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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000126.txt from 1995/03

From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: prosthetic devices
Date: Sat, 4 Mar 1995 21:49:46 -0500

This story has nothing to do with clarinet playing but seeing the
several notes on this subject on this board has resulted in at least
a half-hour of woolgathering at a time when I can least afford it.

Back in the 1940s when I was a kid growing up in New Jersey, the subject
that was never, ever spoken of was sex. When the time came for some
kind of education on the subject, we were thrown into a coal cellar and
left to ponder on our evils until the urge left us. Or there were lots of
cold showers. At least if one were Catholic (which I was not), they
yelled at you a lot about it, but at least they spoke of it. Not my
family. No word every passed the lips of anyone I was related to on the
subject of s-e-x.

Well, in my hometown there was a store that sold crutches, wheelchairs,
braces, etc. In the window was a mannequin, naked except for a truss
that was, perhaps, shown to demonstrate the joys of having a hernia.
On the store's neon sign were the words, "Prosthetic and prophylactic

Having had no sex education at all (not quite true: my grandmother told
me never to marry a woman with thin lips and that was more than any of
my friends knew), I presumed that (a) a prophylatic device, such as
spoken about in the hernia store, must be what we whispered to be
a "rubber." WOW!!!. and (b) that a prosthetic device was synonymous
with a prophylactic device.

I thought that the mannequin in the window was to show one the evils
of sex, because the truss on him was enough to frighten a budding
teen ager into total asexuality. "You mean, if you think about sex,
they put one of those prosthetic devices on you? Well, if that's the
case, I am not going to think about sex.

So when I began to play the clarinet, my teacher suggested a prosthetic
device for me and I turned beet red. He asked me what was wrong and I
simply said that I would rather play the clarinet without one of the
things on. Even today, it is not clear to me if I thought he thought
of a truss which I would have to wear when playing clarinet, or else
if he was referring to the fact that I could not play clarinet without
a rubber on. You see, from my current state of sophisticated urbanity,
how clearly advanced I was about things. I thought you had to wear
a truss to play the clarinet, or that you could not play it well if you
did not first put on a condom.

The depth and complexity of this entire confusing passage in my
conscious memory defies description.

So you will understand why I am unable to participate in this
discussion. First, I know nothing about the subject. Second, it
embarrasses me. Third, I will simply not wear one of those things
when playing. And fourth, there are not any stores around with
naked models displaying those things any more so I would not know
where to buy one.

Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California

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