DEAR ABBY: I just finished reading the letter from "Standing on Principle," who thinks she should get $5 a week for driving her 17-year-old niece to work half a mile away. Because it is such a short distance, that girl should WALK to work!
Our nation is growing fatter and fatter, more and more out of shape physically, because of less and less exercise and active play, and more and more computer and video games. I am a registered nurse who sees a lot of people in ill health. I know that a major portion of that ill health could be avoided or improved by eating a healthy diet, being active and losing weight.
I understand that for some people it's hard to get in that mind-set. But it's a simpler, far less expensive solution to health care than medications, tests and more tests, and frequent doctor/hospital visits, to say nothing of a poor quality of life.
Adults need to think about this, not only for themselves but also for their children -- who are at increased danger of diabetes, etc. because of poor lifestyle habits. -- A VERMONT NURSE
DEAR VERMONT NURSE: You are not the only reader who was quick to point out that a half-mile walk isn't a hardship. The face with the egg on it is mine. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: With regard to "Standing on Principle in Knoxville," who "needs" a ride to work every day, I think a couple of points are in order.
First, it's not unreasonable for that girl to pay for gas. She is earning a few bucks, I expect. But if she's going a mile a day five days a week, even an SUV would make a profit on $5. How about $5 a month?
My other point is really the reason for this letter: Why does that kid need a ride? Unless she lives in the worst neighborhood in all of Maryland, she could easily walk -- and it would do her some serious good to do so. I'm older than dirt and had a coronary bypass nine months ago, and I walk a couple of miles every morning without fail. If I can do it, why can't she? -- WALKING ON PRINCIPLE IN SAN JOSE
DEAR WALKING ON PRINCIPLE: That's a good question -- and one that only the young lady can answer.
DEAR ABBY: I charge my son for driving him to and from work, not because I need the money but because he needs to understand that there are costs associated with transportation. He earns a reasonable wage, and the amount I expect is just sufficient enough to let him know that nothing is free, and therefore he should plan his expenses carefully. My time is valuable, but I give it willingly.
That niece should understand that $5 is less than a taxi, and certainly more convenient than a bus. -- MARC L., CLEARWATER, FLA.
DEAR ABBY: There's another way to look at that situation. Years ago, our local chamber of commerce sent 10 underprivileged kids to two weeks of overnight camp. Five of them paid $5 and five paid nothing.
Upon their return, we received five thank-you notes from the ones who paid. We heard nothing from those who attended for free. I think people only put a value on things that cost them something. -- PENNY C., PARADISE VALLEY, ARIZ.