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I've heard one of you guys wax eloquent about the...

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Dear Tom and Ray:



I've heard one of you guys wax eloquent about the trials and tribulations of having a 19-year-old son. I have one who's a sophomore in college. He chose a small liberal-arts college because he wouldn't need a car there (and therefore, I could afford the much higher tuition versus the state university). But now he finds he absolutely can't survive without a car. Seems like "bait and switch" to me. He's done some research, and he thinks a Jeep Wrangler would fit his bill perfectly. Any advice? -- Charles

TOM: Yeah. Tell him to go howl at the moon, Charles.

RAY: After careful consideration, I would have to agree with that approach.

TOM: First of all, we don't recommend Jeep Wranglers for kids. They're too easy to flip over if you drive them irresponsibly. And we all know that youth is a time when people are more likely to act irresponsibly. Except me. I was a perfect child.

RAY: Yeah. Ask any of his parole officers.

TOM: But more important, you should insist that this kid buy his own car, Charles. The college years are supposed to be sort of a "transition" from childhood to adulthood. And making tough choices is one of the things adults have to do.

RAY: So if he's really got the hots for a Jeep Wrangler, he might have to work in the dining hall a few nights a week instead of going out with his friends to see "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes." Let it be his choice.

TOM: If he's like most kids, once he has to come up with the money himself, his expectations will come way down. And he'll probably end up with something like a 1978 Olds Cutlass Salon.

RAY: And that'll lead to other important life lessons ... like how to use jumper cables and add transmission fluid!
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