The Cure for Original Sin
It came to me in a flash – how to cure my son of his despicable habit.
He’d never known church, hence had never learned to fear an all-seeing God, hellfire and brimstone. We’d never discussed warts and where they came from, so now it was too late to use that. I couldn’t tell him he’d go blind. Thanks to the Internet, what parents had to say to their children no longer carried the weight of canon.
I searched desperately for a solution. How could I possibly get him to stop scratching his ineffable, pubescent itch?
And then it came to me like spring rain. I felt lifted up by the wings of my own genius. I’d found the one surefire solution, the cure-all, the panacea, the absolute deadbolt. I was sure that once I’d sprung it upon him, his dirty little habit would simply desist.
Timing, I knew, was everything. School, baseball, girls – even sex – were always open for discussion. But we’d never managed to get around to it. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t wanting him to save himself for his wedding night or anything like that. I mean, masturbation is probably the last thing anyone should save for his wedding night. I just wanted him to slow it down a bit, give it a break, a hiatus – so that he’d have one left for his wedding night. I felt at the rate he was going, he might wear it down to a nub – or even wear it off completely.
I mulled the matter over in my mind for a few weeks. After all, what was the rush? I figured the worst thing he could do would be to sand it down a few more millimeters. Even the ancient pyramids of Egypt were still standing after several thousand years, and the pyramids, let’s face it, were no match for an adolescent boy’s penis.
When the moment came, I was ready. We’d had a whole afternoon of baseball, and I’d confirmed he was a right-hander – no two ways about it. When he came over and lay down next to me in the grass to take a breather, he carefully selected a long, slender blade of grass and placed it between his lips – just as I’d done hours earlier, and just as I’d taught him to do as a toddler. Two peas of the same pod we are.
“So, Pop, whazup?” His teenage talk – the new jive. The talk was the thing that put an end to all discord between the two colors because it broke down the speech barrier. It might feel to me like a brick wall between the generations, but that was my problem. I was a white boy through and through from the old school where white boys spoke white and black boys spoke black. Now? His age group? It was all grey.
And yet, I was in a mood for compromise – at least partial compromise. “Not much dude. What’s up with you?”
“Notin’, bro.” I gritted my teeth. If anything, however, he was making this whole wretched business a lot easier.
I let a breeze or two pass in silence.
“So tell me. You’re a rightie, right?”
“You bat right. Your throw right. Your write right. Right?”
He didn’t skip a beat, though I could almost feel the wheels turning.
“Right. Just like you, Pop.”
“So.” I paused for effect.
“So?” he queried nonchalantly, like the breeze. Cocky little cock-sucker I thought to myself. He’s got this coming to him.
“So, tell me. Which hand do you jerk off with?” I let it drop like a bomb and waited, pleased as punch, for the fall-out.
He said nothing. Instead, he blew the blade of grass out of his mouth, picked up his glove, and wandered off to play catch with one of his teammates. I lay back Icarus-like and looked directly into the sun. But it wasn’t my wings that were melting this time. No, I’d just clipped his – and clipped ‘em good.
I continued to chew my contented cud. Contemplation of genius, however, takes its toll, and I noticed that I’d slowly rendered the blade of grass between my lips limp and lifeless. I spat it out; propped myself up on an elbow; found a new one. I then looked out across the field and studied him as he and another player tossed the ball back and forth. Little fucker – I thought with malicious joy. I knew it really didn’t matter which hand he used to play with his pud. I knew, rather, that the next time he went to play – and every time he’d henceforth go to play – he’d necessarily have to think back to this moment. And that however delicious the fantasy he might then be grasping with mental forceps, my face and my words would loom large. End of fantasy. End of pud play. End of story.
Practice concluded an hour or so later and I walked him home. The whole issue didn’t bear further mention or elaboration. It had – I was quite certain – been resolved. I kissed him goodbye (he still allowed it), then went home to my own place (the early trauma of separation was now a distant memory, and we’d all settled into a quiet routine).
I went to bed that night feeling like a champ of a dad. So much so, in fact, that I awoke the next morning well before dawn’s early light with my own star-spangled banner waving quite nicely aloft. It so proudly hailed, it hurt. I reached down to offer relief.
And then it hit me. I was reaching with my own left hand. In all of the years of reaching to relieve, I’d never really thought about it. This time, I did. And immediately forgot my anthem, my hymn, my script – whatever you want to call it – to her, my fantasy fuck. In her place loomed large my own question; in the shadow of that question, my banner collapsed to a spud.