Wednesday, June 23, 2010

That's a Shame!

“Is that guy biting that girl’s thigh?” My son pushed a computer screen with a picture of a guy biting a girl’s thigh in front of my face. I squinted. Not only was it a picture of a young man biting a young women’s thigh, I knew the biter boy.

“Don’t you know that guy?” My son began to scroll down to other pictures of the young man in question biting other questionable girl bits.

“Yeah, I know him,” I sighed.

“Didn’t you . . .”

I cut him off. “Yeah, I wrote him a letter of recommendation for the college of his choice . . . so, apparently, he could go to that institution of higher learning and bite girl’s meaty leg parts.”


I agreed.

“Do people on social networking sites know that we can see them?” My son looked at me with a puzzled frown.

I closed my eyes with visions of thigh biting dancing in my head. “You know; I think it’s kind of like my theory of why people pick their noses in their cars. Glass feels solid, even if it is see-through, and I always want to yell, ‘We can see you!’ But no one ever hears me. Apparently, it’s also sound proof.”

This incident just highlights why writing letters of recommendation can be so problematic, because the world has become a thigh biting, obscene gesture shooting, booby flashing extravaganza, while I still blush when I fill out the forms in the gynecologist’s waiting room.

The blush is off the world’s rose, that’s for sure.

So I have decided that in all future letters of recommendation that I am asked to write I will include the following disclaimer:

What I know of this candidate, student, or potential employee does not include knowledge of: thigh biting photo’s winging their way across the world wide web; strange or twisted philosophies concerning Marxists mass murderers and their views on day care, first names, or the proper running of a gulag; lying to Israeli officials; or superficial tattoos displayed prominently on bits that can be chewed on by boys whose friends are sober enough to hold the camera steady.

I’m not kidding about the blushing part. My gynecologist once looked at my face and neck, his glasses slipping to the end of his nose, and poked my cheek with his finger.

“What’s that?” he asked.

I knew immediately, but I refused to admit to my old-fashioned red-faced shame.

“Are you blushing?” He looked at my fevered cheeks with squinty eyes. “That’s amazing,” he continued. “Nobody blushes anymore.” He poked me again. “Look at that.” He acted like he’d just discovered an extinct species of pigeon nesting on my head.

Sighing, I shrugged and pulled my exam gown closer to my throat, covering my embarrassed shame with a paper towel, wondering who wrote my doctor his letters of recommendation.

I’ve got nothing against public confessionals of guilt to save the taxpayer the expense of a trial, stocks in the town square where you get to throw old veggies at the town bully, and admitting to your most embarrassing self deprecating moments for their humorous uplifting quality, but don’t cry when you—finally and at long last—realize WE CAN SEE YOU and, boy, do you look silly!

Linda (Once Bitten, Twice Shy) Zern

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