Waking the audience..


While at Florida State University in 1973, I arrived late to an adolescent psych class that was having a special guest lecturer speak on the subject of "Masturbation." Entering the packed 150-seat lecture hall, I found only three empty seats - all in the front row.

Having pulled two back-to-back all-nighters in preparation for midterms, my head started to bob as I fought to stay awake while listening to the boring lecturer drone on in monotone. As sleep was starting to win out, I heard from behind my closed eyelids, "Ignorance and myth about masturbation followed into the twentieth century, with beliefs that it caused blindness, hair on the palm of your hands, inattentiveness and lethargy - just like this young man here in the front row."

As a few students began to laugh, my head shot up and my eyes opened to our guest speaker pointing directly at me. Embarrassed, but never shy, I stood up and spun around to face the entire class. Pretending to be horrified after inspecting the palms of my hands, I quickly crossed my arms, hid my hands under my armpits, hung my head in shame, spun back around and sat down.

As the lecture hall exploded with laughter, I looked up to the speaker and said, "Now that's how you wake up an audience."
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