I was at a county commissioners’ meeting the other day and they were talking about the best way for children to learn about what we used to called, “the birds and the bees.”
A couple of people at the meeting were supporters of school-based sex education and some of the others were big backers of keeping “sex ed” in the home. Actually, it was getting pretty serious before one of the combatants turned to me and said,”TV, where did you learn about the facts of life?”
“The South Side Grocery,” I replied without a moment’s hesitation, “and I think all of America’s youth should learn it there.”
“Huh?” responded one of them a little warily.
“Yep,” I said confidently. I then explained that I grew up in Montrose, Colo. and right across from the street from the school was a little “mom and pop” grocery. Every afternoon a certain element from the junior and senior high would slip over to act cool and in the parlance of today’s teens, “Hang”.
We would discuss all the important socio-cultural problems of the day, which for teenage boys meant women, females, and…oh yeah, girls, of course. We would have these discussions over by the magazine racks, which had all sorts of questionable literature like, Redbook Magazine, Family Circle and Ladies’ Home Journal. None of us ever had the courage to open the magazines, but some of those article titles on the cover looked real bad.
“And that’s where you learned about the facts of life?” I was asked.
“Of course,” I responded indignantly. “For instance, did you know that a girl can get pregnant if she is kissed while standing in a field of alfalfa while barefoot if she has eaten grapefruit in the last two hours?”
“You mean, you really think…” one of my listeners tried to say, but I figured I had the floor and I wasn’t about to relinquish it.
“Also that was the place where I learned that if you are caught kissing a red-headed girl during a full moon, you had to marry her. You can keep your fancy smancy “sex ed” classes,” I said smugly. “Facts like these don’t come in books.”
“I bet not,” said a cynical looking individual with a strange grin on her face.
Another person was trying to get a few words in, but I was on a roll. “And another thing. You keep hearing about “the Pill” these days, but did you know that if a girl doesn’t want to have a baby, all she has to do is drink a pint of stump water collected from an elm stump, and that’ll cure it right up.”
“Wait a minute! Wait a minute!” said the one who kept interrupting. He was just flat determined to get his say in. “I have listened to all I can take. You are so wrong that it’s embarrassing.”
“I am not!” I said more indignantly than ever.
“Yes, you are,” he said firmly. “I mean everybody knows you can’t get pregnant in an alfalfa field.”
“They do?” I asked stunned.
“Of course,” he said. “It’s got to be clover and spring clover at that, and the part about the red-headed girl and having to marry her…” I nodded uncertainly.
“You didn’t even mention the part about strawberry blondes and a waning moon.”
“You mean…” I tried to say.
He continued, “And as for the elm tree, you’re lucky is all I can say. Everybody around here knows it only works with oaks.”
It was then that cynic chimed in again. “It just occurred to me, TV,” she said. “You and your wife don’t have any children, do you?”