Hump Day: Pondering the approach society has to a basic human need

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

My father lives in a seniors’ home and had been complaining of a sore hip recently. I was monitoring it to ensure it didn’t get any worse and that the pain was at least manageable or temporary before I called the doctor to make an appointment.

Last Saturday, as we were getting in my vehicle for our weekly trip to Tim Hortons so he could see ‘the boys’ (and a few ‘girls,’ too), I asked him how his hip was doing. He said it was better. I asked him if he’d been taking anything for the pain. He said he had been – and that the Viagra was certainly kicking in and making him feel better.

I knew my father had been prescribed an over-the-counter painkiller for regular aches and pains, but when did he get his hands on Viagra? I know there are about 10 women for every man in his home, but had things got swinging that wildly after supper or their late-night snack? (Definition of “late-night” there is 7 p.m.)

His supposed admission that he’d been chowing down on bucketfuls of Viagra to dull his hip pain came as a surprise, to say the least. “Viagra? When did you start taking Viagra?”

Then, I feared that he would start telling me some raunchy tales of seniors partying down in the dining room with a disco ball, music and a game of strip bingo.

But – I remembered that I was an adult and if I had to listen to some wild tales of room-hopping and swinging from shower support handles, then I would gladly listen. I just didn’t want any little brothers or sisters running around. Highly unlikely.

Luckily, he burst out laughing when he realized his mistake. “Oh, I meant Tylenol.”

I felt like crying like a little girl. I was so happy not to have to have some sordid discussion with my father about Viagra in the seniors’ home – not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. I mean, there’s nothing like a good cuddle to keep the heart pumping, right? And if anyone ever got tangled up too badly in the seniors’ home, you could just pull the bell at the side of the bed to alert staff that you were in need of assistance. That would be one awkward room visit, though.

I’m no prude, but I have no desire to start talking about sex with my father. Besides, he has three kids, so I assume he figured it out at some point.

I was having coffee with a former work colleague earlier this week and she told me that her six-year-old son heard how babies came out of the mother from a friend at school who’d heard it from an older brother. Well, he decided to announce the news to his mother and eight-year-old brother in the car one day, which left Mommy stuttering and unprepared and the older brother in shock.

When I asked her if he had all the terminology down pat, she said he did. He could have taught an anatomy class in university, apparently.

I still remember when I found out where babies came from. I thought it was a joke, but just trying to imagine the mechanics of it was weird. It was all I could do to restrain my six-year-old self from holding a wad of Play Doh up to my father’s face menacingly and spitting out, “Touch Mommy like that again and you’ll be digging this out of your nose for the next week.”

Maybe we’re too hung up about sex around these parts. Maybe we should all pretend we’re on a nude beach in Europe and just throw caution (and everything else) to the wind and let things fall (and flop) where they may.

We’re pretty antsy about nudity in this part of the world. I’m reading a really interesting book on the funeral industry called “Does This Mean You’ll See Me Naked?” Author Robert D. Webster, a longtime funeral director, writes that the reason for the title is that it’s the top question he’s asked by people who are pre-arranging their funerals.

By the way, the answer is “yes.” And by the way – again – it takes a lot to turn his head after seeing literally thousands of people displayed in all their glory on the embalming table.

Everyone’s got a flabby this or a floppy that. A big this or a small that. So, unless you have every single inch of your body tattooed (and I do mean “every” inch), then your local funeral director probably won’t even blink an eye.

I’m no fan of tattoos, so the chances are slim of me turning any heads when it comes my time to be displayed on the embalming table. They’ll have to be satisfied staring at my non-tattooed floppy this and a flabby that, so I guess I’m safe.

I suppose we should all be so lucky to “get lucky” at any stage of our lives, whether we’re still young and virile or whether we need some help from a pill to get the engines running in high gear.

It’s a human need that crosses the generations and all cultures. It’s the only way our families grow, after all.

Think about it. Had your parents not gotten “busy” nine months before you were born, you wouldn’t be reading this newspaper. I’m thinking about that right now. And thinking some more. And now I feel like driving over to the seniors’ home to shove Play Doh up my father’s nose. Maybe I should just pretend I was left by the stork.

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