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Kissing Lesson
by Beth Boswell Jacks

“Oh, innocent victims of Cupid,
Remember this terse little verse;
To let a fool kiss you is stupid,
To let a kiss fool you is worse.”


Writing this column reminds me of my school-teaching days and the hours spent developing lesson plans. Lots of reading and research are required in order to cover zillions of topics.

In fact, most likely my teacher inclinations keep me writing. I do love spreading knowledge.

To stay abreast of important events, to research in depth, to teach readers, I normally scrutinize 3 newspapers a day, sometimes more. I read every word--every obit, every wedding write-up, every Osama revelation, every report on Rotary Club speakers, even the elementary school cafeteria menus. I don’t miss a thing.

Some of my favorite articles are the little fillers that slip in amongst the ads. They’re generally amusing, and therein lies fabulous fodder for my snippets. In fact, lately I’ve accumulated several tidbits from the press about the divine sport of (ta da!) . . . Kissing.

That set me to thinking about everything I know about kissing, which led right away to an interesting recollection. I’ll start there.

Question: If you’ve ever kissed a cabinet door, students, raise your hand. See, I knew it. You’ve all kissed cabinet doors. How else is one, thirteen years old and curious, supposed to learn to kiss?

Yes sir, my interesting recollection is that certain aspiring romancers around these parts could perch on the kitchen counter and quite comfortably pull the cabinet doors toward their puckered lips. There could even be a modicum of body language as the doors swung on their little hinges--sort of like “C’mon over here, little door-ling.”

I could reveal the names of this ingenious group of girls and their ring-leader, but I won’t. I will divulge they are not of my generation. We weren’t that inventive.

I must say though that my little newspaper filler stories detailed smacky-mouths much worse than the innocent “lessons de amor” of our local kitchen cabinet pecking, barely-teens.

Take, for example, a report from the Arizona Poison Control Center about the guy who was bitten on the tongue while kissing a rattlesnake. The fellow went berserk, and, not completely up to date on his understanding of poisons, tried to break down the venom by wiring his tongue to a 6-volt battery. The rest of the story is that the poor man lost part of his lip and tongue. Ouch!

Think that’s wild? Listen to this.

A guy in Montana barricaded himself in his residential motel room and held police off for more than 30 hours, firing dozens of shots at them because he was afraid authorities were about to take away his 15 pet rats, some of which were reported to be the size of kitty cats. Before the siege, according to an animal-control officer, the man kissed one of the rats and referred to it as "my brother."

My, my.

I suppose those stories prove cabinet kissers aren’t quite as fuzzy headed as some people, but they DO need to be a bit discriminating as to which cabinets become the objects of their ardor.

Why? Several years ago, one newspaper reported, a South Korean artist's display at a prominent museum in New York City consisted only of rotting fish piled in glass cabinets. This lovely work of art was abruptly dismantled by museum officials after only several hours' display because of a ventilation malfunction. The show was titled "Majestic Splendor."

“Splendor in the glass,” maybe? I think not.

The humble opinion of this teacher/journalist is that splendor of such a nauseating sort could gag even the most devoted cabinet kisser-- might even give cabinet kissing a bad reputation.

So here’s to all the young cabinet door kissers in this world. They’ve got a good thing going--no breath mints or gargling with bitter mouthwash required. And the little smarties have no problems with rattlesnakes or rats or even humans.

Also, there’s no worry about dental braces getting “hooked,” eye glasses smashing or noses bumping, for as an unknown sage once wrote: “Kissing is like real estate. The most important thing is location, location, location.”

You’ll be tested on this.


Beth Boswell Jacks, editor of USADEEPSOUTH.COM,
writes a weekly personal essay/humor column for a number of Deep South newspapers.

She is the author of three books: Grit, Guts, and Baseball and Snippets I and II, and has been published widely in children's magazines and small literary journals. She has also published two stories in Simon & Schuster's CHOCOLATE series.

Here's another BBJ story: My Cousin, My Friend

Write Beth at this address.

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