"Good morning, gentlemen. Good morning -- we're ready to get started, so if you'd all -- "
"Hey, I'm sitting there!"
"The hell you are!"
"The hell you are!"
"No need to fuss, gentlemen -- you'll notice they're all front-row seats. We know our audience. Now, while you're settling in, let me thank you all for coming, and welcome you to the inaugural class here at the Ensign-Spitzer Institute for Misapplied Masculinity. If I may say so, it's brave of you to volunteer to attend this -- "
"Yeah, the wife said she'd have my head if I didn't go!"
"Anyway, what matters is you're here. You're all prominent men in your professions, with sterling reputations in your communities. And you're all just one bad decision from throwing it all right into the dumpster. Which is why you're here."
"Is this gonna be like hypnosis or something?"
"No hypnosis. No magic spells or anything like that -- just some straight talk from people who are familiar with your kinds of...issues. Who want to help. So let me turn you over first to Dr. Simmons -- she holds the Edwards-Schwarzenegger Chair in Unseemly Urges, by the way -- and a little PowerPoint presentation she's put together for us. Doctor?"
"Thanks, and good morning, gentlemen. I should say, first of all, that I'm happy to keep calling you 'gentlemen' until I have reason not to. Your job today is not to give me a reason, OK?"
"Very good. Now, here's our first slide -- what do you see?"
"'A guy.' Exactly! He's an anonymous guy, just as all of you are today. An average guy, just as -- "
"I see we're deep into Alpha Male territory already! And actually, you're right: You're not average guys -- in most respects. But in a couple of ways, you're very much like the rest of your cohort. So let's look at that slide, OK? Look up here. Everybody see where I'm pointing?"
"At his head."
"Actually, inside his head -- this is 'the brain.' Say it with me: 'the brain.'"
"And this? This is 'the groin.' Everyone?"
"Again? 'The brain.' 'The groin.' They even sound a little bit alike, right? When you say them quickly?"
"We -- "
"They are not the same thing!"
"We already -- "
"Let me repeat that: They are not the same thing. The brain -- this thing way up here -- is what got you into politics, or business, or finance, or whatever you do. And not just into those fields, but made you incredibly successful there."
"But what if -- "
"The groin -- this thing way down here -- the groin is not what got you there, or made you successful. Use of the groin is not part of your job description. And despite what some of you may have heard, it's definitely not part of your benefits package."
"But -- "
"I know that comes as a disappointment to some of you -- nothing like a little 'organ recital,' you're thinking, to prove that you're someone special. But I'll tell you what the groin can do that the brain can only dream about: your groin can lead you right over a cliff."
"Your brain would never do that. Your brain doesn't throw away a life and a family and a career and a reputation all for a couple of minutes of pleasure. But your groin will do it every time -- it does not have your best interests at heart! It'll -- "
"Excuse me. Doctor?"
"Can you ditch the clip?"
"The clip? What clip?"
"The hair clip. Can you take the clip off? And the glasses? And maybe shake your hair a little?"
"Hopeless. Absolutely hopeless."
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at email@example.com.
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