Annie's Mailbox Mom's fraudulent behavior should be quickly dealt with

Dear Annie: I spent five years out of the country, attending school overseas. When I came back, I discovered my mother had fraudulently used two of my credit card accounts while I was away. I don't know how she did it, but both accounts are now closed, and the balances have been forwarded to collection agencies. Mom settled one debt, but I owe $16,000 on the other one. My credit standing is ruined.
My mother is currently unemployed and receiving Social Security. She's not supposed to be working because of a previous stroke. I also am not working at present because I'm studying for my licensing exams. I cannot afford legal help.
What can I do to restore my good credit standing? I don't want to file a police report, because I'm worried what will happen to Mom if I do. Please help. Victim of Identity Theft
Dear Victim: You shouldn't let your mother off the hook so quickly, but we do understand that this is a delicate situation for you. Please contact the Identity Theft Resource Center (, P.O. Box 26833, San Diego, Calif. 92196, and ask for information and assistance. They will direct you to available resources and best advise you on how to handle Mom's fraudulent behavior. Good luck.
Dear Annie: I am a freshman in high school, and since the start of the year, I have been picked on in gym class because I cannot complete the mile run. I'm good in other stuff, like chess and video games, and I get good grades, but I'm not a very good athlete. Things really got bad when my P.E. teacher made me stay after school to run laps. The football team was practicing, and so were the cheerleaders, and each lap I took, I could hear them making fun of me.
How can I get people to love and respect me for who I am? I'm not a bad-looking guy, but I can't imagine any girl will go out with me until I can complete those four laps without stopping. Any suggestions? Gasping for Air in Louisiana
Dear Gasping: Ah, the joys of gym class. It can be embarrassing to be out of shape in front of the cheerleaders, but there's not much you can do about their rude behavior. What you can do is realize that it's in your own best interest to be physically active and fit. Work on those laps, and one of these days, you'll find yourself getting around the track in no time.
Meanwhile, concentrate on the subjects in which you excel. There are plenty of girls who will appreciate a smart guy who gets good grades. Stop worrying so much about the cheerleaders, and check out who's in the library, the chess club, the school paper and the band.
Dear Annie: You printed a letter from "Feeling Guilty," who filed for divorce because his new bride changed into a different person immediately after the wedding. It turns out she is bipolar. Thank you for encouraging him to reconsider.
My wife has the same illness. Sometimes, a combination of medications helps her achieve real stability. At other times, she becomes depressed, angry or impulsive. The worst moments have been the suicide attempts.
My wife feels deeply and expresses herself movingly. She can coax a smile from people who respond to no one else. She has the most infectious laugh, and yet she weeps readily with anyone who is hurting. She is the bravest person I know. If God can give me the grace to be her faithful friend and lover, we both will be better people for it. Lucky Guy
Dear Lucky Guy: You both sound lucky to us -- loving partners in such a committed marriage. Bless you both for knowing what counts.
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