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“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
    ~ Muhammad Ali

Wednesday afternoon
In the waiting room
Of the Office of the Clerk of the Court
Stood a couple
Perhaps in their late 50’s
He tall stout overburdened with syndrome X
She tiny
Even in her heels
Her head hardly reaching above his waist

We walked out after handing in our documents
Still wondering

“They were really far apart in size weren’t they?”

“Maybe his penis is small
  Or more likely average size
  Meaning it would seem small on him.”

“What makes you say all that?”

“Too many years of unnecessary gym class.”

She looked quizzical:
“What’s gym class have to do with anything?”

“Well, boys and young men see each other naked
  All the time;
  ‘Dressing out’ for those classes
  Is required by our schools.”

“And what, you compare your penises?”

“How could we help it?”

“Why would you?
  Women don’t care —
  We get at least as much pleasure through the clitoris
  As through the vagina.”

“It’s hard to say where this fascination for comparison comes from.
  Maybe we want to be sure
  The fit isn’t too loose or tight;
  Besides, the penis just gives us an obvious way
  To measure ourselves
  Against each other.”

“I guess I can believe that’s true.
  It’s ridiculous enough to fit this society’s status quo.”

“Maybe it happens only here in the U.S., but I doubt that.”

“So what if one penis is bigger than another?”

“I think that goes into the equation
  That establishes the pecking order.”

“Where did you fit in the pecking order?”

“I didn’t, really.
  When you’re an outsider
  The size of your penis is always used against you

“Don’t tell me they made jokes about yours.”

“Of course they did.”

She looks at me
Just wordlessly looks
That’s all the answer she can give me

“I’m pretty sure the same would happen in Russia, too.”

“So what do you think this has to do with that couple?”

“I imagine he wanted to be able to fit.
  Even if the size of his penis is normal for an average guy
  Who’s not overweight
  He may have just accepted it as small.”

“And there’d have been jokes?”

“Which might have made him feel the more inadequate
  As if he was unable
  To satisfy a woman anywhere near his size.”

“The other guys would have told him so?
  Made him accept this?”

“Maybe they said it.
  Or it may have gone without saying.”

“I hope so.
  Or maybe not.”

“What was said hardly matters.
  Every guy in gym class
  Especially in the locker room
  And in the shower
  Has his mind in the gutter
  Though the alleged purpose of it all
  Is athletics.”

“I can’t believe I live in such a country.”


Thanks always returns

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