DEAR AMY: I am a high school student. My math teacher has been telling us stories that are in the news. I wouldn't normally be seeing this as a bad thing, but the stories he tells us are grotesque and very disturbing. After reading the "highlights" of the article, he mocks them! He read us a story about an athlete who killed himself. I thought this was very sad, but my teacher said how dumb it was that because this athlete didn't get a medal, he killed himself. I feel awful in that class with a teacher constantly mocking the dead. It's impossible to concentrate on the lesson. I want to tell him to back off, I don't want to make a big deal out of this. I've tried plugging my ears and shutting my eyes. What should I do?
DEAR UPSET: You need to see this as a big deal because it is a big deal. Your teacher has strayed very far off the lesson plan, and is introducing his own personal and disturbing thoughts and imagery, which definitely don't have anything to do with math. Your parents, guidance counselor and school administration should know what is going on. You should try to be removed from the class and, in my opinion, this teacher should be removed from the classroom.
DEAR AMY: I have a serious problem. My neighbor, who is this very old lady, asks me to take her garbage out every time I pass her front door to get into my apartment. She doesn't say "please" or "thank you" and she just expects me to take her garbage out every time! I'm a nice guy and don't like to be rude to old people, but now I'm getting anxiety attacks every time I have to go back to my apartment. What should I do?
DEAR GUY: If you really, truly want to be a nice guy, you will open your heart to be your neighbor's garbage-helper. If you accept this as your "mitzvah," your anxiety will be relieved.