22 March 2006
Handle with care
After a sudden upsurge, as it were, of books about What It Means To Be A Man, comes a pointed question from Aldahlia:
Do you really think being in posession of a penis requires a user's manual?
Heh-heh. She said "manual."
Actually, the best treatment I've ever seen of this exact question came from author Catharine Lumby. In a short story Lumby contributed to Fiona Giles' anthology Dick for a Day, in which a number of women were asked what they would do with such a thing for twenty-four hours, journalist Rose Sélavy orders a dingus via FedEx to try out for herself, and the following instructions accompany the organ:
Standard Heterosexual Model (U.S. Patent No. 6,945,776)
Patriarchal Privileges Fully Included
One Size Fits All
Please read this booklet carefully to familiarize yourself with the operation of your Penis and with the Limited Warranty.
WARNING: Please note that the consumption of alcoholic beverages may seriously impair the performance of your Penis. Phallocraft Incorporated bears no responsibility for psychological damage to the wearer resulting from malfunctions.
Rose didn't think much of the booklet:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Rose flipped the page and skimmed the rest of the laborious text. Jesus. They made it sound like you needed a Ph.D. in biology to operate something half the idiots on the planet were wandering around with. Trust male engineers to make the male organ sound more complicated than it was.
And in truth, it's that very simplicity that proves to be Rose's undoing.
Incidentally, U.S. Patent No. 6,945,776 had yet to be issued when Lumby wrote her story; the number has since been applied, to a method, and an accompanying skid member, to restrain heat transfer from hot material to a skid coolant pipe and introduce hot gas within the reheating furnace into the skid member to compensate for heat loss in an upper portion of the skid member.
The precise relevance of this invention to the dangly segment of the male anatomy is left as an exercise for the student.