My one and only high school sex education class

 In Just for laughs, My personal path, Shifting cultural paradigm

In 1958, during my sophomore year at Tullahoma (TN) High School, all the boys in every class were ordered to the gymnasium bleachers with the male teachers for a sex education talk by a local physician, Dr. Ralph Brickell. The girls were sequestered in the auditorium with the female teachers for a similar talk by a nurse.

We rolled our eyes and poked each other in the ribs as Dr. Brickell relentlessly circumvented the subject at hand and rambled on about the importance of abstinence until marriage, along with the dangers of VD and syphilis, and the perils of getting your girlfriend pregnant, or knocked up in common parlance.condom

After saying almost nothing of substance, Dr. Brickell unwisely opened the session up for questions. There were a few innocuous queries such as, “What are the symptoms of syphilis?” by the usual ass kissers. But finally Gene Branch, a country boy in our city school, asked, “Dr. Brickell, what happens when a man mates with a sheep?” Convulsive laughter mushroomed throughout the audience, and Dr. Brickell’s face turned a deep crimson.

Since our principal, “Big Tom” Garrison (a burly man at six-feet, four-inches tall whose brawn exceeded his brain) wasn’t present, Tommy Whitaker, one of the assistant football coaches, called the session to a halt and ordered Gene to the principal’s office. Gene stood up with a big smile, took off his outer shirt, waved it like a matador’s cape and said, “Looks like I’m going to have to go tame the bull.”

I’m not sure what punishment Gene Branch received, but there’s no doubt that he was the hero of the day for his audacity and readiness to call bullshit on the parade of absurdity to which we’d just been subjected.

Needless to say, no further sex education classes were held during the remainder of my enrollment at Tullahoma High.


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