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Dear Abby 8/29

Potter fan pleads for silence from multiple media spoilers

    DEAR ABBY: The latest Harry Potter book came out recently, and I have been reading it. I don't have any serious problems. Rather, I have something to say to those who enjoy spoiling the surprise of a book.
    I've read the Harry Potter books since first grade. (I'm now 13.) They are a major part of my childhood. The sixth book was spoiled for me by a close friend. Not only did she emphatically announce who died, it became common knowledge whether you've read the book or not.
    I've been reluctant to touch the Internet for a few days. I want to take my time to savor this book because once I read it, I'll never have the same feeling of surprise again. I'm not one of those who speed ahead to finish a book in a night.
    Not only do some fans spoil it, but the media does too. I can't look at my e-mail provider page because there are spoilers in the headlines. I am considering sealing myself inside a plastic bubble to avoid hearing anything about the book.
    This is also a problem with movies, other books and video games. Please, for those of us who wish to remain in the dark until the end, don't say a word about the plot! -- IN THE DARK (AND ENJOYING IT)
    DEAR IN THE DARK: I suspect the impulse to spill the beans and spoil the experience for someone else comes from the need to feel important. ("You heard it from me first!") It is not a particularly endearing trait.
    While some members of the media were, indeed, guilty of giving away the end of the last Harry Potter book, other critics and reviewers were considerate enough to write: "Spoiler Alert! Don't read further if you don't want the plot revealed." Hats off to them.

    DEAR ABBY: I recently became involved in doing sexual acts for money. I often enjoy these acts, but I fear that one day I might be hurt or even killed. What can I do to stop? -- "TRIXI" IN CHANDLER, ARIZ.
    DEAR TRIXI: Your concerns are valid, and it's time to examine the reasons you're having sex with strangers for money. If your reason is financial, understand that the career you have chosen is not only dangerous, but one with a very short shelf life. You would be wiser to find a legitimate career you can enjoy past the age of 40 — preferably one with retirement benefits.
    If you're doing this because you're hooked on the excitement, then you may have a sexual addiction and could be helped by joining a self-help group such as Sexaholics Anonymous, which helps people break the cycle of sexually destructive thinking and behavior. You can find it at www.sa.org or at 866-424-8777.
    Another group that could help you is Sex Workers Anonymous, a 12-step program for persons of all ages, races, sexualities, religions and backgrounds. Its mission is to help people find recovery from any aspect of the sex industry. Its Web site is www.sexworkersanonymous.com.
    Many years ago, I met a pretty young woman at a Hollywood party who was quite open about the fact that she was a prostitute. Curious, I asked her why she had decided to go into that line of work. Here's what she said: "All I ever got was their scorn when I did it for free. So I decided to make them pay!" In other words, she felt it was the only way she could maintain control in a relationship. I found it sad back then, and I still do.

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