DR. WALLACE: I'm 17 and play the violin very well, but I really want to play the piano because I would like to earn my living by being a concert pianist someday.
My parents agreed that I should give it a try, so I found an excellent piano teacher to help me reach my goal. I've been taking lessons for about a month, and I thought I was doing quite well. I told my teacher that my goal was to be a concert pianist. She just smiled and said that it was a lofty goal, but it would be almost impossible for me to reach since most virtuosos start at age 12 or younger! She said I will learn to be a good player, but because I'm starting so late, it's unlikely I'll become exceptional at this new instrument.
I plan to prove her wrong. I have a very strong desire to succeed at everything I try, and the piano will be no different! — Junior Mozart, Palo Alto, California
JUNIOR MOZART: Your piano teacher is likely correct in her evaluation of your piano future. Most concert pianists were tickling the ivories at a very young age.
However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't continue with your piano lessons. You never know; it's possible you are the exception to your teacher's general rule. If you throw yourself into playing the piano, you will enrich your life immeasurably in many ways, no matter how far you ultimately go with this new passion. At this point, don't worry about becoming a concert pianist, just focus on mastering the instrument and enjoying yourself along the way. No matter how far you go with your piano skills, you'll still be a winner.
I'M PROOF THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS
DR. WALLACE: I've been reading your column for quite some time, and I noticed that you always frown on older guys who date younger girls. It's like we guys are always seeking to take advantage of these young girls. Well, please allow me to share my story with you. I'm 25 and have been dating a girl who was 17 years and 9 months old the day we met. We met at a party and hit it off really well. We had a lot in common and started dating. On our first date, I made it a point to meet her mother, and I sat down and told her my correct age. For the first month, we had a great time together! I took this girl everywhere and treated her like a queen.
Then, after a few weeks, she started asking me to do favors for her like running personal errands and taking her car to the shop. Pretty soon, her mother was also asking me to do things for her, like take her to the airport and pick up her brother from work. They even had me pick up to-go food for dinner at local restaurants about twice a week! I finally figured out that I was the one being used. When I told my girlfriend I felt this way, she dumped me immediately, and as she did so, she let out a funny, awkward laugh. It almost seemed like she expected me to leave at some point, so when the gig was up she just laughingly said, "OK, it was nice to meet you." So, Dr. Wallace, don't think for a moment that every older guy is taking advantage of the younger girl. I'm living proof that it's not always true. — Honorable Older Guy, Kansas City, Missouri
HONORABLE OLDER GUY: Thanks for showing us an opposite point of view. However, your story provides one more reason older guys should stick with their own age group when it comes to dating underage girls.
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.