Best of RAH96:
by Dave Bealer
Copyright © 1995 Dave Bealer, All Rights Reserved.
The Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Although the
Puritans, who called themselves Pilgrims in a vain attempt to conceal
their true motives, weren't the first to land in America, their
influence has been profound. This is rather unfortunate since the
Puritans are the most stuck-up, sexually repressed bunch of stiffs
ever to influence a country. The Puritans came to America to "escape
persecution" in Europe. In truth, the Europeans counted themselves
lucky to be rid of them.
Although no longer a recognized group like the Quakers or the
Amish, the Puritan influence is still felt every day. Individuals of
a puritanical nature are commonly found in positions involving thought
control, like television network censors, members of the Federal
Communications Commission, and moderators of online conferences. The
Puritans have been losing ground to the liberals for many years, but
still score the occasional victory.
Jocelyn Elders lost her job as Surgeon General of the United States
last year, primarily because she advocated having the schools
teach teenagers to masturbate. The Puritanical element of American
society had a major collective fecal seizure over this proposal. I
agree with those who vehemently oppose such an effort, but not on
moral grounds. I feel it would be a colossal waste of scarce
educational funds. Teaching teenagers to masturbate is about as
necessary as teaching them to breathe. On the other hand, there are
adults who would pay big money to see a video tape of the proposed
class, so it might make a good commercial venture. Get Roman Polanski
to direct it, and you're almost assured of a runaway hit, at least in
The Consumers Union is one of the most conservative groups in the
United States. A nonprofit organization, Consumers Union (CU) conducts
independent testing of the safety and reliability of hundreds of
consumer products. For more than 50 years Consumer Reports, the
monthly magazine published by CU, has carried test reports on everything
from new cars to lawn mowers to ice cream. A good example is the May 1995
issue, which features reports on running shoes, sun screens, mutual
funds, clothes dryers, upscale sedans, and condoms. Condoms?
It took the AIDS epidemic to overcome America's puritanical
aversion to publicly admitting the existence of condoms, the primary
male birth control method. The condom has moved from behind the
pharmacy counter to the check out aisle of many grocery stores. It
has changed from being an object of embarrassment and ridicule,
especially for teenagers, to being an "impulse purchase" item.
Although not an overt bastion of prudity, Consumer Reports figured
to be among the last places to report on sexual health and safety
devices. I, for one, would have wagered that Consumer Reports would
publish test results for automatic assault weapons before it would do
condoms. I don't know which "taboo item" will next be tested for
Consumer Reports, but I suddenly want to volunteer as a product
tester for Consumers Union. Just don't tell the Puritans.
Dave Bealer is a fifty-something mainframe systems programmer who
works with CICS, z/OS and all manner of nasty acronyms at one of the
largest heavy metal shops on the East Coast. He shares a waterfront
townhome in Pasadena, MD. with a cat who annoys him endlessly as he
assiduously avoids writing for and publishing Random Access Humor.
Dave can be reached via e-mail at:
Diagonally parked in a parallel universe.