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Ann Landers Column: 'I Know What We Are Doing Is Dishonest'

Dear Ann Landers:

I am a high school freshman who rides to school on the bus. A few months ago my bus was rammed in the back by a truck. Luckily, nobody was injured.

When my mother heard about the incident, she made me pretend that my back was hurt so we can collect money from the insurance company.

I don’t feel very good about it because I know that what we are doing is dishonest. When I mention my feelings to my mother, she tells me to shut my dumb mouth—that the insurance companies have plenty of money and anyone who doesn’t get what they can out of them is a fool.

Last week my back really did start to hurt. I don't know if I twisted it when I picked up something heavy, or pulled a muscle when I was swimming. When I told Mom she said, "It's that bus injury—a delayed reaction."

Ann, I am fed up on this crooked stuff and don’t know what to do. Please suggest something.—FEELING CRUMMY IN NEW MEXICO

DEAR FEELING CRUMMY: If your back bothers you now, it is highly unlikely that the pain is related to the incident that occurred several months ago. Your mother is trying to rip off the insurance company—and you know it. Insist that she arrange for you to have another physical exam by the doctor who verified your initial so-called injury. This time you must tell the doctor that your back feels fine and you want him to let the insurance company know you are perfectly okay.

—From an Ann Landers column, Aug. 3, 1982.


Balovlenko Account: 'This Lie Was Necessary'

Emaciated hunger striker Yuri Balovlenkov broke his 36-day fast today after his visiting American wife lied to him, saying authorities had promised he could emigrate to the United States if he resumed eating.

"What else could I do? He was going to kill himself," Elena Balovlenkov, 29, a Ukrainian-born nurse from Baltimore, said in a telephone interview.

She said she fed Mr. Balovlenkov, 33, a small amount of Isocal, a substance designed for feeding people near starvation. She said she brought it from the United States when she arrived here Friday to visit her husband.

"I've never lied to my husband before, but this lie was necessary—a lot nicer than watching him die," she said.

She said Soviet emigration authorities told her earlier today that his case could not be reconsidered as long as he was fasting.

She spoke from Mr. Balovlenkov's downtown Moscow apartment and said she would not let reporters visit him for a day or two because he still did not know she had deceived him.

Mr. Balovlenkov began fasting July 5 to pressure authorities to let him join his wife and baby daughter in the United States. Authorities have refused to let him emigrate, claiming he had access to state secrets as a former computer programmer.

He quit an earlier 43-day fast on June 21, claiming the state said he could leave the country. Emigration authorities told Western reporters later that they had made no such pledge.

Mrs. Balovlenkov arrived in Moscow pledging that she would force feed her husband if she could not persuade him to end the fast. She had said that today was the last day he could go without food without damaging his body beyond repair.

She said she gave up the idea of force feeding, however, after Mr. Balovlenkov said he would commit suicide after she left the country. She said she would tell him the truth before she leaves Moscow.

—From an Associated Press account, Aug. 8, 1982.