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Imminent CollapseA Hard Subject to Talk About

By Bill Andrews

I don’t know if I can get away with this. We never really discussed what I could or couldn’t write about when I signed on with The Tech, so we’ll see. But, honestly, I’ll try to be serious (as always) and not just bring things up for the sake of vulgarity or cheekiness; you can be cocksure of that. You see, my problem, as of late, is that I have been seeing entirely too much penis.

A few words of legal explanations: I am not homophobic. I have absolutely nothing against gay people, or think the penis is a horrible sight; not at all! In fact, it can spruce up any dull relationship. And if you happen to enjoy seeing penises (sadly, spelll check says that one of my favorite words, penii, is incorrect) then good for you; maybe you should pay particular attention to my words, so you can follow in my footsteps.

For me, though, there is a definite line separating normal penis-sightings from entirely too many, and that line has been crossed. For any scoffers and naysayers among you who think I am making a mountain out of a molehill, let me clarify that this is entirely real-life, up-close and personal penis that I’ve been witnessing. Looking at porn is one thing, as I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, but to see such things, only inches away, is quite the thrill. And I mean thrill in a bad way, as in “It would be thrilling to meet Michael Jackson” (I’m sorry for bringing up Michael Jackson in a column about penises).

Why has this been happening? Have I been going to bad places, where a little penis is to be expected every now and then? Or, more grandly, have I been involved in immoral activities, for which I must now be penitent? Broken some obscure penal code? No! The sightings are a direct result of trying to live a better life, of doing something for myself and, in the end, of being a better person: I have started exercising. Despite years of previous experiences with exercise (hoping the answer was in the back of the book), I was unprepared for the consequences of my new activities. As is all too often the case in life, I was suckered in; with sweet talk of losing weight and looking and feeling good, how could one refuse? Never was there even so much as a hint of penis, even after reading the fine print.

But what does penis have to do with exercise, you might be asking yourself? If so, I suspect your upbringing was similar to mine, and locker rooms were a place not for nudity, but merely changing clothes for P.E. Sure, you stayed a bit smelly after class, but it was only for a semester or two and you sure weren’t gonna strip down to the buff in front of other people right; certainly not people you actually know. “Hit the showers” was nothing more than an idiom, like “this book weighs a ton” or “I’m going to kill you.” In fact, even if we’d wanted to shower, we were too afraid the spiders that had built elaborate networks of webs around the drains would catch and torture us, possibly with forced nudity. Well my friends, I’m afraid I have some possibly upsetting news: things are different here.

I thought I had prepared for my trip to the Z-Center pool; I’d brought my swimsuit, goggles, towel, and flip-flops. Little did I know I should have packed some penis block. As soon as I walked into the locker room a naked dude just mosies on over right by me. I moved around, hoping to find a more private area, currently penis-free, but found none. I was shocked at how casually penis was laying about, seemingly everywhere. Finally, I just picked a spot and changed, very quickly, and while facing the wall. After swimming I came back, took a quick shower, dried myself off, changed again, and left, all in the space of maybe three minutes. But that’s not even the hard part, if you will excuse the expression.

I find it difficult not to look right at them. Some primal instinct tells me I’m being watched, like when you’re in the forest and can sense when someone — or something — is looking at you; I can feel them, the penises, staring at me with their beady little eyes, and it’s all I can do not to reciprocate. (I would not be confident writing this, by the way, if I did not have a girlfriend). It’s not that I want to look, I know it’s an invasion of privacy, and I certainly don’t want someone looking at mine, but it’s an urge with which I am so rarely confronted that I have some trouble suppressing it.

So what can I do? Nothing. I like swimming so much that even a few penises won’t stop me. Also, I like to think I am getting better at suppressing my stares, which should cut down on how much I see. But is it enough? Can I ever truly feel at peace with everyone else’s staring me down? We shall see. But hopefully without seeing too much.