Sunday, 17 October 2010

MASS DEBATE

I stumbled upon this passage from a 1956 classic in a friend’s bookcase. It’s comic genius, though intended in all sincerity when it was written. See if you can guess what the author is referring to. It could be reading Dan Brown, but it’s not.

'It is not a thing to encourage. In youth it can be dangerous for two reasons. It can cause severe mental conflict when a child finds that he is addicted to it. And it can make a young person very solitary and often sensual and self-indulgent; people used to dealing with the young can usually see, by the slack mouth and shifty eyes, those who suffer from an excess of the habit.

Those lonely people who have fallen into the habit can cure themselves. Avoid idleness; get so busy that you go to bed tired; I have never had a letter from a busy woman, married or single, telling me she is worried about it. It is the idle, shut-in women and men, with all their thoughts and interests turned in on themselves, who fall into the habit.

A simple bromide will often help at bedtime. Even a hot drink with an aspirin tablet is useful. And I have found it useful to suggest rationing to some people. That is, make up your mind to do it, say, twice a week for a month, then once a week, then once a month and by that time you will have acquired a habit of self-control and will probably think that the whole thing is rather silly.

Reading – with a candle rather than strong electric light – is useful too. But don’t have the candle too near the pillow in case you set yourself on fire!'

Thank goodness sex education has progressed.

9 comments:

Simon Kewin said...

Dear God, it sounds like the dark ages. Mind you the thing about reading is good advice! Does it really say "eclectic light"?!

TOM J VOWLER said...

Hilarious, ain't it, Simon.

Typo amended. Thanks.

TOM J VOWLER said...

As an 'un-cured' teenager, I found bromides most invaluable.

Simon Kewin said...

Shame - I rather fancied acquiring an eclectic light!

Ogden Gnash said...

Very good advice, particularly about the usefulness of reading. Perhaps something by Anais Nin or Catherine M? Failing that there is always Littlewoods summer catalogue.

Anna-Marie said...

Those afflicted by this odd disorder might try having a w*** to get their mind off it.

Jane Holland said...

I wish I'd had this advice sooner. I've been worried about it for years. My only fear about the candle is that, unlit at least, it could represent a bit of a temptation to indulge.

TOM J VOWLER said...

Jane. I'm shocked. ;)

Nicola Morgan said...

Slack mouth and shifty eyes? What, politicians do it too??