by Shanyn Wright
When I lost my virginity, I had written my mom a letter. Then I threw it away. I remember apologizing in it, saying that I meant to save myself for marriage, but let’s be real, y’know? I also told her that I loved her very much, and that I hoped we could be able to talk about these personal things so openly one day.
Whenever I have a daughter, I will make it clear that I want to have open communication about everything – especially sex, because I’m pretty sure that by the time she’s fifteen, all her friends will have had their first baby. Before I grow old and forget about what I wish to accomplish as a mother, I have written a letter to my future lady-baby which is as follows:
Firstly, I want you to know that I’m always here for you whenever you want to talk, unless I’m watching Golden Girls. That show was awesome then, awesome now, and it’ll still be awesome in fifty years. Blanche is one of my favorite characters, which brings me to my next point; sex. Have you had it? Do you want it? It’s a normal human event, really. When a responsible woman meets a responsible man, they get together, feel each-other up, and the next thing you know – you’re lying there naked with a stain on the sheets and a craving for tacos. This is completely natural. Should you decide to have sex, just remember a few important things: don’t be ashamed to use a condom, ask him for a copy of his medical records to ensure he is clean, consider grounds keeping in “that area” beforehand, and it’s okay to use lubricant. Trust me, if you think you’ll need it – you will. I know that it can be embarrassing, especially if you’re under forty, but you’ll thank me later.
Some boys will want to use you for sex, I can’t steer you away from these – you may inevitably make the choice to fall victim to their ways. If this happens, just make sure you didn’t send graphic photos of yourself to them, because if you did – guarantee his friends have seen you naked and if/when it circulates, girls may call you a slut. That’s okay though, cause they’re probably sluts too.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming you can’t catch a disease, that’s exactly how you get one. If you happen to be diagnosed with something, let me know, and we’ll get through it together. Anyway, there’s a crap load of treatments for that stuff now, so you should be okay. Unless you get HIV, then I don’t know. Just don’t get HIV, then. If it turns out that you’re gay, don’t worry, I don’t care which gender you’re into – I’ll love you all the same. I may have questions for you though, like, how does it work? Y’know, like, what goes where? I bet it’s nice cause girls always smell good. Do you brush each others hair? Being gay sounds fun, now that I think about it.
In any case, there are a million scenarios when it comes (ewwww) to sex. I just want you to know that I am available for any questions, comments, or concerns you may have about it all. I may not be the person you prefer to talk to about this stuff, but just know I’m here – because being educated on it is very important, and it’s all your choice from there.
P.S: I hear role-playing is nice, too.
“An Essay from the Asylum”
by Jeremy Counseller
My closest childhood friend is insane. That’s the bad news. The good news is he has never been happier. He’s finally powerful and important, at least in his own delusions.
He will answer only to his codename—The Doctor. The Doctor believes he is the Senior Analyst in a CIA think tank. The truth: he’s a patient in an insane asylum.
He spends all his time watching television shows, and he believes they are real. They are the raw intelligence data gathered by mosquito-sized CIA spy drones. The Doctor’s job is to analyze this intelligence, draft written reports, and file them in memo format with his CIA handler.
That’s where I come into the picture. I missed my friend, and it quickly became clear that, in order to be a part of his life, I had to be a part of his delusion. So, I told him I was also a member of the CIA and that I had been assigned to serve as his handler. My codename is The Counseller.
Since then, he has filed hundreds of reports with me via email analyzing television shows he believes are actually covert CIA operations or “projects,” as he calls them. He’s reported on everything from Project Breaking Bad and The Wire Project to Project Downton Abbey and The Newsroom Project. We communicate by email, and he seems to enjoy it when I play the role of hard ass boss.
I have wonderful childhood memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons with the Doctor, which is why I’m particularly fond of this recent exchange between the Doctor and me.
* * * * * * * * *
To: The Counseller
From: The Doctor
Subject: Cost-Cutting Measures for Project Super Friends
I am providing you this report on Project Super Friends. My understanding is that Project Super Friends is one of our oldest active operations. In fact, my files are from the 1970s, back when the mosquito drones made the footage look like a cartoon.
Despite its age, or perhaps because of it, Project Super Friends is in desperate need of cost-cutting. We now live in the Age of Austerity. Unemployment is above 8%, growth is stagnant, and the national debt may be the single greatest threat to the future of this country. Meanwhile, the federal government is spending money on the Super Friends like there’s no tomorrow.
I’m not in favor of disbanding the Super Friends, as I’ve heard others suggest. I’ve lost count of how many times the Super Friends have saved the world. But I believe we can, with targeted cuts to their budget, save taxpayers significant money while at the same time preserving the Super Friends as an effective force for good. Below are the action steps I believe we should take.
1. Sell the Hall of Justice
We should sell the headquarters of the Super Friends. It’s a radical step, I know, but hear me out. The Super Friends do not require a marble palace with a reflection pool and a massive golden sculpture right smack in the middle of mid-town Metropolis in order to protect the world. Plus, we’d make a whole pile of money if we sold it.
Real estate prices in Metropolis remain quite strong, despite the economic downturn, and I estimate that sale of the Hall could net the government at least $100 million. If the golden sculpture in the reflecting pool were solid gold, I would adjust my estimate up to $125 million. My first estimate assumes a golden veneer.
Not only do we make money on the sale, we get out from underneath the cost of upkeep and repairs on the place. I’m not privy to the exact figures, but I imagine the Wonder Twins alone bust the repair budget. How many times have we had to replace that giant computer in the main hall because one of the twins turns into a rampaging purple rhino or decides now’s the time to morph into a tidal wave?
I acknowledge that selling the Hall of Justice may result in a public outcry. I can just hear it. How can the Super Friends protect us from the League of Doom when they have no place to meet and discuss strategy? Fine, they need a place to strategize, but why put a target for the Legion right in the middle of Metropolis.
Of course, you and I know what the public doesn’t. Each of the Super Friends already has his or her own private headquarters. Is it too much to ask Superman to let everybody meet at the Fortress of Solitude? Lord knows it’s big enough. Batman can’t invite everybody over to the Bat Cave? They are supposed to be the Super Friends, right? Not the Super Mercenaries, willing to thwart the plans of Lex Luthor, Brainiac, and Sinestro, but only if we give them a cool place to hang out.
I recommend we endure the public outcry and pocket the cash.
2. Mothball the Invisible Jet
Operation of Wonder Woman’s invisible jet costs taxpayers $25,000 per flight hour. And here’s the most infuriating part. More recent intelligence makes clear that Wonder Woman can fly! Taxpayers have spent millions on a jet for a woman who can fly! That’s big government at its absolute worst.
There are two obvious objections to mothballing the invisible jet. I’ll deal with each in turn. First, the Invisible Jet provides the Super Friends with the ability to approach targets unseen. Nothing could be further from the truth because, while the plane is invisible, you can see Wonder Woman plain as day sitting in the cockpit.
The second obvious objection is that the Invisible Jet provides transport for those Super Friends who lack the power of flight. I have two responses. First, they can ride in the Bat Plane. For reasons you know and are unimportant to this report, Batman takes no public funding to maintain his fleet. Second, if the Bat Plane lacks adequate seating for all flightless Friends on a mission, I’m sure Superman would be more than happy to carry the extra Friends.
3. Fire Aquaman and the Flash
Aquaman is beloved, and for good reason. He is the King of the Seven Seas and has saved millions from tidal waves and sea creatures. But on land, he’s just a regular guy and a potential hostage. In light of the fact that 93% of Super Friends adventures occur entirely on land, we must make this difficult decision, despite our fondness for him.
We’ve spent millions on his food (do you know how expensive Blue Fin Tuna is?), lodging, and living allowance since he joined the Super Friends in 1973. The right course of action is to treat him as an independent contractor, rather than an employee. We will use and pay him on an as needed, pay as we go basis for aquatic adventures only. In short, Aquaman should be a Super Acquaintance, not a Super Friend.
The Flash joined the group years after its original founding. I did not attend the meeting, but I just wonder how that job interview went. “What can you do, Flash?” Well, says, Flash, “I can run really fast.” Apparently, nobody pointed at Superman and said, “Yeah, well so can this guy, plus he’s invulnerable, can fly, is the strongest guy in the universe, has freeze breath, heat beams, and x-ray vision. What else can you do?” Answer: nothing. End of interview. Now run your ass back to Central City, Flash!
That’s what should have happened, but it didn’t. I recommend the immediate termination of the Flash, not so much to save money, but on principle.
* * * * * * * * *
To: The Doctor
From: The Counseller
Subject: Re: Cost Cutting Measures for Project Super Friends
I am in receipt of your report on Project Super Friends. It is, without doubt, one of the finest and most insightful pieces of analysis I’ve seen in all my years with the Company. The Super Friends report could have changed the course of human history . . . if I’d received it 30 years ago! Why didn’t you send it in 1983 when it could have made a difference? Oh, Doctor, do you have any idea what your delay has done?
Project Super Friends was canceled in the early 80s. We did sell the Hall of Justice (for only $98 million because the sculpture is concrete spray painted gold) but not to save money as you suggested. We used the proceeds from the sale of the Hall as a down payment on an expanded version of Project Super Friends: Project Justice League of America, which we expanded further with Project Justice League Unlimited in 2006.
If you thought Project Super Friends was wasteful, you should see Project JLA. We swapped the Hall for the Watchtower, a giant space station orbiting the earth. We mothballed Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet, but replaced it with a fleet of craft capable of interstellar space travel.
Treating Aquaman as an independent contractor and never hiring Flash in the first place were the right things to do, but we went the other way. For Project JLA, we hired hundreds of so called “Superheroes.” We paid them handsome salaries and allowed them to live full time in the Watchtower.
I almost found it cute when you complained about The Flash’s inclusion in Project Super Friends since all he can do is run fast. The Flash is a five-star recruit compared to the jerk offs we’ve got working on Project JLA. Hell, Flash is on the JLA Board of Directors.
You wouldn’t believe what passes for a superhero these days. We’ve got this one guy, the Green Arrow, who is a full time member of the JLA, earning a ton of money. Guess what his superpower is. Wait. Wait. Wait for it. He has a freakin’ bow and arrow. That’s it. One bow and some arrows. Also he wears green.
We’ll take anybody. The JLA is the 21st century equivalent of Roosevelt’s public works projects. Get yourself a costume, a cool name, maybe a slingshot and a pocketful of rocks and we’ll fly your ass into low earth orbit, give you an apartment with a killer view of the planet, and pay you a couple hundred thousand a year.
Now why in the world would we do something like this? Well, Superman came to us and said, “listen, I love you guys, I’ll do anything for you, but I’m tired of doing it all by myself.” He comes up with this plan for the Watchtower and a bunch of helpers and everybody goes right along with it. It’s hard to say no to Superman, especially when nobody took the time to analyze the cost performance of Project Super Friends, especially when there wasn’t a single voice of reason willing to stand up to him. You could have been that voice, Doctor, if only you had delivered your report in a timely fashion.
Your failure to do so had catastrophic consequences.
First, Aquaman is dead. With all the superheroes, both the real ones and the poseurs, hanging out on a space station and trying to get organized, Aquaman took it upon himself to watch over the planet. You should have seen how brave he was. He was trying to fight crime and rescue kittens in every major city.
Of course, he was horrible at it. Like you say, on land, he’s just a guy. He suffered nine knife wounds, three gunshot wounds, and I lost count of how many times he was bludgeoned nearly to death. We had a real problem with people making a sport out of beating up Aquaman. “It’s Aquaman! Let’s kick his ass!” was the unofficial motto of summer 2006. I suppose it’s not everyday you get to beat up a superhero.
Guys would get their girlfriends to scream for help and when Aquaman showed up the boyfriend would beat the crap out of Aquaman while his girlfriend filmed the whole thing. For about six months, the dominant Internet meme was a guy in his twenties or thirties urinating on Aquaman’s broken body.
The end came when Aquaman suggested to some fourteen year-old kids in Seattle that they get off the sidewalk and take their skateboards to the skateboard park. They cussed at him. He said they shouldn’t use words like that. They cussed at him again. Things escalated to the point that all six kids were standing in a circle around Aquaman and beating him with their skateboards. Well, no, I suppose only five of them were beating him because the sixth kid was filming the whole thing.
Aquaman called for help to a pod of killer whales hunting off the coast, but he was 10 miles inland. The killer whales tried to help. We had dozens of killer whales trying to pull themselves through the streets with their flippers. The whales never made it. In the end, we lost Aquaman and 37 killer whales.
Here’s the worst part. The kids were arrested and charged with murder, but they got off on a technicality. Murder is the intentional killing of a human, and Aquaman, as you know, is not human. All six of those kids are attending some of our nation’s finest universities now. I follow their Facebook pages. I want to know when life looks just about perfect because that’s when I’m sending in the hit squads.
Aquaman must be avenged!
Aquaman’s death was not the worst consequence of your failure, Doctor. Project JLA has cost the American taxpayers $8.9 trillion dollars. Guess where we got that money. We borrowed it from the Chinese! Our debt to the Chinese has fundamentally altered the balance of power in the world.
Now the Chinese are taking over. Soon their economy will be larger than our own, they lead in the Olympic medal count over the last two games, and they own the copyright to the recipe for Apple Pie. Every time an American family wants to make an apple pie they have to pay the Chinese government $1.25.
And all of this is your fault, Doctor. From here on out, you will deliver all your reports to me in a timely fashion. You will immediately review your files for any old reports and send them to me. I want you to pay special attention to any reports you may have on the following projects: Thundercats, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra Princess of Power, and the GoBots.
* * * * * * * * *
To: The Counseller
From: The Doctor
Subject: Re: Re: Projects Super Friends
I am in receipt of your response to my report on Project Super Friends. To say I am decimated would be an understatement. I cannot get the image of grown men urinating on Aquaman out of my head. Was there no way for Aquaman to protect himself? Couldn’t he have turned the streams of urine into one of those water balls he throws? Urine is quite similar to seawater in many ways. Did the urine not strengthen Aquaman as it entered his mouth?
I find comfort only in this: Aquaman died doing what he was born to do, trying (and, admittedly, failing) to protect us. I will never forget him. Some will remember him only by posting videos of their hand-to-hand combat victories over Aquaman and triumphant urinations. Others will point out that Aquaman’s irrational response to death’s approach resulted in the slaughter of 15% of the Pacific Northwest’s killer whale population. Still others will hang their heads in shame at the thought of a once mighty hero being bludgeoned to death by a gang of over-privileged children. But for me, Aquaman died as he lived. A hero!
Life is a funny thing, sir. One day you think your heroes will live forever, the next day you find out you’re responsible for Aquaman’s brutal murder. You wake up in the morning believing you live in the greatest country in the world and by lunchtime you learn the Chinese own apple pie and have mastered every Olympic sport nobody else gives a crap about.
C’est la vie.