Something About a Headline That Says “Prosthetic Penis"
This past week brought important Maine news about art, energy efficiency, nutrition, bar demolition, and two guys walking around the state’s back roads with a six-foot-diameter globe. Any of those items could have been the focus of this posting if only …
If only I weren’t the sort of person who is easily seduced by the prospect of discussing the relative merits of prosthetic penises. In a serious and informational manner, I assure you.
Based on a story in the August 3 Bangor Daily News, these artificial devices are much in demand among certain classes of people, such as employees at nuclear power plants, players in the National Football League, school bus drivers. and certain felons convicted of drug-related charges, all of whom, coincidentally enough, are subject to random urine tests.
Prosthetic penises are sold under a variety of brand names, including Whizzinator (“11 Colors to Choose From”), and among their many uses – conversation piece, paperweight, replacement part – are faking pee-in-the-bottle tests.
As the Bangor paper’s story related, a man on probation showed up to be tested, and as he prepared to deliver the goods – under the watchful eyes of an officer – he appeared to be acting strangely. This was understandable, because, after he was ordered to drop his pants, it was discovered that he had an artificial thingie attached to his privates, and there’s no way that could be comfortable. In addition, there was a tube running from said thingie to a container of urine, apparently not his own.
It’s unclear where he obtained someone else’s urine, but if you’re missing any, you might want to check with the Bangor cops.
Now that I’ve fully reported on that important issue, it’s time to get to work on the other news of the week that had nothing whatsoever to do with imitation male genitalia.
Let’s start with those two men from Kentucky who were spotted walking along a road in Dixfield rolling a huge ball. The ball was painted to represent the Earth (a planet well known in the galaxy as the place to go to be fitted for a prosthetic penis). The guys said they were walking from Washington, D.C., to Acadia National Park to raise awareness about diabetes and were not related to the guy I mentioned a couple of weeks ago who was walking around dressed as Superman to raise awareness about the dangers of wearing a fake penis if you’re dressed in a costume that requires the underpants to be on the outside.
Let’s now discuss something that will be virtually impossible to twist in such a way as to include a Whizzinator reference:
Or rather, an impending lack of whoopie pies.
According to the Portland Press Herald, the food police (“Your urine sample shows elevated levels of bacon”) are about to clamp down on the Clock Tower Café, which is the name of the little lunch stand in the basement of Portland City Hall. It has come to the attention of the nutritional authorities that the place is serving unhealthy products, such as heaping plates of mac and cheese, muffins the size of your head, and the aforementioned whoopie pies.
Prolonged exposure to any of these products could lead to obesity, diabetes, Ebola virus, rickets, trench mouth, and acne. To counteract this threat to the public health, everything the café sells that is even remotely tasty will soon be replaced by nutritious alternatives with the flavor of the packaging a prosthetic penis comes in.
(Hey, I honestly didn’t think I was going to be able to work a reference in. I guess I just underestimated my talent for being obnoxious.)
Doug Gardner, Portland’s director of tofu, told the Press Herald, “If we don’t address this issue [I assume he's talking about fattening foods, not fake thingies], this generation of children will live shorter lives than their parents.”
Which raises the question of whether we can solve the problem by all of us old people eating lots of artery-clogging burgers and fries, thereby shortening our own lifespans and allowing our kids to outlast us. No sacrifice is too great when it comes to the next generation’s health.
Turning our attention now to saving energy, the Portland School Department has received a report from a Massachusetts consulting company that indicates the city could save a million bucks a year in heating and lighting costs if it just makes $12.8 million in renovations and improvements.
For instance, a new energy efficient roof on the Lyseth Elementary School would save $2,690 annually. Of course, it would also cost $623,000, which means it would pay for itself in … lessee, carry the denominator … subtract the enumerator … uh, about 232 years. Which, coincidentally, is exactly how long it took me to get through elementary school. (I had problems with math.)
Now, it’s time for a combination cultural and legal advisory. Let’s say you’ve been drinking in a bar in Portland’s Old Port, and you stagger out in the street to relieve yourself on a traffic island in the middle of Boothby Square.
There are at least two good reasons why you should reconsider your plans. One is that it’s illegal to urinate in public in Portland. You’re supposed to go in Westbrook.
The other is that the pieces of jagged metal protruding from the island aren’t litter left behind by the National Association of Saw Blade Manufacturers annual convention (motto: Eight or Nine Fingers Are Really All You Need). No, the sharp spires sticking out of the ground are part of a sculpture called “Tracing the Fore.” It’s so hideous that area merchants are asking the city to remove it, and replace it with a statute of a drunk emptying his bladder.
Even so, it would be disrespectful to pee on it, what with it being art and all. Also, if you trip and fall over it, you may cut yourself in such a way that the term “prosthetic penis” takes on a more personal meaning.
Finally, I must end on a sad note: Popeye’s Ice House is no more.
The building with half a plane sticking out of its roof that housed the rowdy neighborhood bar (in recent years, it’s name had been shortened to just the Ice House) in what was once Portland’s unruly West End has been torn down to make way for what will probably be a better fit with the yuppified neighborhood that now surrounds it: a ritzy Mexican restaurant.
I have nothing against ritzy Mexicans, but I’ll miss the old Popeye’s. It harkens back to a day when nearly every corner in what was then a working-class section of the city had a little watering hole – the White Eagle, Harry’s Tavern – filled with bad-tempered drunks and traveling Whizzinator salesmen.
It was a simpler time, when people could settle their differences over a beer and a sucker punch; when one wrong word could cause half the patrons to rise and attack each other (which made it easy to get a seat at the bar); when you could drink all night on a five-dollar bill, leave with change in your pocket, and get rolled in the street on your way home.
Popeye’s wasn’t the only dive like that, but it was just about the last. When it was finally forced to close a couple of years ago, it no doubt forced its patrons to move on to places that charged a lot more for draught beer. But they probably saved some money on visits to the emergency room.
If I seem a little droopy, it doesn’t mean I need prosthetics. I just need a decent happy hour. When I get back, I’ll answer your e-mails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org