DR. WALLACE: I'm a 16-year-old girl who has an average IQ (I've been tested three times with the same result), but I study hard because I want to go to college. My 17-year-old brother is just the opposite. He has been in an honors program since elementary school. Studies are boring for him. He studies the minimum to maintain a B+/A- average. I maintain a B-/B average.
If things stay the same way after we both finish college, and you owned a company and needed a good employee, who would you hire, my brother or me?
My brother said that you are a smart man and would hire him because he has more potential because of his higher IQ. We have a lunch bet, and the loser pays for lunch! — Study Harder, via mail
STUDY: When I was coaching varsity basketball, if two players were competing for the same position and one had more talent but the other had more "grit," I started the one with the greatest amount of "grit." In fact, that happened several times during my coaching years, and I wasn't disappointed in the long run. Sometimes, the more talented players applied themselves harder and earned more playing time, and there were times I had players who only performed on "cruise control," no matter how much raw talent they had.
I guess your brother now feels he made a mistake thinking that I was smart, but the bottom line is that you win the free lunch.
I DON'T THINK I'LL EVER ADJUST
DR. WALLACE: I'm 17 and was born with a deep purple "strawberry" birthmark on my neck and a small section of my left cheek. I am really interested in having it removed by laser surgery because I am very self-conscious about its presence and it has definitely hindered my social growth. I'd like to have the surgery sometime soon so I can start college being the "new me."
My parents and grandparents kept telling me to get used to my birthmark, but I've had it for 17 years and don't think I'll ever adjust to it. Do you have any letters lying around from teens that've had laser surgery to remove a strawberry birthmark? If so, please print a few for me so my parents can judge for themselves. Also, is this an expensive procedure? If I decide to have it, my grandparents said they would pay for it. I know this is an unusual request, but I really need your help. — Anonymous, Austin, Texas
ANONYMOUS: I checked my files and could only find one letter, written many years ago, regarding laser surgery for strawberry birthmark removal. I'm sure it will strengthen your desire to have yours removed. But before you make this decision, you and your parents should talk with several surgeons who perform this type of surgery and get their recommendations. Your family doctor can put you in touch with competent laser surgeons. Jenny's letter should give you hope that you will soon have the same happily ever after she received. Here's her letter:
DR. WALLACE: I was born with a strawberry birthmark on my face and neck. Last year, I researched laser surgery and liked what I discovered and decided to have the treatment. It was the best decision I ever made. I needed four treatments. The treatments were painless, and they took about 15 minutes each. I returned every six weeks for a treatment, and when I finished, the result was amazing.
Now, for the first time in my life, I'm wearing my hair in a different style. The wonderful thing was that insurance covered most of the entire cost. I'd advise other jeans with similar birthmarks to check out laser surgery. It sure worked for me. — Jenny, Lakeland, Florida
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.