(Extended spoof, presented In 10 installments of 4 pages each. This is the fourth installment; previous ones are presented below each new installment, in case you miss one or more.) "But before I move on to the next section," Dr. Coburn told Dan, "let me point out that you actually have, not just three, but an entire armory of defensive words you can turn to.” “How do you figure?” “Consider all the things that you immediately associate with the words I gave you. For example, take Tyrannosaurus Rex. What comes to mind?” “Fossils," Dan replied tentatively. “Good. And?” “Bones.” “Very good,” Dr. Coburn commended him. “Now try Texaco.” “Gasoline." “And Mexico?” “Taco?” Dan wondered. “Terrific!” “Oh, I get it,” he said. “Taco, burrito, old bones, gasoline, self-service!" “Right! And what’s the principle behind what we’ve just discovered? The core words of your defensive system have ancillary associations that you can hurl against an encroaching enemy when and if the need should arise.” “Wow, talk about empowerment! I can think of associations all night.” “Good. But these words only constitute your first line of defense. Now that you’ve mastered them, it's time to move deeper into the Coburn Method, which brings us to my rock-solid Axioms of Abstinence. How are you holding up?” “I'm ready to go on.” “Good, good! Then let’s dive right in and begin with one of my most charming and self-evident axioms. Number ten.” “Ten?” Dan wanted to know. “Why don't you begin with one?” “Excellent question!” Dr. Coburn ejaculated. “I thought you might ask. Do you expect to be tempted in numerical order? No! You must be able to think of any axiom at any moment. Therefore, I teach them is as chaotic a manner as the tumult of desire itself. Got it?” “Wow, you thought of everything.” “And so I have,” Dr. Coburn conceded, proudly heaping the laudation on himself. Now, here is axiom ten. Listen carefully. ‘Winking leads to interest. Interest leads to intimacy. Therefore, winking must be avoided.’ Please, repeat that.” “Right,” Dan said, concentrating. "’Winking leads to interest. Interest leads to intimacy. Therefore, winking must be avoided!’" “Very good! Got it the first time! I'm extremely satisfied with your progress!” “Thank you, sir. You don't know how grateful I am. But can I ask a question?” “Go right ahead.” “Are there ever exceptions to your axioms?” “Dan, an axiom is just what it says it is. Axiomatic! I wouldn’t call it an axiom if there were exceptions to it. The wonderful truth is, all of Coburn's Axioms of Abstinence are as definite as a railroad track. You follow them and you’ll get where you’re going. And the sooner the human race says, ‘All aboard,’ Coburn’s train, the sooner we may all travel to a land of incremental bliss, where, in moderate and healthy numbers, we shall cultivate a rejuvenated and resplendent earth, at least, for as long as the dynamics of the universe permit us to continue on it, which, we trust, will be so many eons the possible terminus is the least of our worries.” “But don't you think some people might jump the track?” “Oh, no doubt about it, Dan. But one cannot be dissuaded by the inevitable handful of weak-willed fornicators. One must keep his eye on the far horizon, the shining ideal, and then whatever is within reach becomes attainable. I can assure you that, despite these occasional exceptions, Coburn's Method will have its day. And why? Necessity, my boy! The great, silent force that adjudicates all of our tough decision-making. My approach will be victorious or else we are doomed to a world where the reckless billions will be squeezed shoulder to shoulder, breathing the unbreathable, drinking the undrinkable, and dying like flies from disease and hunger, while even then no doubt some utterly uncontrollable lunatic will attempt to slip in an orgasm. And that dire comeuppance does not even take into account the regrettable tragedy that we will have by then left precious little room for the other creatures of the earth. Moreover, how long can we expect that nature will be patient with our burdensome and plagued numbers? We might, in fact, be surprised at any time by a sudden environmental collapse, in which we could all die off like the dinosaurs.” “No?” “Yes! I’m talking here about no less than a sex-inflicted mass extinction!” Then the doctor grew calm for a moment. “I will give you an example, on a miniature scale, to prove that such an extinction may well happen. It is the tale of a rustic tragedy that befell me some years ago when I owned a summer place with a small trout pound. In spring, when the water was cool and rich in dissolved oxygen, the lovely trout leapt and fed at every bug that fell upon the water. Then the heat of summer came and much of the oxygen evanesced from the water. The trout, feeling listless, seemed to disappear. The lake was as still as a watery grave. I, the uncomprehending owner, mistakenly concluded from the inactivity of the finny creatures that there were no longer enough of them in the pond. Perhaps, I thought, the muskrats, otters, and birds of prey had eaten many of them. I was, in fact, so inexperienced in the ways of the wild I imagined each time I stocked the pond that the observant land creatures were sitting on the hillside, clapping at the bountiful feast that had just arrived. And what did I, the amateur aquaculturist, do? I decided to order more trout from the hatchery. And what happened? The next morning I awoke to find every last trout in the pond belly up. There were simply too many of them for the amount of oxygen in the water – and they had all suffocated overnight!” “That's really sad.” “Immensely! And that morning I learned the greatest lesson of my life!” “What, Dr. Coburn?” “That the adaptability of the environment and nature's seemingly irrepressible will to live have their limits, which, once trespassed, lead on to inevitable ruin. I realized the potential fragility of the biosphere and how overpopulation might precipitate its sudden and irremediable collapse. It was, in fact, at this time that I began my quest for a workable, ethically unimpeachable restraint on the self-defeating human proclivity to overbear children and, along with the activity required for such fecundity, to communicate HIV and other STDs.” “I’m glad you shared that story with me. Wow, talk about an experience. Let me just say, I hope someday your method works for everybody.” “Thank you, Dan. I appreciate that. Frankly, I’ll settle for almost everybody. The fact is, there is simply no available alternative with equal potential. I ask you, can we expect adequate success in population control and disease prevention with condoms? If so, why are the problems still with us, while in these fearful and sorrowful times condoms sprinkle down upon the earth like perpetual autumn leaves? And can we hope for the universal availability of any sort of artificial contraception in the most desperate voids of the world? No! I tell you, the only answer resides in the human mind, a solution needing only to be reinforced by my method. Just think of it, Dan! No further scientific breakthrough is necessary. All that is required is the power to say, ‘No!’ ‘No!’ to every occasion that may lead to arousal! And we're all aware of what arousal can lead to, aren’t we?” “What, Dr. Coburn?” “I refer you to Coburn's Fifth Axiom of Abstinence,” he told Dan, and went on to quote it. “’Arousal leads to contact. Contact leads to sex. Therefore, arousal must be avoided.’" “Boy, you really know the material. But how can I avoid arousal? I mean, I'm not responsible for the way I've been designed. I see a cute girl, and – bingo! – there I am, aroused. I'm just trying to live with the setup.” “Yes, and quite a challenge it is, Dan. Which is precisely why I devised Coburn's Forty-Seventh Axiom.” At that moment, Melanie entered, as if to check on the progress of Dan’s tutelage. “Ah, just in time, Melanie. Darling, tell Dan one of the ways to avoid the snare of arousal.” “I just came in to say I’m going out.” “But before you leave, give him my forty-seventh axiom. Nothing inspires like a good example.” “Do I have to?” “Please, for Daddy.” “Oh, all right,” she said, and stared off to prepare her recital. "’Attraction leads to familiarity. Familiarity leads to arousal. Therefore, attraction must be avoided.’" “Excellent, as always, Mel!” Dr. Coburn effused. “Hey, Melanie, good job,” Dan told her. “I can't wait to know the material as well as you do.” “You've got to be kidding,” she said. “Now, now, Mel. Give Mr. Fox a chance.” “That's all I ask,” Dan told her. “And that's all you need, my boy,” Dr. Coburn assured him. “Soon you, too, will know exactly how to say no – no to winking, no to attraction, no to arousal, no to touching and kissing, no the whole gamut of sexual enchantment!” he concluded. “Now, I think we’ve covered enough for today. See you back here tomorrow, same time, OK?” “Tomorrow?” Dan asked. “As I said when we began, in the early stages, we need to get you as close as we can to total immersion.” “OK, I’ll be here. I want to move ahead as fast as possible.” “Good.” “Good-bye, Daddy.” “Mel, if you want me to, I can walk with you,” Dan volunteered. “No, no, Dan,” Dr. Coburn interjected. “I’m afraid it’s too early for ‘walking together,’ considering what it can lead to. Wait here with me for a few minutes, while Melanie goes her way.” “I don’t get it. What does walking together lead to?” Dan wanted to know. “Touching, you idiot!” Melanie told him, and turned to depart. Dan made good on his word. He came to study with Dr. Coburn promptly at the times appointed for his lessons. From the day of his arrival onward, Melanie just didn’t seem to be herself. There was a persistent, unfamiliar unease about her demeanor. Then one day, when the bell rang at his lesson time, she could no longer repress her turmoil. “Daddy, please, don't let him in!” she pleaded. “But why, child?” Dr. Coburn asked, puzzled at her sudden anxiety. “You aren't, by some remote chance, feeling that old bugaboo attraction, are you?” “For him? No way!” “Then, please, just consider him another right-minded pupil of mine.” “How can I do that – when everyone is making fun of me?” “Fun of you? In what way, Mel?” “Do I have to go into it?” she asked. “I don’t know how else I can make an acute evaluation of your situation.” With visible perturbations, she said, “They're saying I can't possibly be a virgin anymore.” “How on earth could they arrive at that inconceivable conclusion?” “Because he's here every day, that's why!” “And those fools have concluded that, as a result, he has seduced you? You, my most dependable adherent? Why, their comments aren’t anymore substantial than the breath they’ve expended to express them. And the proof is easy to ascertain. Now that Dan has been studying with me, all your friends have to do is talk to him. They'll quickly realize he couldn’t possibly be interested in having sex with you or, I dare say, with anyone else. He has made remarkable progress.” “Sure, he has,” she sighed sarcastically. “They think he’s only here for one reason.” “Time will soon dispel that illusion.” “Will it?” “Melanie, don't tell me you’ve come to doubt the efficacy of my tutelage?” “I'm sorry, Daddy. But he's got such a reputation for, for – “ “– No need to get sexplicit, dear. I understand completely. I’ll tell you what. Let me demonstrate to you how far he has come in the welcome remediation of his behavior. After I've finished with his lesson, you can give him some advanced training.” “Daddy, please, I can’t.” “Sure, you can. Believe me, I wouldn't suggest the tactic if I wasn’t convinced he's at the stage where he can control his previous derelictions.” “You really think he won’t try anything?” “If he does, I’ll boot him out permanently.” “Promise?” “Unconditionally. The experience will shore up the slight wavering you may be experiencing in your faith in my method. And it will give you plenty of ammunition to dispel the illusions of your errant friends.” “All right, Daddy. I'll be in my room, studying.” “Call you when I’m ready,” he told her, and gave her a one-armed hug. Then he headed for the door. End of Fourth Installment
(Extended spoof, presented In 10 installments of 4 pages each. This is the first installment; previous installments will also be on this site , in case you miss one.) “Excellent, Dan! See you today for your first class,” Dr. Richard Coburn told the university’s star football player, who had just called to sign up for the doctor’s controversial course in abstinence, which was based on his hot new book, Just Say No To Sex. Since Dan Fox, like many a star athlete, was much beloved by the girls, his call had surprised even the ebulliently confident doctor. Just as Dr. Coburn hung up, his lovely and voluptuous daughter, who was also his prize student, returned from class, pausing just long enough to wave good-bye to the latest throng of male admirers who hooted from a passing convertible. “Hi, bye!” she called, and closed the door, a bit exhausted by another day of fending off the romantic wiles of ever-hopeful young men. “Hi, Daddy!” she said, and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Hello there, Mel,” he replied. “The usual crop of overheated admirers?” “I'm sorry,” she told him, “but I just can’t seem to make them give up.” Then she crossed the traditionally furnished living room and handed him a bag from the bookstore. “Here’s a present, Daddy.” “What is it?” “A copy of your new book.” “But, child, I’ve got copies of it by the boxful, all ready for the rush of students I anticipate will be knocking down the door.” “But this one’s different,” she said. “Look inside.” He opened the cover, and she pointed. “See, I wrote you a note.” “Why, thank you, Melanie,” he said, and read aloud, “To Daddy. Thanks to you and your wonderful method, I will never procreate or contract a sexually transmitted disease. Love, Mel." He became tearful. “Ah, my dear, sweet, Melanie – I'm touched. I know your entire life will shine forth like a beacon of hope to all who know the transcendent value of my abstinence-building program. That reminds me. I must autograph a copy, too. I want to give it to Dr. Ernst. She'll be here any minute.” “Dr. Ernst? What’s she visiting you for? She’s always ridiculing your work?” “Oh, she’s just a bit piqued that the answer to the population time-bomb and the AIDS epidemic has come, not from her much touted medical school, but from the sociology department.” “I don’t think there’s any excuse to talk the way she does about your method.” “Oh, don’t trouble yourself about it. One finally grows used to such competitive behavior. The human race still knows no cure for professional jealousy. But, forgive me – I can't help gloating,” he continued, holding his book high. “Given the way Just Say No To Sex has already started to fly off the bookstore shelves, what harm can anything she says do? Who knows? Perhaps she’s even come to offer her congratulations.” “Whatever,” Melanie sighed. “I’m sure more and more people will realize how important your work is, no matter what she says. Then they’ll be just like me and won’t have a clue why people do the thing they seem to do and do and do.” “I haven't got a clue why they do and do it, either, Melanie. Oh, guess what happened while you were in class?” “What, Daddy?” “Reader’s Digest called.” “Really?” “Yes! They’re considering doing an excerpt!” “That’s awesome! Congratulations!” “Thank you, dear. It seems that, with the popular media starting to pay attention to my achievement, I may finally transcend the confines of academic chitchat. I expect that soon we’ll see major reviews of the book and, as a result, I'll be busy on the lecture circuit and making appearances on a variety of talk shows. And, once my method is widely known, in what locale won’t you find a Coburn Club for Sexual Abstinence?” “It's so great! I can’t wait!” “Frankly, neither can I. As you well know, I have put the wise, conservative position of just saying no to sex on a solid and irresistible foundation. At last, the supremely ethical remedy is at hand for rampant overpopulation – and the resultant ecological depredation – teenage pregnancy, the heartbreak of abortion, and the scourge of AIDS and other STDs – all thanks to my brilliant new method. And what a magnificent turning point it will be for the highly over-sexed human race. At last, mankind and womankind will have the willpower required to work their way back from the brink of self-inflicted annihilation.” “Oh, Daddy, I'm so proud of you!” Melanie exclaimed and bent forward to hug him with propriety. “Thank you, Mel,” he replied, and orated, “So I ask you, with my approach, can sex survive? Oh, I doubt it very, very much, I truly do.” Just then the doorbell rang. “Ah,” he said, “that must be Dr. Ernst now.” “I'll get the door for you,” Melanie volunteered. “Thank you, sweetheart.” She crossed to the living room, as he struck a grand pose with his book underarm. “Hi, Dr. Ernst,” she said, making a special effort to be cordial. “My dad's expecting you.” “Thank you, Melanie,” the doctor replied, and stepped in. “Good afternoon, Dr. Ernst,” Dr. Coburn said. “Hello, Richard,” she responded, rather coldly. “Would you like a cup of tea or anything?” Melanie asked her. “No, thank you. I had lunch in the university cafeteria. And, as you know, a meal there does more than satisfy one's appetite. It destroys it.” “How about you, Daddy?” “Thank you, Mel. Nothing right now.” “Excuse me, then. I want to do some abstinence mental training.” “Good girl. Today, I suggest you concentrate on verbal disassociation.” “Yes, Daddy,” she agreed, and walked off, reminding herself, “Remember, when anybody mentions sex, quickly think of Texaco or Mexico.” “Ah, she’s quite a girl,” Doctor Coburn enthused. “I'm extraordinarily proud of her. She has not, like many a young person, fled from her distinguished father’s imposing presence to seek her own ego distinction at a comfortable distance. Quite the contrary. She has wholeheartedly embraced my method. May I offer you a seat?” “Thank you.” They sat on the two leather chairs that graced the living room. “I have a present for you,” he said. “An autographed copy of my new book.” “Thank you,” she said. He handed it to her, and she put it on her lap. “Aren’t you going to read it?” “I already have,” she said. “I mean, the inscription.” “Oh,” she said, and opened the cover. She noted what he had written. “Very nice of you, Richard.” Then she closed the book and placed it on the coffee table. “Well, what do you think of it?” he asked tentatively. “Well, I must say it has aroused –“ “’– Aroused,’ Priscilla? Careful with your choice of words,” he advised her, wagging his finger somewhat playfully. “Don't want to key off, as my book cautions, any untoward associations.” “Oh, Richard, don’t be so persnickety. If we were to exclude every word in the English language that can be construed to have a sexual undercurrent, we would hardly be able to talk.” “A patent exaggeration!” he replied. “Verbal rectitude is at the very foundation of my method. And quite understandably when you realize what even the smallest intimation can lead to.” “Of course, Richard. Please, excuse my linguistic ineptitude. Let me say, instead, that your book has precipitated very serious concern at the medical school.” “Concern, Prissy? I should think in would evoke, at long last, a chorus of undiluted praise!” “It has, I’m afraid, evoked just the opposite: undiluted consternation.” “Professional jealousy, pure and simple,” he replied. “There can be no other excuse for such a reaction, when the very survival of the human race may well depend on my method.” “Oh, please, Richard. Overwrought people with one agenda or another have been invoking Armageddon for millennia, unusually in an attempt to foist some specious belief on the more gullible members of society. Today's challenge for blind and blighted humanity is to imagine, not the end, but the beginning of the human race, well-adjusted to life and the requirements of its responsible stewardship.” “And the opinion of the medical faculty is that my method offers no hope toward such a laudable goal?” “Richard, of course, there is some merit in advising abstinence. But to present it as a cure-all offers, we are certain, a very false and ultimately pernicious hope.” “Oh, Priscilla, I can’t bear it. Out of the illimitable depth of my compassion for humanity and its self-defeating foibles, I have wrought this majestic fountain of immediately applicable wisdom – and you and your colleagues dare to label it as ‘pernicious?’ ‘Pernicious’ when I expect that I shall even find myself being mentioned for the Nobel Prize?” “I should think, rather, for the dumbbell prize!” “How heartless of you to hurl such a flat-footed insult my way,” he informed her, and, raising his voice, continued, “There are certain minimum standards of civilized intercourse that I demand we adhere to if this conversation is to continue.” “Richard, did I just hear you mention the word ‘intercourse’?” she half kidded him. “Don’t want to key off any inadvertent associations.” “My faux pas,” he admitted, “but you've upset me terribly. You know I admire you and even feel a certain collegial affection for you. So I find your derogations especially upsetting.” “As I find your overly confident pontification. It fries my nerves. Like most sensitive and educated people, I do not usually even require a direct statement. A hint generally suffices to convey a meaning.” “I’m sorry if I became too vocal – but to cast aspersions on an intellectual breakthrough so vital – “ "– At the medical school we have taken to calling it Coburn's Folly.” “Folly?” “Not invariably. At other times, I've heard it simply referred to as idiotic.” “How incomprehensibly wrongheaded! Do you suppose I created my method without establishing it on a firm empirical basis? The entire construct grows out of my own remorseful experiences as a young idealist in the city’s Department of Social Services. Oh, Prissy, how hopeless I became as I witnessed the toll undisciplined copulation takes on the downtrodden – excessive and often unwanted pregnancies and the undisciplined spread of STDs. Why, I even had the personal tragedy of seeing a colleague contract the AIDS virus from a tainted needle and waste away unto death. But now, after years of tumultuous creative gestation, I have synthesized the remedy this wretched and over-populous world is crying out for. And I shall not be deterred by the ill-considered quips of you and your colleagues.” “Richard, I understand the depth of your care – I truly do – and I respect your commendable intentions. There is, nevertheless, good cause for the concern your work has elicited. We at the medical school are worried that the sudden attention being paid to your approach may provide a springboard for conservatives to succeed in securing cutbacks in funding for the sort of programs in which we believe true hope lies, such as genuine sex education and medical research.” “But my Just Say No To Sex program offers – “ " – a welter of nothing more than ineffectual persiflage!” “No, no! On the contrary, it offers something you and your colleagues simply refuse to acknowledge – the entirely natural and indubitably ethical panacea. The persistently neglected cure for humanity’s most daunting problems that is built right into every human persona – a splendidly cost-effective remedy requiring only expert reinforcement. I speak of willpower, Dr. Ernst. Willpower, strengthened by my inarguable axioms of sexual abstinence, so that willpower alone may function as an impenetrable bulwark against willy-nilly copulation and its lamentable consequences. I might add that both I and my own daughter are living proof of the efficacy of my method.” “Richard, have I not known you since childhood? Don’t you recall your overheated youth? Are you even certain, as an adult, of your own capacity for consistent self-denial?” “I admit I may have strayed in my salad days. But at the time there was no readily available remedy. Now, my resistance is unassailable.” “Tell me, how long has it been now since your wife fled with the gardener?” “Three years, during which – “ “– You have never once felt the desire –“ “– Desire is irrelevant. What matters is that my axioms have prevailed absolutely.” “I suppose you have made yourself into quite the cold potato,” she replied, and then reflected, “I'm afraid I can't say the years have left me as tepid.” “You, Priscilla, still subject to the idiotic perturbations of desire?” “Let me rather say that, having reached the age of thirty-nine, with only one brief and inexplicably stupid marriage – oh, how could I have married icy, indifferent Alex – I've found myself feeling deeply saddened when I return to the solitude of my apartment, resentful even, at what I have missed.” Then she snapped herself out of her reverie, and concluded, “But never mind. You wouldn’t understand.” “Of course, I understand. But I simply have no place for such susceptibilities. Nor does my infinitely admirable Gibraltar of unassailability, Melanie.” “The poor dear. How you’ve crippled her!” “Crippled her? On the contrary, I’ve enabled her! Enabled her to be in control of the usual youthful volcano of hormonal activity and its potentially explosive consequences.” “You’ve trained her totally away from the normal development of her – “ “– most counterproductive urges. Melanie is a beacon that shines forth with the resplendent benefits of my method – a method destined to illuminate the world with the attainability and rewards of sexual abstinence.” “You’ve had the poor child under you canny thumb since she was an infant. I can’t wait until you try your method on some lifelong libertines.” “Would you like to see the list of students who've signed up for my crash course?" “What, since the publication of your book?” “Yes, I’m virtually undergoing a spring rush – and in balmy August. Just wait until the fall semester begins.” “Are you sure they haven’t signed up just for the fun of it?”
(Extended spoof, presented In 10 installments of 4 pages each. This is the second installment; previous ones are included on this site, in case you miss one.) "They all seem impressively genuine in their intentions," Dr. Coburn replied. "As young people are prone to do, they actually want to do their part to help save the world – and now they see a practical way to proceed.” “We shall see. But, even if you are able to inculcate your linguistic nonsense, how long do you expect they'll abstain before their fulminating libidos overwhelm your flimsy barricades?” “Until they are comfortably and safely married. I also assume that the most diligent students will continue to maintain a commendable degree of procreative moderation in wedlock.” “Please, they’d all be much safer simply using condoms.” “Condoms? Oh, don't even mention the word. How unnatural, how risky, how–“ “– About waiting for time to reveal the answer?” she interrupted, and then, sighing, said, “Dear me, the greatest liability a bright person can have today is the lack of a solid scientific background. Your well-intentioned mind simply does not have the knowledge required to innovate credibly in the field you have chosen. It is infested with so many cobwebs you simply can’t extricate yourself from them.” “Cobwebs to you, Prissypassionate conservatism to me!” “Yes, out with the new, in with the old! Let us champion antiquated ideas, trotted out as innovations. Luddites of the world, unite!” “I admit it proudly! Antiquated ideas are my favorite kind. They have withstood the test of time and, therefore, their merit is self-evident.” Then he leaned forward and issued, what was to her, a particularly disheartening admonition. “Prepare yourself, Priscilla. The worldwide adoption of my method will actually make the need for your misguided educational programs and medical research superfluous.” “Doctor Coburn, you are – in the field in which you are dabbling – a most ignorant, insensitive, and dangerous man.” “Ignorant! Insensitive! And dangerous? Ah, now I know well the ridicule innovators have had to deal with from time immemorial. I can, at this juncture, even sympathize with the early plight of my arch-nemesis, Freud. What courage he had to persist against the Victorian tide. I shall borrow a page from him, however, not in terms of his erroneous unearthing of the sex drive, but in admirable doggedness.” “Please, don’t confound yourself with Freud. Your approach is not only unrealistic; it’s the most cockamamie – “ “– Dr. Ernst, if you please. One of my all-time least favorite words is ‘cockamamie.’ What a regrettable morass of mortifying associations.” “Excuse me, Richard. Sometimes your prudery is revelatory. I shall simply call it runaway ignorance.” “I think I have now endured enough of the slings of professional jealousy. Do you think I don’t know the medical school is beside itself because this historic advance in sexual behavior-modification has come from the sociology department?” “Not at all, Doctor. The truth, like it or not, is that at the medical school we must be entirely realistic every moment. Lives depend on the pragmatic orderliness of our procedures. Above all, we know we must deal with humanity as we find it – fragile and excitable humanity. We also know that at this particular time in history, due to the plethora of unwanted pregnancies, burgeoning overpopulation, and widespread STDs, Mother Nature has us, like it or not, by the balls!” “Shame on you, Priscilla! What language – and for a woman of your distinction.” “Oh, fiddlesticks! Would you be happier if I said it has us by the ovaries?” “Don’t make light of the dire situation we find ourselves in. You have forgotten one very important aspect of my method. It is a new reality, not a method of contraception that has proved inadequate to our overheated desires or the gleam in a frantic researcher’s eye. No, no, mine is a pragmatic approach that is available for immediate implementation.” “Oh, Dickie – “ “– Priscilla, please. You know how I feel about that alternate appellation.” “Yes, dear,” she replied with a trace of sympathy. “Sorry.” “About what?” “Calling you ‘dear.’” “Oh. I didn’t notice.” “Of course,” she said, resigning herself to his hurtful indifference and moving forward with her argument. “But somewhere beneath your self-assured surface, certainly you suspect the eternal inclinations of man and woman. How can you possibly think that your so-called method can moderate the tidal wave of sexual desire that sweeps through the world at every moment? How can it restrain the young, whose entire physical being throbs with sexual eagerness? Or the poor, who have precious few other pleasures? Or the wealthy, who perpetually court indulgence?” “My dear Dr. Ernst, what you obviously fail to understand is that I don't merely ask people just to say no to sex. I provide, in a series of one hundred compelling and self-evidently true axioms the resources the human will requires to be victorious – axioms that will one day no doubt be viewed as the Euclidean geometry of sexual resistance.” “Sorry, I remain unimpressed.” “Why? Because you’ve been dethroned. While you and your realistic colleagues have trusted to sexual propriety in the heat of desire and the far horizon of medical research, I have had the insight to see the gold at my feet.” “Fool's gold, I'm afraid!” “On the contrary, a solid gold chain every link of which consists of irrefutable logic – a step-by-step approach in which every statement follows the other as relentlessly as one moment follows its antecedent! Take, for example, Coburn's First Axiom of Abstinence. I dare you to find a flaw in it,” he challenged, and took the book from the coffee table. He opened it and held it toward her, as he recited, ‘Sex leads to pregnancy. Pregnancy leads to overpopulation. Therefore, sex must be avoided.’ Argue with that, if you dare!” “Richard, the argument is not with your self-evident nonsense but with your hopes for compliance. How on earth do you expect such a flimsy train of premises and conclusions to compel the world’s billions to adhere to sexual abstinence?” “Mock me if you must, Priscilla! Nevertheless, my hopes are being confirmed as more and more conscientious students sign up for my truly enlightened method.” “To learn what? To say no to sex, despite every natural proclivity and temptation, say no despite drunkenness or drugs? Sorry, Richard. I much prefer condoms to Coburn.” “Oh, Dr. Ernst, the effrontery even to mention my name in apposition to that sine qua non of imperfect prophylaxis.” At that moment, the doorbell rang. Doctor Coburn looked at his watch. “Ah, ha,” he announced, “that must be my new star applicant, Dan Fox.” “Fox? He wants to sign up?” “Correct. He called to apply right before you arrived. Naturally, I invited him to come over right away, lest the legendary stud have second thoughts.” “I can't believe his interest is at all genuine.” “Then it’s a fine fortuity that he has arrived while you’re still here.” “If by some chance you are able to exert even modest restraints on him, how many young girls’ hopes you’ll shatter. It’s preposterous to think you can control him, given the number of girls who’d tear their own clothes off to hop into the sack with him.” Just then Melanie entered the room, and said, “Didn't I hear the doorbell ring?” “Yes, dear. I think it's Dan Fox.” Melanie seemed unusually upset. “Dan Fox? What's he doing here?” “He wants to enroll in my course.” “Daddy, come on. He's the last guy in the world –“ “– Now, now, Mel, don’t prejudge him.” He noticed her hesitation. “Please, just get the door.” “Sure,” she consented, with a bit of teeth grinding. He stood proudly while Melanie walked there. She took a deep breath and pulled it open. “What are you doing here?” she asked the handsome athlete. “Hi, Melanie,” he replied. “I want to sign up for you dad’s course.” “Sure, you do,” she said, indicating she suspected him of harboring an unspoken motive. “Let him in, Mel,” Doctor Coburn called. “All right,” she agreed, and stood aside. “Thanks,” he told her. “Dan, my boy, come right in,” Coburn called. “Thank you!” he replied, with as much transparent enthusiasm as he could muster. Melanie closed the door and observed as her father put out his hand. “Welcome, Fox.” “Glad to be here,” he said, glancing at the skeptical observer beside his new-found mentor. “You know Dr. Ernst?” Coburn asked. “Yes, I do,” Dan said. “Hi, Dr. Ernst.” “Hello, Mr. Fox,” she replied distantly. “I'm delighted you made the big decision to study with me, Dan,” Dr. Coburn said. “Thanks,” he replied. “I'm convinced it's the responsible thing to do – I mean, with all the problems sex can cause.” “Good, Dan!” Dr. Coburn exclaimed. “I see that, besides brawn, you've got brains.” “Thank you, sir. My ideal is, like the ancient Greeks said, ‘a sound mind in a sound body.’” “In a very sound body,” Dr. Ernst commented. “The girls tell me you're quite irresistible.” “Thanks. But it’s not my fault. I was born this way.” “But you can rise above it, I assure you,” Dr. Coburn advised him. “That’s my goal,” Dan said. “I need to save my energy for football.” “Tell me, Dan,” Dr. Ernst inquired, “what makes you believe Doctor Coburn’s method can work for you? Have you read his new book?” “Not yet,” Dan admitted, “but I've heard a lot about it. From what I can tell, it appeals to the mind – and I like that. Mind over body – the same thing you need in the fourth quarter when you're behind and you have to do a lot more than you think you can.” Dr. Coburn turned to Dr. Ernst, and told her, “I have great faith in this young man.” Then he eyed Dan critically. “My hope is that you’ll become one of my star pupils.” Somehow, this comment cut Melanie to the quick, and she said, “Dad, I need to speak with you.” “Later, dear. In the meantime, please, escort Mr. Fox to my study and get him signed up.” She looked at Dan with condescension. “I cannot believe this! Come on.” “Thanks, Melanie,” he said, and followed her. “What do you think?” Dr. Coburn asked. “Me? Oh, I also have great faith in him,” she replied wryly. “Did you notice the way he looked at your daughter?” “No, I didn’t. It all seemed rather usual to me.” “Really?” she asked. “And why do you think Melanie seemed so uneasy? Could she by any chance be infatuated with him?” “Mel? Oh, please, she’s far too well trained for such an indiscretion.” “Richard, sometimes you are a blind ass. Fox obviously has something on his mind other than learning how to say no to sex.” “You suspect he's only here because he’s interested in Melanie? Little Melanie, with all the voluptuous women who are at his beck and call?” “I have a proposition.” “You mean, a proposal?” “Whatever. You teach him your method as best you can. Then you arrange for him and Melanie to be alone for an evening.” “Alone?” “Yes, and Melanie must be given instructions that she is to try every wile she can manage to break down his willpower. If he maintains his indifference to her advances, I will leave you to proselytize as extensively as you can. On the other hand, if by some chance he cannot resist her charms and succumbs, you will admit defeat and cease to promulgate your method.” “But poor Melanie – to subject her to such an excruciating experience.” “Don’t tell me you suspect she might be in any sort of danger? Richard, if your method is half as good as you say it is, she’ll be faced with an insurmountable, and therefore an entirely risk-free, task.” “But to ask her to do something so contrary to her lifelong training–“ “Yes, but think of the possible benefits if you succeed with Dan. Your triumph will resonate throughout the campus. I’ll withdraw all my objections and recommend that the medical school withdraw its. Then you'll have a free hand on campus and on to the welcoming arms of a desperate world!” “Do you I have your word on that?” “Absolutely. Now, how long do you need to indoctrinate Mr. Fox?” “That depends on how much time he’s willing to give me. But in no event will I require more than one month.” “Then you've got a deal,” she said, and put out her hand. “Deal, Priscilla!” he affirmed, and gave her hand a hearty shake. “Now, if you'll excuse me, I have work to do.” “My pleasure, Richard.” “Don’t forget your gift,” he told her, and picked up the autographed copy of his book from the coffee table. She accepted it. As he walked her to the door, she said, “Good luck. You'll need it.” “Thank you, Priscilla,” he replied, “but not nearly as much luck as you’ll need.” She gave him a peck on the cheek, and his face flushed to a degree that slightly embarrassed him. “Till then,” she said, and went out the door. End of Second Installment
(Extended spoof, presented In 10 installments of 4 pages each. This is the fifth installment; previous ones are presented on this site or at newslaugh below each new installment, in case you miss one or more.) Then he headed for the door, as Melanie went upstairs. He drew it open, and said, “Dan, my boy, come in.” “Thank you, Dr. Coburn.” “How are things going?” “Great! Just great!” “Excellent,” Dr. Coburn exclaimed. “Tell me, how are you dealing with the numerous opportunities that seem to come your way?" “No problem.” “Haven't by any chance succumbed to any, have you?” “No, sir.” “Not even once?” “No, not once, sir,” he said, but his voice broke and he seemed remorseful. “What’s wrong, Dan?” “I only told you half the truth, sir.” “Half?” “I’m sorry. Help me! I need help!” Dr. Coburn closed the door to his den, and said consolingly, “Tell me all about it, son.” “I can’t believe it but it happened. I had a lapse.” “You did? How?” “Temptation, sir! Just too much temptation!” “It was able to penetrate your every defense?” “I admit it. Yes, sir.” “How is that possible? You should have been temptation-proof by now.” “I thought I was, but then – “ “– What?” “The worst possible thing. I mean, you won't believe it.” “Confide in me, Dan. I can’t help you fortify yourself unless I understand what befell you.” “How can I even say it? Not one –“ “– Not one? Go on.” “But two –“ “– Two what?” “Cheerleaders.” “Two cheerleaders?” “Yes, sir. Two really sexy ones – “ “ – Yes?” “Double teamed me,” Dan confessed. “They did? In what way?” “Incredible. Let me just say they were incredible.” “Dan, I need specifics.” “Yes, sir. But, just to protect them, I won’t mention their names, OK?” “Of course. It’s the matter we want to discuss. Names are irrelevant.” “Good. Well, we rode home on the bus together after last night’s away game, which, by the way, I won with a last-minute dive across the goal line.” “Good. Go on.” “Well, one of them asked if she could sit down beside me. I was really tired and, without thinking of your axiom about what closeness can lead to, I just said, ‘OK.’” “Your first mistake.” “I know, sir. It just didn’t occur to me at the time.” “Please, continue.” “Well, as the ride went along, I felt her hip against mine.” “She had moved closer?” “Yes, sir, while I had my eyes shut.” “I’ve told you often, you’ve got to be eternally vigilant. A woman with amorous intentions can be fretfully wily.” “You can say that again.” “Anyway, I must have taken a nap, because when I woke up, I noticed my arm was around her and somehow her breast was in my hand.” “That’s bad.” “You bet. And somehow her best friend, another cheerleader, with a body that never stops saying wow, had squeezed in next to her. Things were kind of crowded, so the first cheerleader said, ‘Mind if I sit on your lap?’” “What did you say?” “Well, the thought that occurred to me right away is, Texaco. I mean, I guess I thought of sex and, thanks to your training, it keyed off my first line of defense.” “So far, so good.” “Like I said, I tried.” “When did the breakdown occur?” “Not until after the bus dropped us all back at the dorm.” “You lasted that long?” Dr. Coburn wished to ascertain. “Yes, sir.” “Not bad. But, apparently, there was trouble ahead.” “You have no idea.” “Please, continue.” “Anyway, when the bus pulled up, it was time to remove her breast from my hand.” “She still had it there?” “Yes, sir. Actually, I had kind of forgotten about it.” “I see,” Dr. Coburn replied, apparently not entirely convinced. “Please, continue.” “We got off the bus and started to walk toward the dorm. We were all feeling kind of good, because we won the game, and the two cheerleaders kept saying how great it was that I had scored the winning touchdown.” “They were both still with you?” “Yes, sir. They wanted to walk with me. Then it happened.” “What?” “The girl whose breast had ended up in my hand said, ‘We were talking and we want to give you a present, that is, if you’re not too tired.’” “Let me get this straight. She said, the plural, ‘we,’ not the singular, ‘I?’” “Yes, sir. Right away I realized what was on their minds.” “One might from that, yes. Continue.” “I looked at them and – you have to forgive me, I’m only a man – I imagined them both naked.” “Well, given what she had proposed, I can understand how you might have extrapolated that unfortunate vision. Go on.” “What can I tell you? My willpower just went.” “Just like that?” “Yeah. I’m so sorry.” “Now, it’s time for me to admit something. “You? What, doctor?” “It’s my fault.” “It is.” “Yes, I’m afraid so. You see, we’ve entered new territory here, thanks to you, Dan, and the extraordinary degree to which you seem to arouse the untoward inclinations of the female species. It actually never occurred to me that I need an axiom to enable my students to say no to double teaming.” “Oh, thanks. I can’t tell you how relieved I am. I was beginning to doubt my abilities.” “Don’t ever do that. What we need is a new axiom. Let me think about it.” “You’re going to think it up right now?” “I should be able to. As you know, I’m very practiced in the area,” Dr. Coburn advised him, and, no sooner did he boast of his particular creative expertise than he exclaimed, “I've got it!” “What?” Dan asked. “My new axiom.” “Already? Boy, you've got a real talent for this stuff.” “I know. And believe me, talent is what makes all the difference between just plodding along and creating something remarkable.” Then he pointed to his head, and said, “You know the general topography of the human brain – gray matter, with various concentrations of neurons. I always say your talent is where you have the highest concentration of neurons. I call it your gray lump. Unfortunately, not all people have one.” “I wonder where mine is.” “You’ll discover that as you use your brain. Just be attentive to its subtle promptings and to what comes easy to you,” Dr. Coburn advised him. “But back to our new axiom. I say ‘our’ new axiom, because I've decided to share credit for it with you.” “You have?” “Yes, Dan. In your honor, I’m going to call it The Coburn-Fox Addendum.” “You don’t have to do that, but thank you.” “You’re welcome, Dan.” “I can’t wait to know what it is.” “Then let’s get to it. Here is the addendum. I think you’ll see it addresses the issue: ‘Two simultaneous sexual objects can prove twice as tempting. To resist, you need twice as much willpower. Therefore, you must study twice as hard.’" “Twice as what?” “Excuse me, Dan. I got carried away. Let me rephrase that. ‘Therefore, you must study twice as much.’" “That makes sense.” “Thank you. Now that we’ve got that in place, let's move on.” “I'm ready.” Until now, the excitement had been proceeding at such a high level that Dan had not taken his usual, deferential place on the couch. “Have a seat,” Dr. Coburn told him. “Yes, sir,” he replied, and plunked himself down. “You’ve got two weeks of study under your belt now.” “Under my belt?” “My, my, see how much progress you’re making? You’ve even catching me when I make one of those unfortunate associations we inherit from our chaotic past. Let me rephrase that. You’ve got a week of study behind you. Yes, I think that will do. No exceedingly unfortunate associations in the phrase ‘behind you.’ Now, today we're going to move into some pretty advanced territory.” “Good.” “As a result, we’re going to get significantly more sexplicit.” “Ready when you are.” “I need a teaching tool,” he said, and went to his bookshelf. He looked it over and removed a magazine. It was Playboy. He held it up, and asked, “You’re familiar with this entrapment?” “Very.” “Every masturbated to it?” “When I was a kid.” “It happens to the best of us – that is, before we grow up and learn our responsibilities.” “You did it, too?” “We were all youngsters once, Dan. When desire first awakens, we are especially susceptible. Now, tell me,” he went on, opening the magazine to the centerfold, “what do you do think of when I open it thus.” He held the lusciously retouched photograph of The Playmate of the Month toward him. “You really want to know?” “Why else would I be asking?” “I think, wow, what a great-looking piece of ass.” “Don’t feel bad. Many a man would. Thankfully, he would be mistaken. And do you know why?” “Why?” “Because this is not actually a naked woman.” “It isn’t?” “Of course, not.” “Then what is it?” “It’s merely a photograph of a naked woman. Which brings us to the first axiom in the second half of the book, number fifty-one: ‘Pornographic pictures lead to masturbation. Masturbation leads to the desire for sex with a real person. Therefore, pornographic pictures must be seen as mere ink.’ Got it?" “Yes, sir. Mere ink.” “Good. Now, focus on that thought for a moment. Are you focused?” “Yes.” “All right, now when I hold the centerfold up again, what do you think of?” “I think, wow, what great-looking ink.” “No, no, no! There’s nothing ‘great-looking’ about it. It is ‘mere ink’ and nothing more. OK?” “Got it.” “Excellent!” Dr. Coburn responded, and gave Dan’s shoulder a squeeze. “You’re getting there.” “Thank you, Dr. Coburn.” “You’re most welcome, Dan. It’s a pleasure to teach you.” He looked at his watch. “Oh, my, four o’clock already. I’m sorry to say this, Dan, but today I have to leave you a bit early. I’ve scheduled a field trip to the adult bookshop. If one is to thwart temptation, one must keep up with the latest incarnations of it.” “You are so dedicated – I mean, to go to a place like that for the sake of your students.” “Thank you. Just doing a bit of unavoidable research.” “Does that mean my lesson is over?” “No, no. Thinking ahead is half the secret of successful adaptation and defense. We’ve got to press on – and I’ve decided that, despite your double-teaming downfall, you're at a point when Melanie can pitch in.” “Melanie?” “Of course. She’s as able an assistant as a father could hope for. What do you think?” “I think, whatever you think, sir.” End of Fifth Installment
(Extended spoof, presented In 10 installments of 4 pages each. This is the sixth installment; previous ones are presented on this site or below each new installment at NewsLaugh, in case you miss one or more.) "Good. You won’t be sorry. She knows the material very nearly as well as I do.” With that, he handed Dan the issue of Playboy, and said, “Review the material while I get her.” “Yes, doctor,” Dan replied, and accepted his assignment. He looked over the centerfold, while Dr. Coburn went to get his guest instructor. “I like this course!” Dan exclaimed to himself. Then, glancing around to make sure he was all alone, he took out his cell phone and made a call. In hushed tones, he said, “Hey, Eddie, baby, guess what?” And then he intentionally mispronounced the doctor’s name. “Today, ‘Cockburn’ is gonna have Melanie give me a private lesson .... I kid you not ...e on, double or nothing. Fifty bucks says I make it with her .... Deal!... Well, maybe not today, but you can kiss your fifty smackers good-bye.” Just then Melanie tapped on the door. “Gotta go now,” he said, and concluded the conversation. He resumed looking over the magazine. When Melanie entered, he said, “Hi, there.” She noticed his intent involvement with the illusory ink and sarcastically inferred the frequent masculine result. “Studying hard?” “Very hard,” he replied, and then went past the inference to the dutiful nature of his activity. “Your dad gave me the assignment. Then he put the magazine aside, commenting, “Ah, the consolations of ‘mere ink.’” “Oh, this is such a joke!” she exclaimed. “I don’t know what you mean.” “Yeah, right. Who are you kidding, Dan? You could care less about how to say no to sex.” “You still think that, after I’ve taken lessons for two whole weeks?” “What else? The truth is, you're only here because you're like all the rest of the guys. You only want –“ “– What?” "Mexico." “Oh, you mean Texaco?” She gritted her teeth. “Tyrannosaurus Rex.” “Melanie, it can’t hurt just to say it. I think you mean sex?” “You would come right out with it. Of course, that's what I mean.” “Sorry, babes. Your dad said you're gonna give me a lesson?” “You should be so lucky.” “Melanie, you know you always listen to what he says. So let’s get going.” “This is so ridiculous!” she lamented. Then she relented. “All right, as long as you stay right where you are.” “On the couch?” “Yes.” “Are you going to sit beside me?” “No way. Don’t you even remember that much?” she asked, and quoted, “‘Closeness must be avoided.’” “You’re right. That axiom just slipped my mind for a moment.” “Well, then, don’t let it happen again, all right?” “You have my word.” “OK, are you ready?” “Ready,” he said, and shifted his body a bit. “I’m telling you, Dan, you stand up just once, and the lesson ends. Got it?” “Got it.” “All right. First, I need to see how far you’ve progressed. So we’ll review the materials. Let's start with axiom one,” she said, and could not help asking, “Do you even know that much?” “Sure, I do,” he replied, and recited, “’Sex leads to pregnancy. Pregnancy leads to overpopulation. Therefore, sex must be avoided.’ Well, what do you think?” “As if you believe it. What's axiom two?” "Hey, no problem, Mel. ‘Sex can lead to STDs. STDs can lead to death. Therefore, sex must be avoided." “And how much sex have you avoided lately?” “As much as possible.” “What does that mean? I want a number. How about during the last week? Come on, how many girls have you made love with in the last seven days?” “If you want to know the truth, I haven't touched a woman since I started to study with your dad,” he said as convincingly as he could manage. “What's wrong, don't you believe me?” “What’s the wild rumor going around campus about you and two oversexed cheerleaders?” “I don’t know how that got started.” “Is it true or not?” “Of course, it’s not true. Do you think I would do something like that, especially with what I’ve learned in the last week?” “I asked my dad if you told him about them.” “You did? What did he say?” “He said, ’Don’t be ridiculous.’ But I’m not sure what he meant. Sometimes, he has a hard time talking about certain things.” Then she cast a skeptical eye on him. “You must think my dad’s a real jerk.” “How can you possibly say that, after I’ve come here day after day to learn his method.” “And what do you think of me?” “I think you’re wonderful. A little reserved, but a wonderful woman.” “’A little reserved?’” she replied. “I know exactly what that really means. It’s code for what all the guys think: Melanie’s a jerk because she won’t do what other people like to do and do and do. Well, screw it. I don’t care. How’s that?” “Whatever you say, Melanie. You know as well as I do that you’re sort of the official campus virgin. And guess what. I think it's great that you're like that.” “Oh, sure, you do. Well, it’s not as easy as you think.” “It isn’t?” “No – with guys like you always hitting on me,” she said, and then softened her tone a bit. “After all, I’m only human.” Then, regretting her brief lapse into sentiment, she renewed her resolve. “Which makes me even prouder of my reluctance.” “Reluctance? Does that mean you may actually be willing at some point?” “That’s none of your business. What matters is that I don’t feel like a jerk at all. I feel proud of who I am. And, if you believe a single thing my father has taught you, you'd know why.” “I think I do, but tell me in your own words.” “Sure,” she said, and then went on as if reciting from her father’s teachings. “I’m proud because I know I am the natural remedy for overpopulation and the resultant ecological depredation, the heartbreak of abortion, the scourge of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as a moderating influence on the human race's historic obsession with, with–“ “– Come on, Mel, you can do it. What do you think of when I say Mexico, Texaco, and Tyrannosaurus Rex?” She continued to be trammeled with guilt, so he enumerated the letters of the word. “S-E-X. What does that spell?” “Sex,” she managed to utter. “Very good,” he told her. “Let’s go on. Now, why do people like sex?” “Because they’re terribly misguided.” “No, because it gives them pleasure.” “Pl-, pl-, pleasure!” “Excellent, Melanie! I see there’s hope.” “That’s enough,” she said. “I have to leave.” “But you’re supposed to give me a lesson,” he reminded her. “Then behave yourself, OK? I’m who I am, and I will always be this way. Got it?” “Yep. And I admire you for what you are.” “You are such a liar.” “You're wrong. In fact, my intention is to be as great an example of your dad's method as you are.” “I’ll believe it when I see it.” “How about this?” he told her. “I've been telling the rest of the guys on the football team about what I’m learning, and pretty soon the whole team is going to study with your dad.” She sat down beside him. “You’re kidding?” “No, I’m not. You just don’t know how devoted I am to this new way of thinking about sex. Imagine how much publicity that will create for your dad’s method. I can see the headline in the school paper now.” He held forth his hands to illustrate the magnitude of the type. “Entire Football Team Swears Off Sex.” “I can't imagine something that would be more helpful,” she said, and then modified her frequent childlike tone so that now it intimated a vastly different need. “Do you find me attractive?” “You?” he said, a bit flustered by what appeared to be her sudden availability. He decided the best thing he could do was to restrain himself. “Well, Melanie, to tell you the truth, I used to find you very attractive – so attractive I had dreams about you. But not anymore.” She moved a bit closer to him. “You had dreams about me?” “You have no idea. I couldn’t help myself. Later in the course, will I learn how to avoid wet dreams?” “They were that hot?” “Yeah. What can I say, I’m a normal guy.” “That depends on what you call normal. All the girls think you’re a real hunk.” “What do you think?” She backed away from the emotional precipice that she sensed she might have approached. “I think you’re very handsome.” “You do?” “Un-huh. But then all the girls do.” “Oh, come on.” “It’s true,” she said, “and you know it.” Then she managed to relocate her legendary resistance. “But I know all too well what handsome men can lead to." “Hey, I know that axiom, too. It leads to ‘feminine arousal.’” Then he dared to venture a parallel. “And what do beautiful women lead to?” Melanie swallowed hard. “’Masculine arousal.’” “Yeah,” he almost panted, and turned to her. “I confess, Melanie. I'm still attracted to you.” “I knew it!” “Does that upset you?” “No,” she replied, “but it does remind me that I must be especially careful when you’re around.” “Ditto, when I’m around you.” “I think you should leave,” she said, and stood up. “No, please, Melanie. I know a better answer.” “What? That you never come back?” “Don’t even say such a thing. I mean, I just need more education.” “Oh, sure, as if that will make a difference.” “It will, I promisee on, Melanie. Teach me. I'm all yours.” “What’s the point?” “I can learn. I’ll prove it. Let’s try something really advanced.” “What do you mean?” she asked, and sat down again. “Try to get me excited.” “Why would I do that?” “Just so I can prove you can’t do ite on, I promise you, my resistance is up.” “It's what?” “Skip it. I'm here to learn,” he said, and held up the copy of Playboy. “Take me beyond mere ink to the real thing.” “You’re getting carried away.” “Then give me the next rule. I yearn for advanced study.” He looked directly into her eyes, and it must be said that at that moment the entire edifice of the Coburn method seemed to teeter. “The next rule?” she replied, breathing the words back at him. “Please, I yearn to learn! Give it to me.” “Seventy.” “What about sixty-nine?” "There is none. We skip from sixty-eight to seventy.” “Why, tell me why?” “The unfortunate associations that that number evokes.” “OK, I’ll take seventy. Quick! I need all the axioms I can get.” "Yes, Dan,” she whispered. “’Kissing leads to arousal.’” “More, tell me more! I need it when I’m near you.” “You do?” “Need it badly. Need it so much I want to earn a graduate degree in your father’s method. A Ph. D.!” “You do?” she breathed warmly. “How badly do you want to earn it?” “So badly that – “ At that moment, he lost whatever cool he had managed to retain, threw his arms around her, and gave her an enormous kiss. Melanie allowed herself the luxury of enjoying it for a few moments, but then her extensive tutelage asserted itself. “We should stop,” she said. “We’re losing it.” “No, no, don’t say that. We’re gaining each other.” “Please, Dan. Control yourself,” she told him. He sensed her need to take a breather and let her push him away. “Sorry, Mel. But you can't give me a test like that this early. I'm still a sexual undergraduate. And I'm wild for you.” “You are?” “Maybe I’ll never get past it. When it comes to you, I could fail the entire course.” She stood up and recomposed herself. “You better leave.” “You mean that?” “Please,” she said, with a trace of desperate need. “I’ll tell you what. If you only give me a little more time, I know I can learn not to be attracted to you. I want to learn. And, if you give up on me, think how much sex I’ll be in danger of having. I’m helpless without you.” “I’ll tell you what. If you promise to control yourself, I’ll give you one more chance.” “Good. I’m ready.” “Now, you really have to concentrate on everything I say. No more fooling around.” “You have my word.” “I think we should review axiom twenty-nine.” “Is that the one about sitting close together?” “Yes. ‘Sitting close together leads to touching. Touching leads…’” At this point, he joined in and the finished the axiom with her: “’… to kissing. Therefore, sitting close together must be avoided.’” “That was very good,” she said. Just then, Dr. Coburn returned. He tapped on the den door, and called, “Class in progress?” “Yes, Daddy,” Melanie replied. “Keep up the good work,” he told her. “I want to review the material I picked up at the bookstore.” “OK,” she said, and continued to drill Dan on the axioms, while he did his best to be a devoted student. End of Installment Six
This story took place in feudal Japan in the 18th century. An ordinary servant put a noble guest into a rage. The offended said the host should teach his servant a good lesson, which back then certainly meant death for the servant. The host had no right to disobey this tradition. The man found his dutiful servant and uttered, "I'm sorry, but I must fulfill the wish of our guest and punish you. I have no choice. All I can bitterly advise you to do is to take a sword and fight me - you might kill me during the joust and then throw yourself on mercy of the man you offended." "Is it not useless for me to draw a sword?", the servant replied with astonishment. "You are a first-rate katana master and a fencing teacher, and my peasant hands have never held a sword before. How could I possibly win?" The fencing teacher in his turn had been waiting long for a fight with someone past praying for, someone caught in a hopeless situation, but hadn't had a chance so far. He said to his servant, "Take my katana and try your fate. Let's see what happens - the Fortune might be on your side." When the master and the servant faced each other with their swords drawn, the master noticed that his position is much worse and decided he should change it. He made one step back, then a couple steps more, and soon found himself with his back against the wall. The master had to take the final decision as there was no more room left for backing up. It was no fun any more, no more thoughts of experimenting. Cornered, the master was not able to change for a more advantageous position, and with a loud cry he delivered a stroke slaying the unfortunate servant. The master would tell his disciples after that , "That was an incredible battle! The servant was about to defeat his master, his attack was almost impossible to repel. So, even an old servant can become a strong rival in this kind of situation, let alone a skillful fencer. The great warrior and commander Uesugi Kenshin (1530-1578 ) said, "A warrior has success in his head, armor on his chest, and his fate is in heaven. Go to fight with confidence and you'll come back without a single wound. Rush into the battle ready to die. Should you leave home, remember that you shall never see it again, only then shall you come back. If you dream for a moment of returning home, it will most likely never happen. Life brings about constant changes, but samurai doesn't think that way as his fate is predestined".
Rammy JohnsonFacts, oddities, incidental details: these are only some of the few things I examine in the following twenty features I have come up with concerning life and all its intricacies. Some will make you laugh, others will make you scratch your chin, but whatever your behaviour, each and every one of these twenty or so queries. 1) How come when you close a glue cap the glue sticks but this same paste does not stick to the sides of the glue tube? 2 ) Academic research has detailed reports stating that from a group of four men or women one will most certainly have a mental ailment of some kind or the other. Think about this calculation: if you have three normal friends, then you, unfortunately are the fourth one out. In other words, the fourth person with a mental illness is none other than you. 3) Why do we press down hard on the remote control even though we know that the batteries are weak. 4) Supposedly the man from the jungle lives in the jungle, yes? Then, how and where did his beard disappear to? 5) Switched those bulbs that are enclosed in tight plastic shutters? Have you noticed that whenever you go to do that there are always dead bugs inside? How did they manage to get there? 6) Still use plastic bags instead of the more nature-friendly paper ones? Ok. Then, pray tell, why can't I ever manage to open one on my 1st attempt? 7) Why, pray tell, do doctors just about to inject a prisoner with a lethal injection check that the needle is sterilized? 8) Have you noticed that if your bank account gets overdrawn, your bank will add an extra charge? Why do they do that? Should you maybe inform them that the reason your checkings account is overdrawn is because you don't have money? 9) Why don't we ever hear jokes about father-in-laws? 10) If people run into a sign near a park bench saying that the paint is wet, every one will touch it to check. If this is so, why don't these same folk verify the star count of around four billion stars so stated according to various scientists? 11) How many times will be keep coming back and opening the door to the fridge when we are hungry? Do we really think that food will appear there miraculously? 12) Notice how bullets bounce off superman's chests, but the moment the villain throws the empty revolver, this same invincible superman ducks. Shouldn't the revolver bounce off his chest too? 13) I'm sure you've heard of the evolutionary claim that mankind has evolved from monkeys. Before I am to believe this, I want to know that if this is so why are monkeys still roaming earth? 14) Why is it that when we try to catch something that is falling off a table, our hand knocks down something else? 15) Heard of the Jap airplane pilots who towards the end of the Second World War crashed their planes into American naval ships? Why did these guys even think of wearing a helmet? 16) Why do people move a vacuum cleaner over a small piece of thread again and again. Why do we pick it up, examine it and then place it back down and move the vacuum cleaner over it to give it a second chance? 17) A visit to one of the many soap shops that have sprung up all over and you'll find that soaps come in all kinds of colours. But then, why does the bubbles always turn out white? 18) Is it winter or summer wherever you are right now? Have you noticed that if it is summer we try and make the house as cold as it would be during winter, and if it is winter, we try and make the house as hot as it would during summer? 19) Is there any day when mattresses are not on sale? 20) Isn't it silly that when if wandering through one of the large shopping malls someone doesn't pay attention and the cart they are pushing smacks into your toes, and then they say sorry, all we can think of saying is that no harm was done while your toe is aching. Note: Uncanny facts and features are not novel. The fact that we humans have strange habits is not new too. But, I have pointed out some of the few irregularities that we live with. This article is for entertainment purposes alone and doesn't try and offend or create new realities. So, take it in the appropriate manner too.
For many years I maintained confidence in my personal identity. I knew exactly who I was and was quite comfortable in my skin. Although, I must confess my skin used to fit me better than it does these days. Recently several things happened to shake this confidence in my person. I don’t know about anyone else, but I take pride in my personal mettle. About two months ago my credit card company informed me somebody hacked into their records and stole my identity, along with approximately one million other customers. They went on to assure me that my account would be safe. It wasn’t my money I was worried about at the time but my identity. How can anybody steal someone else’s identity? More important than that, why would anybody want to steal somebody else’s identity? Especially somebody like me. In thinking about this I wondered, how much can I charge someone for borrowing my identity? I might have a cottage industry here in the making. Or, perhaps it’s just cottage cheese. I could understand if I were a good looking, rich tycoon with more dollars than sense. I’ve been looking for money all my life and have been unsuccessful. I am so poor some church mice have loaned me a dollar or two over the years. And if I ever see those mice again I aim to repay those loans. The way I feel about it is if anyone can get money out of my account, good luck to them, because I can never get money out of my account when I need it. In fact, I have a good mind to find these identity thieves and ask how they’re getting money out of my account. I’d pay good money to find the secret to that puzzle. The ATM at my bank stands for Automatic Thief Machine. It holds me up from getting to my next appointment with cash and never returns my card. A second incident furthered my identity malaise. A few days ago, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly were in a little bit of a tight spot. Actually, it was I in the tight spot, which is nothing new for me. I can’t remember the events leading up to the spot I found myself but my wife looked at me, placed both hands on her hips and declaimed, “Who do you think you are?” At the time, I did not know quite how to answer that philosophical inquiry. I mean, she has known me for over 35 years, and for her not to know who I am at this point is just a little bit puzzling to me. At the time, I must confess, I was a little confused about who she thought she was. Being the gentleman I am, I kept my befuddlement to myself. My selfhood perplexity deepened. One day this week, I was going about minding my own business n which is a full-time job with part-time pay and no benefits n when I bumped into an old friend. After we exchanged a few pleasantries, he looked at me and said, “Is there anything wrong? You don’t look yourself today.” Now, the question plaguing my mind was simply, if I don’t look like me, who in the world do I look like? I simply smiled and mumbled something to the effect that recently somebody had stolen my identity. Frankly, I was surprised someone noticed it. In thinking about this, I wondered when someone’s identity is lost where does it go? Is there a lost and found department somewhere for lost identities? Then an awful thought tugged at my mind. What if someone lost their identity, went to the lost and found department and, by mistake, picked up someone else’s lost identity? How do I know it hasn’t happened to me? What proof do I have that I am who I say I am? The evidence before me is quite overwhelming. A major corporation in the United States has informed me that someone has stolen my identity; my wife asked me who do I think I am; and a friend I’ve known for years tells me I don’t look like myself. Talk about having your reality check bounce. I must confess to times when my mind does wander a trifle. But I refuse to accept the judgment that I am absent-minded. I grant you my mind, on the odd occasion, does take a little break every now and then, but it is never absent. This recent identity crisis caused me to do a little evaluating about my personhood. Who am I really? I jotted down a few notes: son, brother, uncle, husband, father and grandfather. Although I’m not old enough to be a grandfather, I do accept the privileges of this position. After all, I’m living with a grandmother, so it is easier just to go along with the program, if you know what I mean. Then a marvelous thought poked its way into my mind. How it got in with all the clutter is beyond me. The thought was simply this; I am also a son of God. This is based upon a wonderful verse of scripture. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12 KJV.) I’m unsure about many things, but one thing I am confident in is my relationship to God.
A frantic businessman rushed into the emergency room, threw his attachй case on the reception desk, and exclaimed, “Nurse, I need help!” The noise woke her up, and she said, “What?” “This is an emergency!” he said. “You’ll have to take your place in line,” she informed him. “What line?” he replied, looking around. “The place is empty.” “Oh,” she admitted, and held out her hand. “Can I have your insurance card?” “Sure,” he said, “what’s that?” “Proof that you have health insurance.” “Oh, proof,” he said. Just then a door flew open and a man was wheeled across the room on a table, accompanied by a doctor with a notepad. “Relax,” the doctor told him. “It’s only a heart attack.” “But I need help, now, or I could die,” the man informed him. “Don’t be silly,” the doctor replied. “I already gave you aspirin. That increases survival rate by an average of 33.3%. Now, I have to ask you some questions. Up to four blood vessels in your heart may need replacement.” “So?” “Your insurance only covers two. I need your permission to do the others.” “OK, OK!” the man consented. “Good,” the doctor acknowledged. “Now, would you like anesthesia?” “Of course,” the patient said. “Excellent,” the surgeon went on. “Your policy is vague on that. Now, when I’m done with the bypass, would you like me to sew you back up?” “What!?” the patient needed to know. “Your insurance only covers the incision,” the doctor informed him. At that point, the patient was wheeled off through the other door. The businessman turned his attention back to the night nurse. “Nurse! I can't wait all day. I have appointments to keep!” “Maybe you should come back later,” she let him know. “I would, if I could,” he told her. “But that's my problem. I can't remember what my appointments are.” “Why not?” “It’s terrible, just terrible,” he nearly cried. “I lost my memory!” “Oh,” she noted, and handed him a form on a clipboard. “First, you have to fill this out.” He looked it over, and said, “I’m in deep trouble.” “Is there a problem?” the nurse asked. “You want to know things like my name, my address, and my phone number! How can I tell you stuff like that when I lost my memory?” “I'm sorry, sir. Everyone has to fill one of these out. If you can't do it yourself, you'll have to have a family member or friend do it for you.” “But, nurse,” he explained, “if I could remember who my family and friends are, I'd still have my memory.” “I'm sorry,” she insisted, “rules are rules.” Just then a cute young wife hurried in, pulling her husband along. He seemed to be in pain and held a small paper bag. “Excuse me,” she told the businessman, and addressed the nurse. “This is an emergency!” “Oh,” the nurse said. “We have to see a doctor right away,” the man added through his apparent agony. “I’ll be with you in a minute,” the nurse responded. “I don't have a minute!” the man replied. “We have to see a doctor now!” the wife told her. “Everybody does,” the businessman observed, obviously getting into the swing of things. Then, as if to himself, he lamented, “Oh, I used to have such a great memory! I mean, I could never recite The Iliad or anything like that. But, as least, I could remember my name and address!” “You don't understand, nurse,” the wife pressed on. “There's not a second to spare!” “What's seems to be the problem?” the nurse asked. “We had an argument,” the man sighed, and nearly fainted. “I love him,” the wife said. “You have to believe I love him. And I'm sorry. But–“ “– What?” asked the nurse. The man pointed to the bag, and said, “She cut off my navel.” “Your navel?” the nurse inquired, and turned to the wife. “Why that part?” "She said, 'I wish you were never born,'" the husband told her. “Then she whacked it off.” “Oh, sweetheart, I'm sorry,” his wife said, consoling him with a pat or two. “I need somebody to sew it back on before it's too late,” the man said. The nurse gave his wife a clipboard with a form on it. “Fill out this paper and have a seat.” “We don't have time for that!” she screeched. “My navel is dying, dying with every passing moment!” the man wailed. “And how would you like to be married to a man without a navel?” the wife begged to know. “A doctor will be with you shortly,” the nurse replied. “Come on, darling. I'll fill it out,” the wife said, leading her husband by his free hand. They took a seat, and, dutiful wife that she was, she began to fill in the information. The businessman observed them with an increasingly crazed expression, and told himself, “I've got to remember something, anything, even if it’s just something general. Plato said something. I know he did. Ah, that’s it! 'You become what you do.' Hey, maybe I'm a classical scholar. No, no – I have too many appointments for that. Maybe I'm a philosophy major who went into business. Oh, I don’t know, I just don’t know!” he admitted, and turned to the nurse. “I have to see a doctor, now!” “Is your form filled out?” “Here,” he said, and handed it to her. “It's blank,” she informed him. “That's the point!” he shouted. “It's blank, I'm blank! Get it! I lost my memory.” “Don't you have a wallet?” “Why?” “You must have some I. D. in it,” she explained. “Hey, why didn't I think of that?” he said, and took out his wallet. At that moment, an intern who seemed not to have anything to do for a split second, entered the waiting area. “Who's next?” he dared to ask the nurse. The businessman held up his wallet and was about to speak, when the wife rushed up with her pained husband in tow, hand with clipboard extended. “We are! We are, doctor!” she claimed. “She cut off my navel,” the man told the doctor, in an effort to claim precedence. “Your navel?” the doctor asked, and said, “That's really serious.” Then he turned to the nurse, “But who's next?” The nurse pointed to the businessman. “But he hasn’t filled out his form yet.” “That's all right,” the doctor said, and turned to him. “You can finish it while we're talking.” Feeling a pang of fellow feeling, the businessman replied, “No, no, doctor – I can wait. I only lost my memory. On the other hand, he–“ “– lost my navel,” the husband interrupted. “All right,” the doctor conceded, turning to the husband and wife. “Come with me.” “Oh, thank you!” the wife told the businessman. “Now, tell me,” the doctor asked the husband, as the couple followed him, “how did you lose your navel?” “She cut it off,” the husband groaned. “Family spat?” the doctor queried. “You could say that,” the man answered. “I said I'm sorry, didn't I?” the wife retold him. When they had disappeared behind the swinging door, the businessman began to fill out his form, referring to the cards he felt fortunate to find in his wallet. “Name, address,” he mumbled to himself. “It must be me because it’s my wallet. But what about my appointments? And my wife's name, if I have a wife? I can't go home without knowing that!” As he toiled, another intern entered. “Next,” the nurse said, pointing at the businessman. “Oh, thank you,” he told her. “What seems to be the problem?” the intern asked. “I lost my memory.” “Sorry about that,” the intern said. “How did it happen – a traumatic emotional event, a knock in the head, something you ate?” “No, no, nothing like that,” the businessman said, taking his PDA out of his attachй case. “You see, I keep everything in my electronic organizer. At first, it was a convenience. Then, over time, I became dependent on it. My own memory withered from disuse. Finally, I couldn't remember anything without it. Nothing. Zip. Then today, it happened.” “What?” the doctor asked. “The worst possible thing. The battery died.” “Oh, my,” the doctor admitted. “That’s serious. I better take notes.” He removed a PDA from his pocket and motioned for the businessman to follow him. As they walked toward the swinging door, he asked, “Now, tell me, when did you first notice the problem?”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, having recently agreed to return one of the finest vases in its collection from the Classical Age of Ancient Greece, has also consented to return the collected toilet seats from the ancient Cretan port city of Ephesus. The decision has come as a welcome relief to the Greek tourist board, whose embarrassed guides annually answer the same question that tourists ask approximately a thousand times a day. The innocent travelers behold the long cement benches with curious holes that grace an area of their walking tour. Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum, stated, “I felt returning the priceless vase was the correct step for us to take. It was a pirated item, and I dress far too nattily to be imagined with a piratical patch over one eye. As far as the return of the toilet seats is concerned, we had kept them in storage, because space at the Met is limited, particularly in regard to items I personally prefer not to put on display. So, hearing about the plight of the tour guides, I decided that shipping these less-than-priceless thrones back to Greece is the thoughtful thing to do.” Tour guides cheered the decision. It remains to be determined if the Greek government will consent to put one on display at Ephesus or will, as the Met did, insist on keeping them private.
Mexican immigrants, upon hearing of President Bush’s intention to send the National Guard to patrol our borders with Mexico, flocked to Guard headquarters across the nation to sign up for duty. While waiting in line, an applicant, Carlos Amigos, exclaimed, “The President has given us a truly wonderful opportunity to help our families and friends in Mexico. Now we have a much better chance of helping them get to America.” The Guard, stretched thin by deployment in Iraq and its need to be at the ready to assist in case of a national emergency, was quick to accept the swarm of new recruits. The head of the National Guard, fresh from testimony on Capital Hill, where he insisted that the Guard is not overextended, voiced reserve. “Just because we accept these eager beavers doesn’t mean we intend to deploy them along the Mexican border. We’ll make that determination on a case by case basis.” Undaunted, another Mexican in line to sign up told us, “I know it’s not certain that I will get border duty, but even a small chance is better than none, amigo, because my family can’t afford to buy anymore forged papers.”
In a startling announcement, President Vicente Fox of Mexico revealed that his nation has solved its immigration problem with the U. S. by requesting annexation as a province of China. As a result of its new status, a plentitude of domestic jobs will be available. He made the surprise announcement, not during his recent visit to America, but immediately upon returning to Mexico. Mexicans by the millions cheered the decision, throwing fiestas nationwide, with shouts of “Viva Mexico!” “Viva China!” And the air rang out with the triumphant neologism, “MexiChina, Ole!” In his address to the Mexican nation, President Fox stated, " Today, I announce that our nation has become a proud province of China. As a result, we will have more than enough jobs to keep our hard-working people employed at home – and in much better jobs than they find as migrant workers in the U. S.” He went on to explain, “Now, it is time for American companies to invest in Mexico to the same extent that they invest in the rest of China. Finally, it is time for them to take advantage of all the cheap labor right next door. Finally, it is time for Mexico to have countless new factories and, in time, as big a trade imbalance with America as the rest of China. Finally, the label “Made in Mexico” will come to stand for everything from knives and forks to Nikes.” The Chinese were delighted by the Mexican offer, noting, “Acquiring Mexico as a province is even better than conquering Taiwan. There’s more cheap labor there, and since it’s right in America’s backyard, we’ll be able to save on shipping charges. So we’ll be able to manufacture and deliver goods even more cost effectively than we’ve been able to with our own cheap labor.” As expected, U. Spanies immediately reacted to the possibility of outsourcing production to Mexico. As the CEO of an American company that was an early entrant into China stated, “It’s absolutely wonderful to know there’s so much cheap labor so close to home. I never realized it until Mexico became part of China. You can be sure production orders from us will soon be heading down Mexico way!” President Fox, when pressed by a reporter about how he thinks Mexican workers can compare with Chinese workers in terms of their willingness to work long hours for low pay, he replied, “What do you think the entire immigration problem proves? We’ve got millions of workers who are so dedicated they risk their lives to earn a relative pittance north of the border.” The response from Washington was clearly negative. President Bush stated, “Mexico is in this hemisphere and has no business being part of China. In addition, we were well along the way to solving the border problem with fences and the National Guard.” A reporter questioned if the fence and the presence of the National Guard might have helped push Mexico toward China. “Of course, not,” Mr. Bush contended. “We all know the fence is not an impediment to Mexican-American relations. It would only keep out the people who aren’t fast climbers, and that’s just a small minority.” Then, quoting poetry, as he often does, he continued, “And, just like Robert Frost said, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’” Democrats were quick to castigate the President and Republicans everywhere. Senator Edward Kennedy exclaimed, “I can’t tell you how upset I am about this. If we had had wiser guidance from the White House, we would have thought to advise our corporations a long time ago that they didn’t have to export jobs clear to China, when they could find inexpensive labor right across the border in Mexico.” Senator Charles Schumer, always prescient, noted, “I knew that fence would not be good for Mexican-American relations. As I said during the Senatorial debates on immigration, the fence is really just like the pistol permit laws. Criminals don’t line up for them. They just go get a gun. And Mexicans intent on becoming illegal immigrants will find a way to scamper over the wall and slip past the Guard.” Republican John McCain, straight from his clamorous reception at New York’s New School, said, “I think the fact that Mexico has become a province of China is probably not a good thing for the long term and I’m not sure it’s even good in the short-term. Of course, we wouldn’t want Mexico to become part of America, either, which, given the level of illegal immigration we have, is actually kind of what is happening.” Dick Cheney was solidly against the annexation, stating, “This change in nationhood is unacceptable. And, once something like this gets going, there’s no telling where it will stop. Next thing you know Venezuela, Peru, and Cuba will be flying the Chinese flag. We must prevail upon the Mexican government to recant. If the President asks, I’ll fly down there and tell President Fox these things myself.” President Bush did not immediately comment on the Cheney offer, perhaps recalling the diplomatic disturbance the feisty Vice President created during his trip through Eastern European nations, when he overtly castigated Russian President Vladimir Putin for backsliding on democracy. Meanwhile, illegal immigrants in the United States began to stream back to Mexico, so they could be among the first to line up for the many new factory jobs that will soon be available. In a last-ditch effort to mollify the Mexican government, President Bush seemed to indicate that he might cancel construction of America’s walled answer to the immigration problem. Since the wall is no longer necessary, there was some chance that the modification would meet with Senate approval. An American who was opposed to immigration cheered the change. “The Mexicans are leaving town as soon as they can get their things together. What do I care if Mexico had to become part of China to get them back into their own country?” Another American, however, had a different take. “I think it’s a shame we didn’t think of exporting jobs to Mexico while it was still the land of tacos and enchiladas, not egg rolls, too.”
Imagine the complexities, not to mention the complexes, attendant to being the world’s largest software manufacturer when your principal original idea so far has been a cheaper price than Apple? Microsoft may well qualify as the American company to achieve the most success without introducing to the needy world at least one original idea, unless, of course, a low-down price can be construed as such a welcome contribution. Let’s look at the spotty history of, not innovation, but imitation. Remember when the Mac had point and click, drop-down menus, and the capacity to keep more than one program open at a time but eddying Microsoft didn’t? Yet, ever resourceful but never innovative, Microsoft managed to imitate the features in ways that kept Gates and company in front of bars and, voila!, the world had Windows and then Office. And what about search? Google virtually invented it. Yahoo got into the game by acquiring Overture. Finally, we have Microsoft trundling in with vows to chase Google and Yahoo in the lucrative venue. As if that recent news weren’t embarrassing enough, now Microsoft has announced it’s about to chase down the iPod with its own Billy-come-lately hand-held music and video player. And tune into the amazing innovation it brings to the fingertips. Microsoft's player will have at least one feature the iPod doesn’t: wireless Internet capability. So those who express a preference for the device at the cash register will be able to download music without being connected to a PC. Tres strange, is it not, that Microsoft longed so for any advantage it would present us with a feature that encourages users away from the PC, which is, thanks to various fortuitous stumblings and cheapenings, its home turf. But let’s not be unfairly critical and admit that the wondrous innovation will also feature a more advanced video screen. In fact, let’s be proactively fair, as we always strive to be, and mention that Apple is not above imitation, either. For instance, after years of counterproductive soul searching, Jobs and crew finally figured out they could sell a lot more computers if theirs were compatible with the software that controls 90% of the world’s desktops. So in went Intel. The only outfit that seems bent on sending the creative flame burning across the page in an uncompromising way is Goggle. But let’s not let its inventive duo of founders wiggle off the hook without a bit of a dunk in the wide waters of imitation. As we’ve all learned, one of Google The Great’s lastest forefronts is offering programs via the Internet that manage the same tasks the software does that Microsoft sells on a disk. How stunning is that innovation? But taking Apple, Google, and Yahoo to task amounts to relative quibbles. The seemingly hopeless wait is for the advent of at least one revelatory idea from Microsoft. Considering the host of accomplished techies they have in their employ, the most extraordinary astonishment is that we’re still experiencing only flagging anticipation.
Microsoft announced today that its new Vista operating system would support only products made by Microsoft. The announcement immediately set off a tsunami of furious responses from all the other software companies and a renewed sharp eye from regulatory authorities. The company effusively denied that the move is in any way indicative of monopolistic practices. Microsoft CEO, Steven Ballmer, known to insiders from competing companies as The Embalmer, noted, “Since Vista is a Microsoft product, what reason on earth is there to support products made by other companies? If they want people to use their programs, they’re free to create their own desktop operating systems.” His announcement did not sufficiently palliate representatives of other major software companies. A representative from google lashed out, saying, “It wasn’t enough that the new version of Internet Explorer will have a default setting to MSN Search. Now, we understand when people click on options, there won’t be any. That just doesn’t seem fair, even though, I admit, he-he, google is the default setting in Firefox.” Questioned about the contentious issue, Bill Gates stated flatly, “I have always been very influenced by my last name, and, in this case, as it appears in the well-know phrase, ‘Sorry, the gates are closed.” It appears that the issue will finally be determined by how courts view the Microsoft insistence that other companies are still free to create their own desktop operating systems. As far as the American economy is concerned, the most significant development seems to be that, as a result of the pending flurry of lawsuits, zillions of lawyers are currently gleefully employed.
Patience may be a virtue, but laughter is the only way to survive goat milking. You can strive for the perfect fencing. You must aim for good nutrition. But, don’t kid yourself. When it comes to milking, you do not get the last word. When I decided to add milk goats to my backyard farm I envisioned pitchers of milk cooling in the fridge while cheddar rounds age in my cellar. Spirit, my first nanny, had other ideas. There is an old saying I just made up: “Don’t expect instant gratification from your very first dairy goat lactation.” Like dating, expecting nothing is the first step toward not being let down. Perseverance is the next step toward surviving goats with your sanity moderately intact. Spirit proved mutinous in milking. Even with twins at her side, she had ample milk to share. Generosity was simply not her forte. However, like falling off a bike or getting thrown from your horse, when you find a goat leg lodged in your right ear, you must climb right back on. To help other potential farmers deal with inevitable frustration, I have provided the following journal. It documents my first full month of milking Spirit. From this draw hope. There is light at the end of the nipple. Day 1: Leashed goat runs around tie post kicking and bucking. Never got near the teat. Day 2: Build "EZ One Hour Goat Milking Stand" from online instructions. Define five hours in hell. Day 3: Adjust Goat Milking Stand so goat’s big fat head will fit through the stocks into the feed box. Day 4: Adjust Goat Milking Stand so goat’s skinny little head will not retreat from feed box out through the stocks. Day 5: Collect 3.5 tsp. milk from flailing goat on milking stand. Day 6: Dido. Day 7: Tether goat’s leg. Goat kicks loose in .3 seconds. Day 8: Tether goat’s leg better. Goat kicks loose dumping over 3.5 tsp. of milk. Day 9: Try new tethering technique. Collect entire ounce of milk. Goat’s effort to kick loose succeeds only after she sheds 3.5 tsp. of hair into the shot glass of milk. Day 10: Go to store. Buy milk. Day 11 – 14: Discouraged. Just squirt some milk straight onto the milking stand so that the apparently dwindling right teat stays active. Day 15: Goat now standing still while I collect three ounces of milk. Then the cantankerous witch sticks her foot in it. Day 16 – 18: Dido, dido and dido. Day 19: Right teat has all but vanished. Day 20: Right teat empty. Day 21: Spirit’s legal team serves me with papers declaring her functional left teat off limits and for her babies only. Day 22 – 23: Practice milking technique while coaxing droplets from withered right teat. Day 24: Have mastered milking with right hand while my left hand holds the receptacle up, dodging the maniacal wenches attempts put her foot in the milk. Net bounty from flat tit approx 1.4 oz. Note: Goat still shedding. Day 25-26: Milk rations slightly increasing. Goat and cottonwood trees now both shedding into the milk receptacle. Day 27: Babies distract me by biting my shirt while I am milking. Spirit’s foot returns to the milk receptacle. Day 28: Babies adamant about eating my clothes while I milk. I steal milk from their precious left teat. Day 29: Babies try to distract me by eating my hair. I try to ignore them. Goat flinches. My foot avoider reflex overcompensates, hurling the milk directly inside my protective LASIK goggles. Startled by my French, both babies run off in opposite directions with my hair still in their mouths. Day 30: And the beat goes on. Day 31: Average daily yield now totals around 10 oz. Source: two milkings per day from 1.2 tits. Remember, when the day comes, and it will, where you just walk up to your nanny and quickly squirt a little milk straight into your morning coffee then wander off sobbing, bear in mind with a little patience, all this can be yours.