The Public Eye

printed 03/25/2022

Oh, the good old days when sex education in school meant scouring the walls in the big kids’ lavatory for solid how-to advice and observations.

These communications played a vital role in helping young minds learn about the more detailed aspects of the human reproductive process.

Moreover, the authors of this wisdom were so talented that they could put it in verse: “There once was a man from Nantucket, etc., etc.

As a third-grader in the pre-consolidation days of schools in my county, I was amazed at the number of excellent poets we had in my third-grade to 12th grade institution. It was only later that I came to understand why none of their works ever made it into hardcover.

Before that great awakening, however, I found this sex business to be mighty confusing, convinced as I was back then that babies just sort of popped out as part of the marriage contract.

I’m not kidding. I really did think there was some sort of law of the universe that went into effect when people got married, and that it just sort of happened to deserving couples.

According to my theory, one spouse would say to the other, “Well, we’re married now. I guess we just sit back and wait.”

It made sense to me as a third-grader, but it was either my acknowledging that fact at the dinner table or proudly reciting “There once was a man from ...” that led to me being given “The Talk” by my father.

“Son,” he said as we sat in the driveway in his car, “you know where babies come from, right?”

“Sure,” I replied. “They just happen.”

I’m pretty sure I heard him mumble something about his prayers not being answered before he began his attempt to explain the facts of life to me without saying anything at all.

“OK,” he said, “here goes...”

I should note at this juncture that my father, a drinker and fighter of some renown in his day, never cursed, never used questionable slang and never said anything that might be considered remotely off-color.

He maintained that it showed a weakness in vocabulary. This, incidentally, was not a trait that he passed on to me.

Consequently, when he began his discourse on how things worked and what equipment was employed in the process, I’m sitting there thinking, “What language is he speaking and what is he talking about?”

I mean not once did he use any terms with which I was familiar — no winkie, hoo-ha, ya-ya or anything else.

No, he used the proper medical Latin name for every body part and its role in this exercise. I figured he knew things weren’t going to work out as he had hoped when he mentioned the word “copulation” and I suggested that it meant hiring more police.

As it happened, his use of proper terms left me even more confused than before. I can remember thinking about it after we escaped from the car to more comfortable circumstances.

“Great,” I said to myself. “Now that I know what everything’s for, all I have to do is figure out the location.”

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