The Wizard of Oz: ”Child, you’re talking to a man who’s laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom, and chuckled at catastrophe… I was petrified.”
I’m going to talk about sex but first I have to mention the Wizard of Oz. What do these two things have to do with each other, you ask? I’m not sure but every decent writer uses at least one clever literary device like metaphors, so Oz is as good a symbol and imaginary place as any to allude to when it comes to sex education and human sexuality. Both involve elaborate and unrealistic fantasies for one thing. Also, there is something compelling if not compulsive about both topics. People are literally obsessed with sex and similarly are pretty darn crazy about the Wizard of Oz. That is unless it’s being shown at the same exact time as the World Series or America’s Got Talent. I admit if it was a competition like the World Series, sex would generally win, except for certain exceptionally superstitious and/or die-hard Yankee fans who would abstain from sex indefinitely if it could be proven to lead to another baseball title. In contrast, Chicago Cub fans, while ever loyal, would easily choose sex (or barbecue ribs) over baseball, mostly because they are used to losing.
Why do people love the Wizard of Oz? I sometimes wonder why this particular fantasy and cultural preoccupation? Is it the tradition and nostalgia of seeing it on TV year after year? Is it the rush of watching the movie “morph” into dazzling cinematic Technicolor from its drab homespun opening scenes? Or, could it be some hidden subconscious desire to see shockingly odd marginalized members of society take a bouncy road trip together way way before there was Jersey Shore, AAA, Mapquest, iPhones and GPS technology? Of course its no big surprise they get lost and freaked out multiple times. They had no clue where they were really going and were too naive to consider asking Glenda, the Mayor of the Munchkins, or any relatively sane person for a clear map or written directions. They did have pens and paper back then.
Actually, if you think about it they must have been downright delusional and out of their minds to even consider it would be a cakewalk to just “follow the yellow brick road”. What kind of half-assed adult guidance is that? I’m not even factoring in the additive effects of wandering through a poppy field full of opium laden flowers, let alone blindly trusting the advise of a so called “good” witch who was clearly high on something herself (and harboring some rather serious sibling rivalry issues).
Well, sex and life itself is a bit like that. We really dont know what we are getting into, we lack concrete information, and the future is highly uncertain. Many of us get into all kinds of trouble, encounter multiple obstacles and, looking back on it, the journey itself seems to be the very best part. It’s easy to get nostalgic…if it wasn’t so embarrassing. Let’s face it, much of the “advise” and “reliable information” we get growing up about sex is half-baked if not completely wrong. Like Dorothy (in relation to the Land of Oz), what we are told about sex is often riddled with exaggeration, mis-information, myths based on our childhood fears and teenaged expectations. On the way we eventually learn what is realistic and perhaps even most important in life.
Still, there is something to be said for being willing to share our silly assumptions and cockeyed childhood memories. Sexually and psychologically we all start out dumb as doorknobs (rather than blank slates) but nevertheless skip down the road of life with equal parts optimism and obliviousness. Some of us, as the Wizard finally admits to Dorothy are “petrified”, but go ahead and do it anyway. Thus, especially when it comes to our sex lives and the base knowledge required, we naturally tend to believe what we hear and are told by others, no matter how non-credible the source. We even, at times, accept the unimaginable or the wretchedly weird like trees that talk and monkeys that fly. All together that makes for some pretty tall tales and goofy stories about sex to tell around the collective campfire.
Maybe the Wizard of Oz is just a wild fantasy dreamed up by a delusional farm girl in Kansas. Or maybe its one of those life lessons about personal journeys, like learning what is true and real from what is initially a mistaken reality and topsy turvy set of beliefs. Either way it makes for a highly imaginative and entertaining tapestry of other peoples screw-ups. I think they call that a “fail” today. What were some of your sex related “fails” growing up?
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