So I'm sitting here at work trying to decide which of the tasks awaiting my attention would be least odious. I focus my turbo powered I hate you glare on those stupid fliers that Audrey (who in other respects is a nice person) left on my desk for me to fold, and think, "Fahrenheit 451...the temperature at which paper catches fire and burns..." It hasn't worked yet, but I it will eventually. Anyway I prefer practicing my Uri Geller routine to just doing the job. That's when Mr Enigma sidled up to my desk and whispered, "You did something very erotic today."

I was somewhat alarmed at this news because usually when somebody says to me, "You did something very erotic today" they actually said, "You did something very neurotic today" and I misheard. But Mr E had a gleam in his eye which told me this was the exception.

So now I was faced with two worries: first, how humiliating would this so called erotic thing turn out to be? and second, would it be repeatable? Both scored pretty high in the affirmative, but as I have already inequitably traded the story with my mother for a tiny little piffle of an anecdote that involved her blushing I may as well go ahead and tell you all what it was. It seems that in events related to painting my toenails one Wednesday night (as is my custom) I inadvertently died half of my right foot blue. No, that's not it. I don't want to meet the person who has that low a threshold for the erotic. Hang on--I take that back. So I was sitting in Mr Enigma's cube telling him about my blue foot and was getting his typical languid response when I unsheathed it and showed him. Suddenly the story seemed to fascinate. He leaned forward, eyes wide, captivated. He asked questions. That should have sent my antennae up immediately, but I chose not to delve.

Now, flash forward to me trying to incinerate a big pile of Audrey's hard work (I honestly think she's destined for better things) using the power of my brain and Mr Enigma making his astonishing claim. After making me assure him he had done nothing wrong and swear that whatever this so-called erotic thing was it was entirely my responsibility and he could not be faulted for innocently being subjected to it, and any arousal pursuant to said action could be traced to me and me alone I'm such a slut okay okay okay (in his spare time Mr Enigma draws up Satan's contracts for the purchase of souls), he finally hissed that when I showed him my foot I had inadvertently flashed him.

Oh that explains so much. Although I average three or four embarrassments of that caliber every day before I get to work, it's usually without the benefit of an audience. Which makes all the difference. So I had Mr Enigma chortling away at the reception desk when I offered the following challenge to his honor: "Well, you know what a gentleman would have done!"

"Nope," he said, with slow, extravagant shakes of his head. "Don't know, don't care." Lifted up his hands, palms outward, "Not even interested."

Then he went on his way.

So I called the gentlest person I know, which would be Lee. Well, Kathie Bloodworth is darned gentle as well, but she is the wrong gender for this experiment. I related the above and awaited his reaction. Lee said, "What would a gentleman have done?"

I had to confess I didn't know, but I was disappointed in him and I'll bet his mom would be too if she ever found out. So a asked around a little bit, to folk less gentle than Lee, but no villains certainly and haven't received a satisfactory answer. So finally I concluded that the gentlemanly thin would have been to keep quiet about the whole thing, which I myself have failed to do.

Which is what's wrong with America today.

(Written by Sharon C. McGovern)

From Vol.12
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