Laugh Date: Thursday, February 22, 2018

What's Inside

Best of RAH96:
Puritanical Gardens

by Dave Bealer

Copyright © 1995 Dave Bealer, All Rights Reserved.

The Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Although the Puritans, who called themselves Pilgrims in a vain attempt to conceal their true motives, weren't the first to land in America, their influence has been profound. This is rather unfortunate since the Puritans are the most stuck-up, sexually repressed bunch of stiffs ever to influence a country. The Puritans came to America to "escape persecution" in Europe. In truth, the Europeans counted themselves lucky to be rid of them.

Although no longer a recognized group like the Quakers or the Amish, the Puritan influence is still felt every day. Individuals of a puritanical nature are commonly found in positions involving thought control, like television network censors, members of the Federal Communications Commission, and moderators of online conferences. The Puritans have been losing ground to the liberals for many years, but still score the occasional victory.

Jocelyn Elders lost her job as Surgeon General of the United States last year, primarily because she advocated having the schools teach teenagers to masturbate. The Puritanical element of American society had a major collective fecal seizure over this proposal. I agree with those who vehemently oppose such an effort, but not on moral grounds. I feel it would be a colossal waste of scarce educational funds. Teaching teenagers to masturbate is about as necessary as teaching them to breathe. On the other hand, there are adults who would pay big money to see a video tape of the proposed class, so it might make a good commercial venture. Get Roman Polanski to direct it, and you're almost assured of a runaway hit, at least in the U.S.

The Consumers Union is one of the most conservative groups in the United States. A nonprofit organization, Consumers Union (CU) conducts independent testing of the safety and reliability of hundreds of consumer products. For more than 50 years Consumer Reports, the monthly magazine published by CU, has carried test reports on everything from new cars to lawn mowers to ice cream. A good example is the May 1995 issue, which features reports on running shoes, sun screens, mutual funds, clothes dryers, upscale sedans, and condoms. Condoms?

It took the AIDS epidemic to overcome America's puritanical aversion to publicly admitting the existence of condoms, the primary male birth control method. The condom has moved from behind the pharmacy counter to the check out aisle of many grocery stores. It has changed from being an object of embarrassment and ridicule, especially for teenagers, to being an "impulse purchase" item.

Although not an overt bastion of prudity, Consumer Reports figured to be among the last places to report on sexual health and safety devices. I, for one, would have wagered that Consumer Reports would publish test results for automatic assault weapons before it would do condoms. I don't know which "taboo item" will next be tested for Consumer Reports, but I suddenly want to volunteer as a product tester for Consumers Union. Just don't tell the Puritans.


Dave Bealer is a fifty-something mainframe systems programmer who works with CICS, z/OS and all manner of nasty acronyms at one of the largest heavy metal shops on the East Coast. He shares a waterfront townhome in Pasadena, MD. with a cat who annoys him endlessly as he assiduously avoids writing for and publishing Random Access Humor. Dave can be reached via e-mail at:


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