DR. WALLACE: My boyfriend and his buddies are insane drivers. Sometimes they race on the freeway at speeds up to 95 miles an hour! I have informed my boyfriend that I refuse to ride with him when he and his friends drag race on our local roads. Secretly, I hope the police catch all of them when they are racing and write every last one of them very expensive speeding tickets. I think they all truly need a wake-up call before someone gets hurt.
Even though my boyfriend is out of control when he's behind the wheel, he behaves himself the rest of the time, and is actually a very nice, polite and respectful young man. I'm truly puzzled at how much his personality seems to change once he is behind the wheel with his male buddies. Is this typical of all 17-year-old boys? Is there anything I can do to make him stop this crazy racing?
I truly fear for his life and the lives of innocent drivers and passengers of other cars on the roadway. — Nervous Girlfriend, West Jordan, Utah
NERVOUS GIRLFRIEND: Have your boyfriend read the following description from a newspaper crash that took the lives of five teens several years ago. If this doesn't make an impression on him, nothing will:
"Five teens were killed instantly when their car went out of control and plunged down a 75-foot embankment. A spokesman from the Highway Patrol said the victims were trying to catch up to two cars in front of them filled with their friends. Surviving teens in another car told the police that all three cars were weaving in and out of traffic at speeds up to 100 miles an hour on the freeway shortly before the crash.
After the crash, the lead car stopped. When officers arrived, one of the drivers shouted, "I guess we really screwed up!"
Most young people feel they are invincible and fail to grasp that reckless behavior can have very tragic consequences. Young people are just as mortal and just as subject to the laws of physics as the rest of us are. And they die in large numbers because, sadly, some of them take very foolish risks behind the wheel of an automobile.
HIS OVER-THE-EDGE WORDS DISQUALIFY HIM
DR. WALLACE: I'm 17 and dating a guy from another high school who is 18. He is quite good-looking and a very good athlete. I like him a lot, and he mostly treats me like a princess, and we get along fabulously most of the time.
We are usually very happy, and we have much in common, but he does have one flaw that truly does bother and worry me. When I do something he disapproves of, he gets angry and starts saying mean things to me. Last weekend, I was chewing gum and I made it "pop" by accident. It only happened once. This made him immediately angry, and he said to me, "That's really rude to pop your gum; do it again and I'll pop your rear end with my foot." He always seems to threaten some sort of violence when he doesn't like what I'm doing. I've heard him say, "Next time, I'll punch your lights out" and, "Do it again and I'll slap you silly."
He has never actually hit me, not even once. I don't think he would, but because of the way he talks, I really don't know for sure. Once, I asked him to be gentler with his words, but all he said back to me was, "Don't tell me how to talk. I'll talk to you however I want to."
What is really weird is that, at times, he is extremely nice, easygoing and relaxed, and that's when I really enjoy being with him. I've also noticed that his words and tone are very respectful when he is around adults. However, he does talk kind of rough with his guy friends the few times I have overheard them when they get together. He often tells his friends, "I'll kick your ass if you don't cut that out!" He seems to make the same kind of threats to them, too. What do you recommend I do? — Confused Girlfriend, via email
CONFUSED GIRLFRIEND: I'm sure there are times when this guy is mellow, but his big mouth overpowers those times when he does act like a nice guy. Based upon what you are telling me, he is verbally over the edge. Threatening violence is a signal that someday, when his patience is running low, he may actually make good on one or more of those threats. I suggest you don't wait around for this to happen. Don't waste any more time on him. He's not a keeper.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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