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Letters: Horse Commuter, Rhinoplasty Responses

Millie Jefferson

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Portrait of the artist as a young woman
(Courtesy Julia Dole)
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Last week in our "Creative Ways to Save at the Pump" segment, we met a man in Kentucky who rode his horse to the bank. He was protesting high gas prices. Jon Goodwill from San Diego, California wrote in and asked:

"I've always thought of riding a horse around town and wanted to do it. Is it legal to do so in California for a civilian?"

Well, we don't know about San Diego but we did do some investigating about Los Angeles. Turns out its not illegal to commute by horseback. We called up the LAPD and they said since I wouldn't be in the car, I would be more like a cyclist and have to follow similar rules.

Two weeks ago in a segment Bill Radke did about beauty and self-image, he touched on topics such as cosmetic surgery and self-esteem with his guest Susan Davis. Janet McMahon listens to us in Rockford, Ill. She's a two-time breast cancer survivor who's had cosmetic surgery. Bill's story struck a nerve with her -- but not for the reasons one might think...

Julia Dole from Santa Monica California also wrote in about that story. She describes how she watched her mother struggle with her self-image and the lasting impact it's had on her:


My mom had a huge nose that completely threw her face out of whack. Worse, her own mother habitually called her "you long-nosed thing" from early childhood, severely damaging her self-esteem. (Imagine, not even your home is a safe haven from ridicule.) This left her with a deep need for approval and love.

Luckily, music gave her real joy, so studying voice (and languages) became a beautiful and productive refuge for her.

Predictably, when she finally bought herself a nose job in her 20s, her family gave her crap for that too, as if she was supposed to be strong enough to withstand the relentless judgment and ridicule.

She had a successful career singing opera in Boston and New York, and quit a European tour to marry my dad. I am sure looks helped, but she had a beautiful, strong and professionally-trained coloratura voice.

Unfortunately, as her looks faded, so did my dad's respect for her. Ladies, beware of this, and choose men wisely.

I'm proud of all the choices my mother made. She didn't have it easy. She also supports any choices I may make to change my looks, if I choose. (I only felt I needed braces, as an adult.)

A person's changing their looks is between their doctor and themselves. Of course people judge looks, from childhood on, and beauty is power -- though of course, it is not everything.

Beware peoples' shallowness; build yourself as you see fit, inside and out, and choose people wisely.

If you can, please be kind to people who look imperfect. And teach your kids likewise.

Julie Dole
Santa Monica, Calif.

More stories from our Letters series

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