For example, I have a new book coming out on Thursday that I am absolutely convinced middle school boys are gonna love. (The ones who have read it already do as a matter of fact.)
It’s a comedy. About a middle-schooler. With erection-it is.
See, funny, right?
And universally applicable as well. This is not a red-state/blue state, tall kid/short kid, white kid/green kid, blonde or brown-haired kid issue. This is a factual coming-of-age tragedy as plotted by Mother Nature and amplified by the unstoppable force of hormones.
I’m merely a citizen reporter with this title, when you really think about it. And yet, my-oh-my, how I’m already starting to see how puberty polarizes.
A female author writing about a 12-year-old girl menstruating is saluted for bravely tackling a difficult issue with which all girls eventually have to deal. A male author who writes about the plague of unpredictable stiffies suddenly befalling him is pandering to the pottymouth crowd, deserving of being tarred and feathered.
Do I smell a double standard here?
See for me, it’s like Woody Allen once famously quipped (only half-seriously though): “Comedy is tragedy plus time.” (I really love that line.) In life’s rear-view mirror our worst nightmares often reveal themselves to be nothing more than shadows of issues quite incredibly overblown. And when disaster befalls someone else – this is a key ingredient to comedy, from Lucy working at the chocolate factory to Wile. E. Coyote being abused by Bugs to Larry, Moe and Curly twapping the crap out of one another – it’s entertaining to see other people get walloped by the slings and arrows of life.
And when an inadvertent erection befalls an ill-prepared middle school boy right in the middle of math class, lots of boys laugh really hard – in great part because they are thrilled that “at least it didn’t happen to me”.
BTW, I am not making this stuff up. Vampires mating with high school girls… that’s fiction. Having a pole in your pants that came out of nowhere for no good reason at all and won’t seem to vacate the premises no matter how hard you try to concentrate on baseball… this is me factually relating what happens across this nation every darn day of the week to half our student population.
Like I said, I don’t mean to be a rabble rouser but then again, I just can’t help it. Life is short and full of pain. But belly laughs make our limited journeys oh-so-worthwhile.
Here’s comes the funniest book you’ve ever read – or the one most deserving of a condescending, “He’s so immature.” The only thing I know about my new book is there’s not going to be much ambivalence.