Once I was watching a “Ripley’s believe it or not” T.V. episode with my son whom, at the time, was all of 12. If ever there was a show designed for the psyche of a 12 year old boy it has to be Ripley’s.
Every episode we can be assured somebody is going to entertain us by sticking something long and sharp through his or her flesh, or eat something while it’s still alive.
Afterword’s somebody else will get a full body tattoo and we will get to watch a guy set the worlds record for being shot out of a canon while brushing his teeth. I, as a father and maybe more significantly a man find this show not only interesting but invigorating as a constant reminder that no matter what you do in your life, there will always be people much more stupid than you.
From shrunken heads and ancient rituals to preventing motorcycles from driving apart while chained to some dudes arms this is a show watched by men who celebrate testosterone.
So what is troubling me you may ask? It’s this. At the end of the show there usually pops up some segment that somehow includes naked women. From bathing suits painted on to simulate the real thing to some news channel where the anchors slowly remove clothes while delivering the latest breaking stories.
Now how exactly is a dad supposed to explain this to his son who was fairly innocent and naïve up to this point, that is if you can still consider a kid innocent who is now well versed in ways to brand designs in your flesh with a red hot poker and now has a proficient working knowledge of mediaeval torture devices.
We even began to watch another show along the same lines that examines urban legends and myths. This one particular episode that I never saw coming was about a woman lost in a foreign city who doesn’t speak the language and is trying to ask men for directions. She notices she’s being followed and fears for her life when the stalker suddenly produces a police badge and promptly issues her a ticket for solicitation of prostitution w/o a license.
The judge then fines her 1000 dollars and when she protests the judge says she can apply for a prostitutes license for 25 bucks, which she does and thus completes the happy ending.
While this story is being told my 12 year old continues to inquire in an ever increasing loud and demonstrative voice, “ Dad, what’s a prostitute?”
Being a good Christian father who gathers wisdom from the Almighty I decided to ignore him thinking he would somehow get distracted and forget the question but alas he got louder and more adamant so we could hear this phrase echoing through this good Christian home “ WHATS A PROSTITUTE?!!!”
It was tricky enough explaining the facts of life to a boy who wasn’t yet interested in girls. But even trickier realizing that for him the big question wasn’t how you “do it” but ….why?
Now he’s going to grasp the concept that someone would PAY for the privilege? For crying out loud you televised modern day freak shows WE HAVE KIDS WITH US! Can’t you stick to the self-mutilation and human bug eaters? We’re trying to teach values here!