A Penile Postscript

Hanging out with Jim Washburn

Photo by Lee Lee YuenI think I've written some good stuff over the years. "Pithy article on the drug war, Jim." "Way to go on the ocean-pollution piece, pal." "Washburn, you have captured in words what so many of us feel about the Sobakawa pillow. Thanks."

That's what I would like to have heard. Instead, it is always, "How's your dick?" "How's it swinging, buddy?" "Could I touch it, just for a minute, please?"

If I could pass on just one piece of advice to budding journalists, it would be: don't ever swing weights with your dick and write about it. The resultant length of engorged fire hose stuffed in your pants will overshadow anything else you might do. If Upton Sinclair had taken the Ki Cong course, no one would have ever noticed his exposés on monopolies and slaughterhouses. It's hellish. Just because my cock is now so huge that it has its own area code, should that preclude me from accomplishing anything else in life?

Few other white men in OC are yet so burdened. Not too long after I stopped attending classes there, Life & Time Health & Fitness shut its doors, and I lost touch with owner Lee Lee Yuen. It's sad. Lee Lee seemed so dedicated to sharing the benefits of her ancient traditional knowledge with Westerners, but some things are just a hard sell. Delicious though sushi is, it took decades to really catch on in the U.S., and if they'd asked you to hang raw fish from your dick instead of eat it, it probably never would have.

It is a scary and painful thing to hang weights from your "man root," and the martial-arts exercises necessary to build up to that are arduous. I certainly haven't kept up with them. Sure, I'd like a bigger wang, but not so much that I'm willing to work for it. And here's a curious finding that flies in the face of all this manly perfection business: the older and more decrepit I get, the more women like me. By the time I'm 70, I'll be getting more ass than Sean Connery--or at least more than he'll be getting when he's 95, then.

Why are we so obsessed with sex? We exalt it; we debase it. It powers much of our greatest art, and it's used to sell cars and toilet paper. Sex is power. Sex is the relinquishing of power.

Wilhelm Reich in his Orgone Theory posited that the root of human mental illness and imbalance lay in the inability to orgasm freely. He was specific about what he meant: it wasn't masturbatory orgasm he spoke of, but the kind you have with another, where it is a surrendering to a force beyond the sphere of your control.

(If Reich was right, isn't it curious that most of the antidepressants so freely prescribed now by doctors have the effect of suppressing the libido, making it all but impossible for those taking them to orgasm? In chemically suppressing patients' moods, are they also shut off from the path to freedom and mental health?)

So much of our concept of sex is caught up in relating it to power. In history, nations have built statues with big dicks on them. Invading nation's armies knock the big dicks off. Now we have phallus-shaped missiles and anti-missile systems. The nuclear escalatio of the Cold War was another dick-size standoff, with "potency" interestingly measured in the ability to destroy life rather than create it.

One hears that power is an aphrodisiac. Yet, in the notion of romantic love as it originated in Europe, love was a power that overruled worldly power. Marriages then were arranged in order to solidify a family's power base and fortune. Romantic love, the kind where souls joined, was forbidden, unsanctified love, rending the lines of power. Consider the ancient British ballad "Matty Groves," in which a lord's wife chooses a commoner over the lord and all his finery. Messy and bad for the social order, this was the kind of love the troubadours sang about, and that has endured in popular song.

The Ki Cong class was fascinating to me because it seemed to balance upon the conflicting notions of sex. The course's inducement was its promise of greater control and sexual power, yet its martial arts and meditative aspects promoted the free flow of ki--the life energy--through your body.

Power--at least as it functions on a social level--is all about containment, of persons amassing energy, goods and capital, damming up its flow to everyone else. In Asian traditional medicine, that damming up of energy in an organism is considered the very source of illness and imbalance, with acupuncture and other techniques aimed at restoring the flow of that blocked energy.

I don't have to make any great case that our social organism is diseased and out of balance: not as wealth continues to flow disproportionately to the wealthiest five percent in our country; not as part of that wealth is used to corrupt the political process; not when corporations continue to consolidate power so that one company often controls more than 70 percent of a city's radio stations, for example.

Such persons crave power because they are afraid of allowing an unguarded moment into their lives. Instead, they think they can tie everything up and have things go their constricted little way in perpetuity.

Power is boring. What we need is some social acupuncture.

By now, you might be wondering, "Jim, what does this have to do with your dick?"

Not much. Did I mention that it has its own area code? You wouldn't believe some of the calls it gets. Here comes one now:

"Hey, I'm a frisky college girl. Would you come lay some pipe between my legs?"

"Certainly not."

Back to my point: in a nation of antidepressant-doped, corporate, power-blinded fools, the one-eyed trouser snake is king--or at least should be, but not in the big-dicked statue sense, but rather in the Reichian sense, wherein we take a tip from Mr. Happy and Ms. Clit and learn to let go, to embrace the unknowable next moment. Now, if you'll pardon me, I have another call coming in.

--Jim Washburn
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