Dear Dr. Wallace:
I’m 18, and I enjoy the taste of a cold beer. I usually drink one a day during the week and two (or, once in a great while, three at most over many hours) on the weekends. I’ve never been drunk in my life. I’ve read all about how much damage alcohol does to your body, but I find it impossible to believe that a beer or two a day is really going to do you in. Don’t you agree that moderation is the proclamation to avoid intoxication?
— Anonymous, Reno, Nevada
Dear Anonymous: The jury is still out on whether small amounts of alcohol cause physical damage, but the fact that you drink beer every day is troubling. Alcohol is a very powerful, addictive drug.
Your rhyme is creative, but please read the following letter from a guy who lost it all because he thought he could handle his “innocent” beers every now and then:
Dear Dr Wallace: When I was a teenager, I started drinking a few “innocent” beers every now and then, and by the time I was 29, I was consuming three to four beers per day. Still, I thought I could handle my beer, so I got married and had three children.
I had a good job, and our family had a pretty good life — that is, when I wasn’t drinking beer. When my wife divorced me, I was a total alcoholic, consuming anywhere from 10 to 15 beers per day, every single day. Because of my alcoholic beer consumption, I lost my family, house and, finally, my job.
Luckily, I now have my life back to normal with the help, guidance and understanding of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Teens, please don’t think that you can’t get hooked on beer. I’m living proof that you can. It doesn’t take hard liquor to create an alcoholic.
— Been There, Texarkana, Arkansas
Dear Dr. Wallace: I’m a 17-year-old guy and will attend college this fall. My school days have been marred because of my unusual first and last name. People who don’t know me find it difficult to pronounce. A lot of people who know me make fun of it. I plan to legally change my name as soon as I turn 18. This bothers my family. They showed me movie stars, musicians and even politicians with names that are difficult to pronounce. They say that no one today changes their name. I hate my name, and I will change it for sure.
I have read your column regularly for quite some time, and I know that you encourage teens who dislike their names to change them. I know you will agree with me, but I’d be happy if you’d print my letter so I can present your answer to my family so they might see things my way.
— Anonymous, White Plains, New York
Dear Anonymous: I totally agree that a change of your name is in order. It would be unwise to suffer just because your family wants you to keep your name.
It’s true that many people today choose to keep their original names, even if they are difficult to pronounce. But some well-known personalities including John Denver, Doris Day, Engelbert Humperdinck, the late, great Walter Matthau, and Academy Award-winning actor Karl Malden chose to change their original given names.