(Extended spoof, presented In 10 installments of 4 pages each. This is the third installment; previous ones are available on this site and presented below each new installment at NewsLaugh, in case you miss one or more.)
He closed it, thought for a moment, and recomposed himself. Then he walked to the bookshelf, took down another copy of his work, autographed it, and headed for the den with it.
“All signed up?” he asked.
“Yes, sir,” Dan replied. “She took care of everything. Even gave me a copy of your book.”
“Good,” he said. “But I have a special inspiration for you.” He held out the copy of the book he had signed. “An autographed copy.”
“Gee, thanks, Doctor Coburn,” Dan said, and took it. He read the inscription aloud. "’To Dan Fox: I know you can do it, kid. Abstinently yours, Dr. Coburn.’ “Wow, dynamite!” Dan exclaimed. “I really appreciate this.”
“My pleasure,” Doctor Coburn told him. “In the beginning, you and I will work one on one. Got it?”
“Yes, sir. Sounds great.” “Good. Then, as you make progress, Melanie can lend a hand.”
“But, Daddy!” she objected.
“Please, dear. You’re my most accomplished pupil and, due to the volume of students I expect, I need an assistant. Are you OK with that?”
“I suppose,” she conceded.
“Good.” He turned his attention back to Dan. “Now, let's get started.”
“I’m ready,” his new student said.
“Can I leave now?” Melanie asked.
“Of course, dear. Dan and I need to spend a lot of time together.”
“Have fun,” she told the star athlete, and then she walked out with a bit more swagger in her hips than she usually allowed herself.
Dr. Coburn turned to Dan. “During the first week, you’ll require almost total immersion.”
“Let’s go for it.”
He looked sternly at Dan. “Don't mind if I get ‘sexplicit,’ do you?”
“I guess you have to,” his willing acolyte replied.
“That’s exactly right. If we don't take the bull by the balls, we can’t hope to wrestle it to the ground. Have a seat.”
He indicated the couch and Dan plopped down.
“First things first. You must understand the transcendent importance of the lifestyle adjustment you’re about to commit to. Question: why must you learn how to say no to sex? Think before you answer.”
“Well, sir – “ Dan pondered with indecision.
“– I'll tell you why. Because, my son, you carry within your loins the potential destruction of the human race."
“Of course. Therein lie the sperm that can continue to overpopulate the world and the compulsions that could lead you to become infected with the AIDS virus or another STD. Get my meaning?”
“Yes, sir. But can I say something?”
“Go right ahead.”
“I practice safe sex.”
“My boy, you can practice all you want. But you'll never perfect it. There is no such thing as safe sex. It is, in fact, an outright contradiction in terms.”
“I mean, I use condoms,” Dan told him.
“Not safe by any stretch of the imagination! The only safe thing to do is, as the saying goes, to keep your pecker in your pants. Got it?”
“Yes, sir. But can I say something else?”
“What?” Doctor Coburn asked.
“I don't call it names like that.”
“What don’t you call names like what?”
"My pecker. I guess I just have too much respect for it.”
“Oh. Well, then, what do you call it?”
“My love maker,” Dan confided.
“Really? Where did you learn to call it that?”
“Well, I thought about it for a long time and what I use it for. The name came to me and just stuck.”
“I see. Well, it’s irrelevant. Call it whatever you want to. Just remember: the goal is to keep it in your pants. OK?”
“Excellent. Now, let's move on. When I say the word ‘sex,’ tell me what you think of.”
“You really want to know?” Dan asked.
“I think of women.”
“Ah, ha! And there we have it. The very root of the problem – and the fundamental association we must redefine.”
“What am I supposed to think of?”
“I'll demonstrate.” He walked to the door and called, “Melanie, can you come in here for a moment?”
He headed back to Dan. “I think you’ll find this demonstration helpful.”
Melanie poked her head in, a bit uneasily. “What is it, Daddy?”
“I want to demonstrate something for Mr. Fox. When I say the word ‘sex,’ what do you think of?”
"Very good. And if that fails to take your mind completely off the usual meaning of the word, what do you think of as a reinforcement?”
“Excellent, Mel.” He turned to Dan. “See how the method works? Soon, you'll think like that, too.”
“I can't wait.” He looked at her. “How do you do it, Melanie?”
“Daddy will explain.”
“Pure sound association,” he informed Dan, and went on with great fervor. “Once you’ve been properly trained, the word ‘sex’ will key off the word ‘Rex’ or the syllable ‘Tex.’”
“You mean, like ‘sex-Tex?’”
“Exactly! And that counter-association will, of course, immediately distract you from thinking about the word ‘sex.’ Notice also that there is no equally resonant association in the potentially disastrous conjunction of ‘sex-woman.’ Or, in Melanie's case, for the conjunction of ‘sex-man?’”
“’Sex-man?’" Dan queried, glancing at Melanie.
“Right,” Dr. Coburn assured him. And, since the sound association of ‘sex-Tex’ is much more resonant, she has virtually nothing to worry about.”
“Oh, I see,” Dan said, catching on. “Sex-Rex, sex-Tex. Hey, it works for me.”
“Great, Dan.” Dr. Coburn turned to Melanie. “See how quickly he’s catching on?”
“Oh, he’s really brilliant,” she slightly scoffed.
“But, doctor, what happens if someone goes on and on, really trying to break down your resistance?” Dan wanted to know. “Do you just keep saying the same two things to yourself?”
“As long as your willpower remains unassailable. The moment you feel that your resistance may be weakening, you must turn to your tertiary line of defense.”
“You mean, like ‘sex-Mex?’”
“Precisely. That is, in those very rare situations where you may require more than Tyrannosaurus Rex and Texaco. Got it?”
“Good. Now, once you've got these interruptive associations working, you can resist nearly any activity that the word ‘sex’ keys off.”
“Yes. Permit me to explain why. It’s a matter of having the enemy outnumbered. Here’s this person, making every effort to seduce you, but what does she have to work with in this elemental area of sound disassociation? One word: sex. Meanwhile, what do you have to work with? Three words. You’ve got her outnumbered three to one. So how can she defeat you?”
“Say, that's good,” Dan admitted, and looked at Melanie out of the corner of his eye. “So let me get this straight. A girl says to me, ‘Let's have sex.’ And I think –“
“– Come on, come on, you can do it, kid!”
“Right! And then, if she persists?”
“I switch to ‘Texaco.’"
“Extraordinary. And then, should the occasion arise?”
“I pull out Mexico!”
“Come on! Come on!”
“You switch back and forth between the words, creating an impenetrable array of counter-associations, until finally the temptress abandons all hope.”
“Great! I've got it now! ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex! Texaco! Mexico! Tyrannosaurus Rex! Texaco! Mexico!’ And so forth."
“Perfect, Dan. You’ll have my course knocked in no time. Right, Mel?”
“I'm overwhelmed,” she said.
“So am I,” Dan admitted. “Gee, I never thought learning how to say no could be so easy.”
“Stick with me, son. We’ve only just begun your no-sex education.”
“Daddy, can I speak with you a minute?” Melanie asked.
“Of course, dear.”
“Excuse me a moment, Dan.”
He followed Melanie out of the den, while Dan stretched out on the couch, beaming with a curiously triumphant smile.
“Daddy,” Melanie told her father, “he's not sincere at all.”
“What on earth do you mean, Mel?”
“I didn’t want to tell you this, but he's been chasing me all year.”
“Yes. I think it’s all about his ego. He wants to prove he can get me to have Tyrannosaurus Rex.”
“Really? Glad you told me, dear. Now, don’t you worry your pretty little head. Soon, he'll be a changed man, and he won’t care a hoot about seducing you. I promise.”
“If you say so,” Melanie said, with what perhaps might be described as marginal conviction.
“Leave it to me, dear. Soon, he’ll be about as interested in sex as a castrated lion.”
“Can I leave now? I have to continue with my own studies.”
“Run right along, dear.”
She headed up the stairs, and Dr. Coburn returned to his study.
“Anything wrong?” Dan asked.
“The craziest thing. She doesn't think you're sincere.”
“Really? What makes her think that?”
“She says you’ve been pursuing her?” Dr. Coburn dared to give voice to.
“Really? Where did she ever get an idea like that?”
“Then it’s not true?”
“No way. I’d never try to do anything with her. I have too much respect for her and for your method. That’s why I’m here.”
“Spoken like a true gentleman. Now, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. So let's keep going.”
“Go for it,” Dan encouraged him.
End Of Third Installment