(Extended spoof, presented In 10 installments of 4 pages each. This is the second installment; previous ones are included on this site, in case you miss one.)
“They all seem impressively genuine in their intentions,” Dr. Coburn replied. “As young people are prone to do, they actually want to do their part to help save the world and now they see a practical way to proceed.”
“We shall see. But, even if you are able to inculcate your linguistic nonsense, how long do you expect they’ll abstain before their fulminating libidos overwhelm your flimsy barricades?”
“Until they are comfortably and safely married. I also assume that the most diligent students will continue to maintain a commendable degree of procreative moderation in wedlock.”
“Please, they’d all be much safer simply using condoms.”
“Condoms? Oh, don’t even mention the word. How unnatural, how risky, how”
” About waiting for time to reveal the answer?” she interrupted, and then, sighing, said, “Dear me, the greatest liability a bright person can have today is the lack of a solid scientific background. Your well-intentioned mind simply does not have the knowledge required to innovate credibly in the field you have chosen. It is infested with so many cobwebs you simply can’t extricate yourself from them.”
“Cobwebs to you, Prissy. Compassionate conservatism to me!”
“Yes, out with the new, in with the old! Let us champion antiquated ideas, trotted out as innovations. Luddites of the world, unite!”
“I admit it proudly! Antiquated ideas are my favorite kind. They have withstood the test of time and, therefore, their merit is self-evident.” Then he leaned forward and issued, what was to her, a particularly disheartening admonition. “Prepare yourself, Priscilla. The worldwide adoption of my method will actually make the need for your misguided educational programs and medical research superfluous.”
“Doctor Coburn, you are in the field in which you are dabbling a most ignorant, insensitive, and dangerous man.”
“Ignorant! Insensitive! And dangerous? Ah, now I know well the ridicule innovators have had to deal with from time immemorial. I can, at this juncture, even sympathize with the early plight of my arch-nemesis, Freud. What courage he had to persist against the Victorian tide. I shall borrow a page from him, however, not in terms of his erroneous unearthing of the sex drive, but in admirable doggedness.”
“Please, don’t confound yourself with Freud. Your approach is not only unrealistic; it’s the most cockamamie ”
” Dr. Ernst, if you please. One of my all-time least favorite words is ‘cockamamie.’ What a regrettable morass of mortifying associations.”
“Excuse me, Richard. Sometimes your prudery is revelatory. I shall simply call it runaway ignorance.” “I think I have now endured enough of the slings of professional jealousy. Do you think I don’t know the medical school is beside itself because this historic advance in sexual behavior-modification has come from the sociology department?”
“Not at all, Doctor. The truth, like it or not, is that at the medical school we must be entirely realistic every moment. Lives depend on the pragmatic orderliness of our procedures. Above all, we know we must deal with humanity as we find it fragile and excitable humanity. We also know that at this particular time in history, due to the plethora of unwanted pregnancies, burgeoning overpopulation, and widespread STDs, Mother Nature has us, like it or not, by the balls!”
“Shame on you, Priscilla! What language and for a woman of your distinction.”
“Oh, fiddlesticks! Would you be happier if I said it has us by the ovaries?”
“Don’t make light of the dire situation we find ourselves in. You have forgotten one very important aspect of my method. It is a new reality, not a method of contraception that has proved inadequate to our overheated desires or the gleam in a frantic researcher’s eye. No, no, mine is a pragmatic approach that is available for immediate implementation.”
“Oh, Dickie ”
” Priscilla, please. You know how I feel about that alternate appellation.”
“Yes, dear,” she replied with a trace of sympathy. “Sorry.”
“Calling you ‘dear.'”
“Oh. I didn’t notice.”
“Of course,” she said, resigning herself to his hurtful indifference and moving forward with her argument. “But somewhere beneath your self-assured surface, certainly you suspect the eternal inclinations of man and woman. How can you possibly think that your so-called method can moderate the tidal wave of sexual desire that sweeps through the world at every moment? How can it restrain the young, whose entire physical being throbs with sexual eagerness? Or the poor, who have precious few other pleasures? Or the wealthy, who perpetually court indulgence?”
“My dear Dr. Ernst, what you obviously fail to understand is that I don’t merely ask people just to say no to sex. I provide, in a series of one hundred compelling and self-evidently true axioms the resources the human will requires to be victorious axioms that will one day no doubt be viewed as the Euclidean geometry of sexual resistance.”
“Sorry, I remain unimpressed.”
“Why? Because you’ve been dethroned. While you and your realistic colleagues have trusted to sexual propriety in the heat of desire and the far horizon of medical research, I have had the insight to see the gold at my feet.”
“Fool’s gold, I’m afraid!”
“On the contrary, a solid gold chain every link of which consists of irrefutable logic a step-by-step approach in which every statement follows the other as relentlessly as one moment follows its antecedent! Take, for example, Coburn’s First Axiom of Abstinence. I dare you to find a flaw in it,” he challenged, and took the book from the coffee table. He opened it and held it toward her, as he recited, ‘Sex leads to pregnancy. Pregnancy leads to overpopulation. Therefore, sex must be avoided.’ Argue with that, if you dare!”
“Richard, the argument is not with your self-evident nonsense but with your hopes for compliance. How on earth do you expect such a flimsy train of premises and conclusions to compel the world’s billions to adhere to sexual abstinence?”
“Mock me if you must, Priscilla! Nevertheless, my hopes are being confirmed as more and more conscientious students sign up for my truly enlightened method.”
“To learn what? To say no to sex, despite every natural proclivity and temptation, say no despite drunkenness or drugs? Sorry, Richard. I much prefer condoms to Coburn.”
“Oh, Dr. Ernst, the effrontery even to mention my name in apposition to that sine qua non of imperfect prophylaxis.”
At that moment, the doorbell rang. Doctor Coburn looked at his watch. “Ah, ha,” he announced, “that must be my new star applicant, Dan Fox.”
“Fox? He wants to sign up?” “Correct. He called to apply right before you arrived. Naturally, I invited him to come over right away, lest the legendary stud have second thoughts.”
“I can’t believe his interest is at all genuine.”
“Then it’s a fine fortuity that he has arrived while you’re still here.”
“If by some chance you are able to exert even modest restraints on him, how many young girls’ hopes you’ll shatter. It’s preposterous to think you can control him, given the number of girls who’d tear their own clothes off to hop into the sack with him.”
Just then Melanie entered the room, and said, “Didn’t I hear the doorbell ring?”
“Yes, dear. I think it’s Dan Fox.”
Melanie seemed unusually upset. “Dan Fox? What’s he doing here?”
“He wants to enroll in my course.”
“Daddy, come on. He’s the last guy in the world ”
” Now, now, Mel, don’t prejudge him.” He noticed her hesitation. “Please, just get the door.”
“Sure,” she consented, with a bit of teeth grinding.
He stood proudly while Melanie walked there.
She took a deep breath and pulled it open. “What are you doing here?” she asked the handsome athlete.
“Hi, Melanie,” he replied. “I want to sign up for you dad’s course.”
“Sure, you do,” she said, indicating she suspected him of harboring an unspoken motive.
“Let him in, Mel,” Doctor Coburn called.
“All right,” she agreed, and stood aside.
“Thanks,” he told her.
“Dan, my boy, come right in,” Coburn called.
“Thank you!” he replied, with as much transparent enthusiasm as he could muster.
Melanie closed the door and observed as her father put out his hand.
“Glad to be here,” he said, glancing at the skeptical observer beside his new-found mentor. “You know Dr. Ernst?” Coburn asked.
“Yes, I do,” Dan said. “Hi, Dr. Ernst.”
“Hello, Mr. Fox,” she replied distantly.
“I’m delighted you made the big decision to study with me, Dan,” Dr. Coburn said.
“Thanks,” he replied. “I’m convinced it’s the responsible thing to do I mean, with all the problems sex can cause.”
“Good, Dan!” Dr. Coburn exclaimed. “I see that, besides brawn, you’ve got brains.”
“Thank you, sir. My ideal is, like the ancient Greeks said, ‘a sound mind in a sound body.'”
“In a very sound body,” Dr. Ernst commented. “The girls tell me you’re quite irresistible.”
“Thanks. But it’s not my fault. I was born this way.”
“But you can rise above it, I assure you,” Dr. Coburn advised him.
“That’s my goal,” Dan said. “I need to save my energy for football.”
“Tell me, Dan,” Dr. Ernst inquired, “what makes you believe Doctor Coburn’s method can work for you? Have you read his new book?”
“Not yet,” Dan admitted, “but I’ve heard a lot about it. From what I can tell, it appeals to the mind and I like that. Mind over body the same thing you need in the fourth quarter when you’re behind and you have to do a lot more than you think you can.”
Dr. Coburn turned to Dr. Ernst, and told her, “I have great faith in this young man.” Then he eyed Dan critically. “My hope is that you’ll become one of my star pupils.”
Somehow, this comment cut Melanie to the quick, and she said, “Dad, I need to speak with you.”
“Later, dear. In the meantime, please, escort Mr. Fox to my study and get him signed up.”
She looked at Dan with condescension. “I cannot believe this! Come on.”
“Thanks, Melanie,” he said, and followed her.
“What do you think?” Dr. Coburn asked.
“Me? Oh, I also have great faith in him,” she replied wryly. “Did you notice the way he looked at your daughter?”
“No, I didn’t. It all seemed rather usual to me.”
“Really?” she asked. “And why do you think Melanie seemed so uneasy? Could she by any chance be infatuated with him?”
“Mel? Oh, please, she’s far too well trained for such an indiscretion.”
“Richard, sometimes you are a blind ass. Fox obviously has something on his mind other than learning how to say no to sex.”
“You suspect he’s only here because he’s interested in Melanie? Little Melanie, with all the voluptuous women who are at his beck and call?”
“I have a proposition.”
“You mean, a proposal?”
“Whatever. You teach him your method as best you can. Then you arrange for him and Melanie to be alone for an evening.”
“Yes, and Melanie must be given instructions that she is to try every wile she can manage to break down his willpower. If he maintains his indifference to her advances, I will leave you to proselytize as extensively as you can. On the other hand, if by some chance he cannot resist her charms and succumbs, you will admit defeat and cease to promulgate your method.”
“But poor Melanie to subject her to such an excruciating experience.”
“Don’t tell me you suspect she might be in any sort of danger? Richard, if your method is half as good as you say it is, she’ll be faced with an insurmountable, and therefore an entirely risk-free, task.”
“But to ask her to do something so contrary to her lifelong training”
“Yes, but think of the possible benefits if you succeed with Dan. Your triumph will resonate throughout the campus. I’ll withdraw all my objections and recommend that the medical school withdraw its. Then you’ll have a free hand on campus and on to the welcoming arms of a desperate world!”
“Do you I have your word on that?”
“Absolutely. Now, how long do you need to indoctrinate Mr. Fox?”
“That depends on how much time he’s willing to give me. But in no event will I require more than one month.”
“Then you’ve got a deal,” she said, and put out her hand.
“Deal, Priscilla!” he affirmed, and gave her hand a hearty shake. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.”
“My pleasure, Richard.”
“Don’t forget your gift,” he told her, and picked up the autographed copy of his book from the coffee table.
She accepted it.
As he walked her to the door, she said, “Good luck. You’ll need it.”
“Thank you, Priscilla,” he replied, “but not nearly as much luck as you’ll need.”
She gave him a peck on the cheek, and his face flushed to a degree that slightly embarrassed him. “Till then,” she said, and went out the door.
End of Second Installment