Sedaratives: Buck Henry

Sedaratives: Buck Henry

Buck Henry
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Dear Sedaratives, 

I just read Siddhartha to impress a girl, and I’m having trouble thinking of anything to say about it that would sound sufficiently deep but not too pretentious. Any ideas?

Chicago, IL

Dear Joshua,

Be careful. A woman who would actually request that someone she ostensibly cares for should read “Siddhartha” is intellectually ruthless if not criminally insane. This is a trap. You must realize by now that there is nothing that you or anyone else can say about Hesse’s novel without seeming pretentious or, even worse, foreign. When I was very young, my great grandmother, who was old and ill, asked me to read her to sleep. I selected “Siddhartha” because I surmised that I was in her will. She passed away during chapter two. I was amazed that she lasted that long.



Dear Sedaratives,

I recently came out of the closet and am ready to have a healthy gay relationship for the first time in my life. But after so many years of living in denial, I’m a little unclear on how homosexual sex works. I understand the obvious stuff, but how do you figure out if you’re a top or a bottom? Do you talk about it first with your partner or just dive in and see what happens?

Los Angeles, CA

Dear Anonymous, 

The thing that you will soon learn is that homosexual sex doesn’t “work”. Like all sex and most card games, it simply passes the time. The terms “top” and “bottom” are basically meaningless unless there is obesity involved, in which case you will learn by trial and error what real horror is. The best system is to vary your positions – top one night, bottom the next, much as they do in the Navy.



Dear Sedaratives,

Here’s what I remember: I started watching a kung fu movie marathon in college, and the next thing I knew I was thirty-four and unemployed. Should I try to figure out what happened to that lost time, or just cut my losses and get on with my life?


A dude in Atlanta, Ga.

Dear Dude in Atlanta,

That’s what you think you remember. We will probably never know what really happened. There is creditable scientific and medical proof that steady exposure to endless repetition—be it of strobe lights, religious chants, Jody cadence (a military training term with which I am sure you are unfamiliar), the music of Don McLean, or even an evening of reality TV—can cause fainting, hallucinations, petit and grand mal seizures, time and space dislocation, and even that old Abbott and Costello favorite, Mogo on the Gogogo. Kung fu marathons are designed to operate on the human limbic system—the sound effects; human grunting; blazing unnatural colors; dizzying athletic pyrotechnics; and pure silliness were designed (probably by General Yamamoto in the waning days of World War II) to stir the occidental brain into sludge. Even today the sound tracks of more than two thousand movies directed by and starring hundreds of people all named Lee are played day and night in the Guantánamo prison system as an adjunct to waterboarding. I’d leave your lost past alone if I were you. You might have been al Qaeda.




Dear Sedaratives,

My husband only has one testicle. I try not to make him feel bad about it – his other ball was removed after doctors discovered it was cancerous – but every time I look at his groin, I think, “Hitler only had one testicle, too.” Is that terrible of me? My husband is a good man, and despite the unfortunate physical similarities, he has nothing else in common with one of the worst hatemongers in history.

Susan P
Omaha, NE

Dear Susan P, 

Heinrich Himmler, who was not only a Nazi butcher but a famous ass-kisser, once said to Hitler: “Mein Fuhrer, some men may see your scrotum as half empty, I see it as half full.” Susan, there are many men who are uni-testicular and it does not mean that they are anti-Semitic or about to invade Poland. One of our most famous body-building strong men (not, I assure you, our beloved California Governor) was reputed to be gonadically challenged and he has many friends of the Hebrew persuasion who find him to be socially charming and mildly threatening only when faced with scary deli food. Your problem, such as it is, puts me in mind of my favorite Burlesque sketch, which I saw as a youth in Jersey City. Maybe you will think of this the next time you are staring at your husband’s sole orb of regeneration and chuckle instead of recoil. A married couple makes their first visit to a nudist colony. In their cabin, the husband looks out the window and says: “My God, I’m not going out there with all those crazy people.” And the wife says: “Why are you calling them crazy?” And he answers: “Well, can’t you see their nuts?” I’m still laughing.



Dear Sedaratives,

I’ve been dating this guy for a few weeks ago and I think I really like him. But he’s in a wheelchair. When and if we finally have sex, what can I expect? Does he have to stay in the chair the whole time? And if not, can he be on top?

Holyoke, MA

Dear N.D.,

Wheelchair sex is not as complicated as it might seem, but it can be dangerous. Its customs and general usages go as far back as the Kama Sutra, which contains the first, and perhaps the only, recorded case of how to make love when one of the lovers is basically attached to a form of conveyance. I am too refined to give you the full details but this moving tale involves a love-smitten gal from Calcutta and the object of her affection, a young prince who, because of a skating accident, was confined to an elephant. Need I say more? 



Dear Sedaratives,
At what age is quitting your job and becoming a full-time carnie no longer socially acceptable?
Richton Park, IL

Dear Eric,

Quitting your boring and meaningless daily grind for the life of the open road and a close if not intimate relationship with really angry wild animals and lovable clowns who wear funny disguises to protect themselves from being pointed out by children in the audience whom they have touched inappropriately (if not killed and eaten) can never be considered a socially unacceptable choice. It is, at the very least, adventurous, and at worst, suicidal. We are in an uncertain economy. But there will always be openings in the carnie for a powerful roustabout or – and I suspect this is more up your alley – a really hungry geek.


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