Friday, July 19, 2013


My son pushed a laptop computer screen in front of my face. I squinted at the image. It appeared to be a photograph of a boy biting a girl's thigh.  Not only was it a picture of a young man biting someone's thigh, but I knew the biter boy.

“Is that guy biting that girl’s thigh?” my son asked, and then added. “Hey, don’t you know that guy?”

We began to scroll down to other pictures of the young man in question biting other questionable girl bits and mugging for the camera.  

“Yeah, I know him,” I sighed.

“Didn’t you write that guy a letter of . . .”

I cut him off.

“Yes, yes, I wrote him a letter of recommendation for the college of his choice. Apparently, so he could go to that fine institution of higher learning and study up on preferable methods of biting girl’s meaty leg parts.”


I agreed. “Do people on social networking sites not know that we can see them?”

My son looked at me with a puzzled frown.

I closed my eyes while visions of thigh biters danced in my head.

“You know. It’s like my theory of why people pick their noses in their cars. Glass feels solid, even if it is see-through, so people feel safe and private when they dig around in their nostrils in their cars. I always want to yell, ‘We can see you digging for gold!!’" 

But no one ever hears me.  Apparently, glass is also sound proof.

The thigh biting Facebook montage just highlighted, for me, why writing letters of recommendation can be so problematic, because the world has become a leg biting, obscene gesture flipping, booby flashing extravaganza, while I still tend to 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 student or potential employee does not include personal knowledge of the individual's experience with: thigh, boob, or booty biting; strange or twisted beliefs concerning Marxist mass murderers and their views on the proper running of a gulag; lying to Israeli boarder officials; the obtaining of superficial tattoos to be 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 then he poked my heated cheek with his finger.

“What’s that,” he asked, “on your face?”

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

“Are you blushing?” He continued to examine 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 what amounted to a paper towel. I looked at his various diplomas and acknowledgements and wondered who had written my gynecologist his letters of recommendation.

Linda (Once Bitten, Twice Shy) Zern

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