have spoken with the police in my area. They assure me it's safe to be out for a walk. Yet, if I'm gone more than 15 or 20 minutes, I receive incessant, ominous, foreboding warning calls on my cellphone. What can I do about their overactive spookiness? I can't afford a treadmill. -- STEPPING OUT IN ARKANSAS

DEAR STEPPING: When you leave for your walk, tell your parents approximately what time they can expect you back, leaving yourself a few minutes' leeway. Then silence your cellphone and enjoy your walk.

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