Shell Shocked: The birds and the bees
A dad is squirming and sweating. He has dreaded this moment for a long time but knew that someday he’d have to deal with it. His son is seated across the kitchen table also squirming and sweating. He doesn’t exactly know why his dad said the two of them needed to have a heart-to-heart talk. He thought it might be about his habit of drinking prune juice straight from the bottle. Or the Lady Gaga photos on the walls of his room.
Dad: Son, I’ve put this discussion off for a long time but seeing how fast you’re growing, I think it’s time. Today we’re going to talk about the birds and the bees.
Son: Wow, am I relieved. I thought I had done something wrong and was about to be scolded.
Dad: Not at all, son. You’ve been a good boy lately. A father couldn’t ask for more. You’ve done all your chores around the house including removing termites one by one. You’ve listened to your mom when she told you that your acne will eventually go away. And you’ve driven your 1938 Packard safely. No complaints. But you’re at a point in your life where certain hormones are beginning to rage, so I thought we should have a little talk. Son, are you familiar with the birds and the bees?
Son: Sure, I am, dad. Isn’t everyone? Birds fly and bees sting.
Dad: Exactly, son. But when someone brings up birds and bees, do you know what they’re referring to?
Son: Sure, dad. Birds are hatched in nests and bees fly around flowers. But I don’t think birds and bees pal around together though. But, dad, as long as we’re on the subject of nature, are we also going to talk about manatees and sea turtles?
Dad: (The squirming begins to turn into tremors.) Not exactly, son. You see, birds and bees are terms used to talk about how babies are made.
Son: Dad, how did we go from birds and bees to babies? I know all about how babies are made. I don’t need any pointers or primers. My friends and I talk about sex all the time. I thought all boys my age do.
Dad: You really talk about sex? How could you possibly know about sex at your age?
Son: Gee, dad, our baseball coach keeps telling us that if we ever want to succeed we need to do our drills.
Dad: What drills?
Son: Catching pop ups, dad. He has each of us catching twenty pop ups each workout.
Dad: What does catching pop ups have to do with sex?
Son: The coach tells us to think like a bird when we’re settling under the pop ups. He says that catching a ball is like a bird catching a worm in the air.
Son: Well, dad, you said that sex was like the birds and the bees. If the coach has us catching balls like a bird catches worms, isn’t that about sex too?
Dad: Son, you lost me somewhere under one of those pop ups. What does catching a pop up have to do with sex?
Son: Birds and bees, dad. Birds and bees.
Dad: This is going to be more difficult than I thought. Son, forget about birds, bees and pop ups. Let’s start all over. Just tell me what you know about sex.
Son: Sex is what a boy and girl do when they’re out at a movie together.
Dad: Can you explain that, son?
Son: Well, they sit next to each other and share popcorn.
Son: That’s it.
Dad: And that’s sex?
Son: Yeah. Sex is sharing things.
Dad: So if you’re passing the gravy at dinner is that sex?
Son: Not exactly, dad. Sex is more like passing the ketchup.
Dad: Are you playing with my head, son?
Son: No, dad. But I really need to leave now. I have a pop-up catching drill later. Can we have this conversation another time?
Dad: Sure, son. Go catch those balls. This can wait. But don’t you think at the age of 26 with a wife and a kid that you should be doing something else besides catching pop ups?
Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.