Globe Magazine Letters

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June 1, 2008

Career Minded

We read "Hurry Up, Grow Up" (May 11) with great interest. As job coaches, we work with many young clients who identified a vocation as they entered college, only to discover that decisions made at age 17 (or even before, as your article cites) often change by age 22. The end results are frustration and a loss of confidence. Although some people can certainly determine the right course of study and vocation at a young age, we believe many cannot.

Your cover says, "At 13, she gave up on her acting dream to study healthcare." I was sufficiently moved (outraged) to write this. Good for her. She is working toward being able to support herself in a tough economy. The cover continues, "Are we forcing kids to grow up too soon?" Talk to parents whose kids have graduated from college and move back in with them. Practicality is a good thing.

Having just written a four-digit check to my plumber for a day's work and considering the $180,000 that my son's college is charging for his bachelor's degree in history, I think that "the 20th-century concept of adolescence as a time when you're practically supposed to goof around and annoy your parents" may have run smack into the reality of the 21st century. True, we need to let kids find their passions. True, kids are choosing career-oriented academies in the ninth grade only because their friends are going, their mothers are making them, the schools offer laptops, etc. What kids today need is education about career options and an opportunity to use high school to explore them in a constructive way.

Road Bumps

Your article touting "a bike built just for Boston" ("Nice Ride," May 11) is as irresponsible as it is nonsensical. It is very dangerous to pedal through traffic using track-style handlebars. The handlebars should be upright so that the rider's torso is also upright, thus allowing both mechanical stability and the ability to turn the neck but keep the torso motionless. A city bike should also have a chain guard to keep grease off clothing, mud guards over the wheels, and a mirror on each side of the handlebars.

I enjoyed "Nice Ride." But as a social scientist who has studied bicycling, I was disheartened that the article cast the most efficient means of ambulation as a hobby, cult, or tribe. I have conducted studies of police who go about their tasks on bicycles. The few capabilities for which cruisers are superior are dwarfed by the bicycle patrols' double level of contacts and incidents handled. They generate goodwill, are a health benefit to the user, do not pollute, and are relatively inexpensive to use.
Associate Professor
Roger Williams University Bristol, Rhode Island

Scott Sutherland writes Boston-bike-culture lifers, wannabes like me we are the helmetless legions out pedaling daily." As an elderly but mostly intact city bicyclist, I applaud his determination and appreciate his esprit de corps. But your readers must know, if he doesn't, that to ride helmetless is stupid.
New York

Too Sweet

Two full-page pictures of restaurateurs Christopher Myers and Joanne Chang Party of Two," May 11)? They're in business and they're in love! OK, OK. We get it, we get it.

Comments? Write to or The Boston Globe Magazine/Letters, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819. Please include a daytime phone number. Letters are subject to editing; short letters are preferred.

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