Raise Your Hand

My teacher said, “Children, if you have to leave the room, raise your hand.”

I have never forgotten that rule, despite the passing of 69 years. Mrs. Hack, my teacher, was old. She was old like my grandmother. She had a slight mustache and some veins showing on her legs, so I knew she was older than my mother. The next age range was grandmothers. Between mothers and grandmothers are aunts, whose age no one knows. During that first day in school, the basic rules were given. So many rules and each one sounded so important. I wasn’t certain what she meant by, “if you have to leave the room raise your hand,” but I didn’t dare ask. It didn’t seem like a bad rule, and raising my hand was something I had done successfully in kindergarten.I was an excellent hand raiser. The best hand raise was executed swiftly, with a full extension of your right hand, arm and if possible your right shoulder. Even for lefties, which I was, the right hand raise was preferred since that was the hand used in the flag salute. If, God forbid, you exhausted the muscles in the right hand raise, then you switched to the left hand, but only briefly. At times, when I had to impress Mrs. Hack, I would increase the hand elevation by stretching my entire torso, but always keeping my buttocks firmly planted on the seat. Any daylight between buttocks and seat would be interpreted as standing, and that was totally unacceptable. If you were not seated, even the most exquisite hand raise was ignored, and you were guaranteed to be chosen last.One day, not long after the morning snack time, I felt the need to go to the bathroom. I raised my hand, and Mrs. Hack asked me what I wanted. I told her that I had to go to the bathroom.  She gave me permission, and reminded me to take the bathroom marker with me. The bathroom marker was a small block of wood with the word BOYS painted in blue, and another block in pink for the girls. I took the marker, went to the bathroom and returned to my room a short time later.

In a little while, my friend, Ira, raised his hand. Mrs. Hack was teaching a reading group on the far side of the room. Her back was turned toward Ira. She couldn’t see his outstretched hand. Ira stretched his arm higher. He started to waive his right hand, but still no recognition. Ira’s right side was fully extended. From his waist, to his finger tips, Ira reached for the heavens. Soon he began to whine. An almost inaudible, low groan kind of a whine. The reading group droned on. Ira’s face flushed red, and the whine grew louder. Suddenly Mrs. Hack turned to see the source of such pain. A teacher of many years, she immediately recognized Ira’s desperate situation. She told him that he could leave the room, and to take the marker. Ira ran to the marker hook, but the marker was not there. He shouted, “it’s not there!  Mrs. Hack said to look again. Ira looked, but there was no marker. He stood still and stared blindly ahead, and he shuddered ever so slightly. It was too late.

That night, my mother was washing my pants and she found the bathroom marker.

Sex Education Begins At Home – Good Luck!

Against his better judgment, but with the urging of his wife Adele, Sam agrees to speak with his son, Tom, about sex. Sam, a man of 45 years, has been avoiding such a discussion for the past two years. His wife, Adele, has pleaded with Sam to have a ‘man to man’ talk with their son about “the birds and the bees.” Tom just celebrated his 14th birthday. Adele has been anxious about Tom’s increasing romantic interests in their neighbor’s 16 year old daughter, Samantha. “It’s just puppy love”, has been Sam’s response, but Adele has been insistent about the need for homebound sex education.

Sunday morning’s bagels, lox and cream cheese have been devoured by all, and Sam asks Tom to join him on the patio. At the furthest end of the patio, out of earshot, Sam arranges two lounge chairs. Tom follows his Dad, and they sit side by side. Actually the chairs are touching, allowing for even a whispered communication. Sam clears his throat, takes a deep breath, and begins…

Sam: Tom I think that it is time for us to talk.

Tom: About what Dad?

Sam: What do you mean about what?

Tom: About what, Dad?

Sam: Something very important.

Tom: O.K.

Sam: Keep it down Tom. Stop shouting.

Tom: Shouting? I’m not shouting.

Sam: O.K. that’s better.  Just keep it down.

Tom: Dad is something the matter?

Sam: No, not at all. I just want to talk with you.

Tom: (concerned) Is Mom alright?

Sam: Mom is fine – she’s perfect. I mean she’s okay. This isn’t about your Mother.

Tom: Great. (relieved)You really got me scared Dad.

Sam: I’m sorry Tom I didn’t mean to scare you.

Tom: Dad…

Sam: (startled)What?

Tom: Oh nothing, but I was gonna meet Peter and Mark downtown.

Sam: Oh good. Well I guess we can talk tomorrow. It’s not a big deal.

Tom: No Dad. I’ll give them a call. I’ll see them later.

Sam: Oh fine, that’s fine. Well I guess we can talk today.

Tom: Yeh. I kinda like this Dad.

Sam: (Incredulous) You do?

Tom:  Yeh. Well what is this about Dad?

Sam: Well your Mom, well your Mom and I think that it is important for us to discuss things about men and women and things like that.

Tom: (excited) Yeh sounds good!

Sam: (vexed) What do you mean, sounds good?

Tom: You know Dad, sex and things like that…(giggles)

Sam: It’s not all sex. Everything is not about sex Tom.

Tom: I know that Dad. In health class we talked about pregnancy, babys and things like that.

Sam: Oh you do?

Tom: Yeh. We learned about STD’s and marriage and family.

Sam: STD’s. What’s that?

Tom: Sexually transmitted diseases, Dad.

Sam: Oh yeh, sure. That’s good.  I’m glad you learned about them.

Tom: Yeh, so am I.

Sam: That information will come in handy someday.

Tom: That’s for sure.

Sam: (abrupt) What do you mean by that?

Tom: Nothin. Say Dad, I better get going.

Sam: But I want to tell you…On second thought we can talk tomorrow. See you later, son.

Later on the same evening, Sam and Adele are in bed.

Adele: Sam, how did it go?

Sam: What?

Adele: How did the talk go with Tom?

Sam: Fine – just fine.

Adele: Great. I feel much better. I was so worried. I know it wasn’t easy for you.

Sam: No problem – no problem.

Ten minutes later. Sam is attempting to go to sleep, while Adele is reading. Her side of the bed it lit by a small bedside lamp.

Adele: Sam.

Sam: Uh.

Adele: Are you awake?

Sam: Sort of.

Adele: Sam, I was wondering what Tom had to say.

Sam: About what?

Adele: You know. Did he have any questions?

Sam: Adele, can’t we talk about this tomorrow? I’m really beat.

Adele: Sure we can honey. I was just curious. You know how I am.

Sam: Yes.

Adele: Was he comfortable talking to you Sam?

Sam: (annoyed) Adele, I’m really tired. Can’t we just go to sleep?

Adele: (insistent) Just tell me what he said!

Sam: (angry) Adele I’m serious. I’m exhausted!

Adele: I know. I’ m sorry, but I am so concerned. You know how kids are nowadays, and with Samantha next door. Sam, you understand don’t you?

Sam: Adele, I’m almost asleep. Goodnight.

Adele: Goodnight, Honey, Goodnight.

Next morning. Breakfast table. Seated are Tom, Sam and Adele

Adele: Tom would you like more pancakes?

Tom: No thanks Mom. I’ve got to get going.

Adele: Dad tells me that you and he had a great conversation yesterday.

Tom: Yeh.

Adele: I guess you must have felt a little funny.

Sam: (annoyed) Adele, enough.

Tom: No, Mom. I felt fine.

Adele: I mean wasn’t it a little….

 

Sam: (interrupts)Adele, Tom has to get going. He’s going to be late for class.

Adele: I was just interested in how you both felt. I mean it isn’t everyday that a father and son speak about personal things and…

Sam: (shouts) that’s it. Tom get going. Have a nice day.

Adele: Sam, what’s got into you?

Sam: Nothing. Well honey. I’ve got to go. See you later. (gets up and gives

Adele a kiss on the cheek).

Evening. Tom’s bedroom. Sam is outside the bedroom door. He knocks on the door.

Sam: Tom are you busy?

Tom: No Dad. Come on in.

Sam: How was your day?

Tom:  Good Dad.

Sam: Great. You know yesterday I wanted to talk with you about relationships between guys and girls.

Tom: I know Dad.

Sam: What do you mean, you know?

Tom: Sex. You wanted to talk about sex – right?

Sam: Well not exactly. Actually you’re right. Let’s talk about it. Your Mother thinks it’s important to discuss sex with you. Okay?

Tom: Sure Dad. It’s okay.

Sam: Okay. Tell me what you know, and if you have any questions ask me.

Tom: I really don’t have any questions. I mean I feel kinda funny talking about this with you.

Sam: Relax. We’re both men. If we can’t talk about these things who can you talk to?

Tom: Mark, and Peter.

Sam: Oh yeh. I understand, but they’re your age. Perhaps they don’t have all the information.

Tom: Well maybe you’re right.

Sam: So go ahead. Tell me what you have on your mind.

Tom: Well Dad, it’s not exactly a question, but can I get a subscription to Playboy?

Sam: (stunned) What?

Tom: I’d like to get Playboy, or maybe Penthouse.

Sam; Are you serious? I can’t believe you. Just forget it!

Tom: (hurt) Forget it Dad. I knew I shouldn’t ask you. Just forget it.

Sam: Why? Why do you need them?

Tom: Well every time I read them…

Sam: (aghast) You read them? Where? Where did you get them?

Tom: Peter’s dad has Penthouse. I read them at Peter’s house.

Sam: His dad has Penthouse? He lets you read them?

Tom: No, his dad doesn’t know.

Sam: Tom you are much too young – much too young.

Tom: But Dad, when I look at the girls, it’s easier to masturbate.

Sam: (shocked, stunned) What the hell! Just watch yourself Tom. Take it easy.

Tom: Now you’re mad. I knew I should have just shut up. Dad I better get to sleep.

Sam: I’m not mad. I’m just surprised.

Tom: Didn’t you ever read Playboy? Did you?

Sam: What difference does that make? I’m your father. I can’t believe that Peter’s father lets him read Penthouse.

Tom: I told you Dad. His father doesn’t know. Peter sneaks it out of his dad’s bedroom. Peter thinks his dad is really horny.

Sam: Tom, that’s enough. I don’t need to know about Peter’s dad.

Tom: Dad. How old were you the first time you masturbated?

Sam: (stunned, bleary eyed) What did you say?

Tom: I was wondering when you first jacked-off?

Sam: Tom, just watch your mouth.

Tom: I’m sorry Dad, but I was just curious. Being a guy, Dad, I just thought I could ask you that.

Sam: Well you took me by surprise. I mean I’m supposed to answer your questions, but…

Tom: I understand Dad. I apologize.

Sam: Tom, I’m sorry I jumped on you.

Tom: Say Dad, did you ever use condoms?

Sam :(shouts)  Shut the fuck up. Just shut your fuckin mouth.

Tom: But Dad…

Sam: You want to know about jacking-off, or condoms or whatever, just ask Mark, or Peter, or maybe Peter’s Dad. Not me!

Tom: I’m really sorry Dad, but you said we should talk about sex.

Sam: Right. But not about my sex!

Late that same night. Sam and Adele are in bed.

Adele: Sam, why were you shouting in Tom’s room?

Sam: Oh, nothing much. We just got into some heavy talk.

Adele: Like what?

Sam: Good night, Adele.

Adele: Sam, please don’t shut me out. This is important.

Sam; Adele, just forget it.

Adele: Sam, I am your wife. I can help.

Sam: Help, help with what. I don’t need your help Adele. Just go to sleep.

Adele: Why are you so upset?

Sam:  Why, I’ll tell you why. Your son – your son asked me about jacking-off.

Adele: What? What did you say?

Sam: Tom wanted to know how old I was when I first masturbated.

Adele: He did?

Sam: Yes he did. And did I ever use condoms.

Adele: I hope you told him that you did.

Sam: Listen Adele, if you want to talk to your son about your sexual acts, techniques, and equipment, go right ahead. I’m not!

Adele: Alright, calm down. Enough. Just relax.

Sam: O.K. Good night.

Adele: Good night Sam.

Several minutes later

Adele: Sam, are you up?

Sam: Barely.

Adele: Sam.

Sam: What?

Adele: How old were you when you first masturbated?

Fin……………………………