Richard Gere will publish his first children’s book, My Gerbil and Me this spring through Tiny Tattler Press. Gere’s book is the first in a series of books written by celebrities who have been the victims of urban myth.
Since the mid ‘80s, most everyone has met someone who knows someone who was a medical professional at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles when Richard Gere was admitted to the Emergency Room with complaints of rectal bleeding. A speculum exam revealed a bloody stool and a dead gerbil, which was then surgically removed by a gerbilectomy.
Gerbil-stuffing or gerbiling is the practice of where a gerbil is forced into the rectum through the cardboard tubing of a paper towel roll. The tube is then removed. The gerbil frantically scratches at the interior lining, which produces an intense feeling for the host, before the gerbil suffocates and is defecated. Although this practice is attributed to homosexuals, there are, in fact, no documented cases of gerbiling. Most likely, the rumor was created to attribute demonize homosexuals through their deviant sexual practices, much like cannibalism was attributed to enemies in ancient times.
It’s unclear how this urban legend has become so prominently attached to Gere, except for the fact that he was at the height of his popularity when the rumor began to circulate, in addition to whispers that he is secretly gay.
“We believe that urban myth provides the perfect material to teach young children about truth, slander, and cruelty to animals, not to mention cardboard tubing,” said Kiki Cummings, Publisher of Tiny Tattler Press. “It also opens the door to discussing how some groups of people are often demonized out of fear via rumor, as well as providing a segue for parents to discuss sexual deviancy with their children.”
A collapsible stuffed gerbil named Somersby, a wink to Gere’s cinematic pairing with Diane Keaton, was originally planned to accompany the book, so that children could explore inserting objects into various bodily orifices. However, even with a tail that acted as a safety string, several test subjects did require trips to the ER.
Next up, Tiny Tattler Press continues the series with the release of Rod Stewart’s Buckets of Fun later this summer.