Twice Bitten

Over the course of my 44 years I've been bitten twice. The first time was when I was about 10 or 11 years old. I was sitting on my front lawn playing with a snake and it bit me on the finger. I screamed ... and I quickly discovered that it wasn't about to let go, so I screamed again. I envisioned it swallowing me whole, finger first! I swung my hand around wildly and finally had to pry the snake's little fangs from my finger. Since then I've had a fear of snakes.

The second time I was bitten was in a nursing home where I worked during my college years. I was helping a nurse hold down a 97-year old woman so that she could be given a shot. The woman had three personalities - one being German. She was very frail, or so it seemed, so it didn't seem like a big job on my part. Anyway, within seconds she turned her head and bit me on the arm. (I think it was the German personality that bit me!) I screamed! Thankfully, she didn't have a tooth in her head, and all she left - once the nurse peeled her jaws off my arm - was a bruise.

I was almost bitten a third time by a squirrel that I cornered in my living room one Christmas season. It leapt out of the fireplace like Rocky the Squirrel, landing on my lap. Again, I screamed! And then spent the next hour trying to get it out of the house.

But the best kind of "bitten" is when you get bitten by the book bug. I remember when I first realized I enjoyed books - it was when I read the children's book Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina as a young lad. I still pick it up every once in while for a chuckle - I'm a sucker for anything with a monkey in it (or in this case, a whole bunch of monkeys).

Jack Sheedy

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