Sunday, July 20, 2014

Romancing the Hilarity...Available NOW!!

From my newly released book, 

Romancing the Hilarity (Available now on in print* and on e-reader):

The Birds


The Bees

To paraphrase The Late Mitch Hedberg (may he rest in peace), I used to be a nerd. I still am, but I used to be, too. When I was about ten, I started to get curious. While Kevin McCallister and my peers were rummaging through the locked chests and sock drawers of their older brothers and fathers, I wasn’t.[1] I waited until no one was around, walked into our living room, pulled out the “S” volume of our family’s 1992 edition of the World Book Encyclopedia and flipped it open to “Sex.” I read the following, “See: Sexual Intercourse.” BAM!! I learned something already. So after turning to “Sexual Intercourse,” I read the article, and learned that it had something to do with “privates” and… really, I didn’t get anything useful out of it. Thanks a lot World Book Encyclopedia Company.

In the fifth grade, my parents sent me to a little Christian school. If you went to a Christian school, it was just like you remember. If you didn’t it was basically the movie Saved! without the pregnant girl, the Jewish girl, or the kid in the wheelchair; which is a shame, ‘cause they were awesome and would have made my school experience way more exciting.[2] Marilyn Manson did go to my school, but that was before my time. And, there once was a sex scandal, but that was after my time. So while I was there, the only thing notable about the school was that it was a Christian school— still rather noteworthy when you have to tackle something like Sex Ed. It’s also a big deal when you have a science class where you can’t ask questions about evolution. But, in middle school, Sex Ed seemed way more important.

In the sixth grade, my classmates and I had the opportunity to study the book, Preparing for Adolescence, by Dr. James Dobson.  Now, if you’re not familiar with him, Dr. Dobson is the founder of Focus on the Family, who left that ultra-conservative organization to found another more conservative organization with even less oversight and academic accountability. Along the way, this guy wrote a book about our bodies, the changes within, and the emotions associated with them.[3] It could pretty much be summed up as: Chew ice chips and pray until you get married; because if you touch yourself or have sex before you get married, you’ll become the next Ted Bundy, and the state of Florida will put you down like a dog and your soul will burn. And, I’m paraphrasing.

Early on in our study of this book, our teacher, Mr. T, opened up the floor for preliminary questions. “Ask about whatever,” he said. His proposal met with deafening silence. It’s not that we weren’t interested; it’s just that this particular teacher had a little bit of a temper. He didn’t respond well to things he didn’t like. One day when the class was a little restless, Mr. T  famously slammed a textbook on a table and shouted, “Shut the door!” to one of the other students. The book slam was more striking than it may have been otherwise because of his reddening face and the bulging veins. You could see him choking back far harsher language and a much louder yell. It really came out, “SHUT THE…DOOR!!”And for the WASPy[*]* kids in that class, that was quite overwhelming. But, this same “Shut-the-door” man wanted us to ask him any question we wanted, about puberty? We passed on that offer. But as a teacher, he couldn’t let it go. He called out a specific student by name. “[Student] I can tell you have a question, just ask it.”

“No Thanks.”

“Just ask!”

“I really don’t feel…”

“[Student] ask your question!”

My classmate looks down at his desk and mutters.

“What was that?” Mr. T demands.

“When I get married, will I stop having wet dreams?”

The room actually managed to go even quieter as Mr. T sent one of the five iciest glares I’ve witnessed across the room to the student.

“Get out… just, go to the office, right now…”

And, that in a nutshell was my Sex Ed experience in a Christian private school.

Well…If the private school system fails you, you can always turn to your family, right? The “birds and the bees” talk wasn’t one of the things which I looked forward to having. It’s not that my dad isn’t a good dude. In fact, he’s one of the better people I know. He’s thoughtful, helpful, and does well with most of the basic dad stuff. He taught me how to throw a football, change my oil, and tie a tie. But romance?  Not his strong suit—nor were the emotions that went along with it. So, telling me about women and sex and all that jazz was going to be as tough as a horsefly filling in on a bee’s day off.

While reading a book in my room one summer afternoon just prior to high school, I was surprised when my dad walked in. It wasn’t necessarily surprising that he was in my room, but he was fairly good about knocking. The fact that he didn’t, now worried me more than a little. He loomed uncomfortably in my doorway for a few moments, while I bookmarked my spot with my finger. “Well…,” he began, “you’re old enough that you have probably figured your own attitudes on dating and stuff like that.”

“I guess,” I responded shrugging into my book and avoiding eye contact while bracing for what would likely be the most awkward conversation of my life to that point.

“Well, okay then,” he said. Then as suddenly as he’d come, he was gone.
And that, in a nutshell, was the rest of my experience with Sex Ed.

I’m not entirely sure how I made it to adulthood.

* To get the 50% off please use the code, and this link. 
[*]White Anglo-Saxon Protestant

[1] Home Alone. Dir. Chris Columbus. By John Hughes. Perf. Macaulay Culkin. 20th Century Fox, 1990. Videocassette.
In his defense, Kevin wasn’t exploring sex, he was just nosing around his brother’s abandoned room being grossed out by naked women.

[2] Saved! Dir. Brian Dannelly. By Brian Dannelly and Michael Urban. Perf. Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, Macaulay Culkin, Eva Amurri. United Artists, 2004. Film.
I wish this movie was more hyperbolic.

[3] Dobson, James. Preparing for Adolescence. Ventura, California: Regal, 1989. Print.

Friday, July 11, 2014

That's On You...Sorta.

I was driving down a 4-lane highway and a tow truck was on the shoulder. Above the rear window, partly obscured by the winch, and partly faded by time, was some message. My proximity and curiosity grew quickly, and as I passed the truck, narrowly avoiding its side view mirror, my brain finished processing the message. "The, 'Slow Down, Move Over Law' applies to tow trucks." I think he should find a better way to get the word out on that particular issue.