The erotic life of one’s own mother is perhaps the last thing on earth that a young man might choose to know about. You’d probably prefer to study the composition of elephant turds than learn the details of what I’m about to tell you. Some might argue that since you, my son, are a monk, that this information achieves an even higher level of indecency.
But in my view, if you are to be a world spiritual leader, you need to understand the gamut of human experience. There’s a world out there beyond that of pure-hearted, celibate young men. Whether the monastery brings the rest of us up in their teachings or not, bawdy women exist on this earth.
I’m determined to try to explain my attraction to older men. I believe I have finally figured it out.
But first, an anecdote: a while ago, before the Series of Unfortunate Catastrophes, I was having chronic stomach pains that came and went in no discernible pattern. Acupuncure with Paulette didn’t help much. I had blood tests; I abstained from wheat and dairy; I had probes tipped with itty-bitty cameras inserted inside me to examine delicate places. The final diagnosis of this series of medical tests was that I suffered from “functional abdominal pain.”
This means my abdomen and its organs are unwavering and dutiful. They have suffered no injury or injustice. But healthy digestive processes other people scarcely notice are for me acutely painful, the doctor explained. My nervous system registers the churning that’s essential to the digestion of food as something exceptional and alarming.
(Don’t worry, dear son, a hypnotist cured me of this ailment almost entirely. And I swear this anecdote bears a relationship to the promised topic. I’ll have to hold off a minute, though—a patient just walked in.)
Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.