How to Love One’s Self

7 Jul

Just a note of warning: the following delves into some rather sensitive subject matter, so if your children often accompany you at the computer monitor, you may want to cover their eyes or pretend you landed at this site on accident. This week, we help Nick get a firm grip on his extracurricular activity.

Nick –

By definition, once you receive help with this, it is no longer masturbation. Plus, given your young age, anyone who tries to assist will be spending a long time around people who don’t like them and once they return to civilian life, find themselves surrounded by people who don’t like them, but are less likely to sexually assault them.

As for whether or not this will cause you to go to hell? I couldn’t say for sure. I know the boys and I read through a great deal of pornography back in our day. During our prolonged and mandatory stay at the Korean front, it was often the only female contact we had that didn’t immediately require some sort of caustic ointment or slug of antibiotics.

True, some of my compatriots would get carried away and end up with minor abrasions or carpal tunnel syndrome, but I never heard of anyone going to hell for it. I even brought it up with the local chaplain as a favor to McMichaels, who was on the receiving end of parental guilt (and cookies) with every new care package.

The chaplain took me aside and asked if it was me who was having this problem. I informed him that I was only asking for a friend of mine. I showed him my still-mobile wrists and hairless palms which seemed to settle it in his mind. He told me that there were numerous passages in the Bible that forbade all sorts of actions, from walking above 4 km/h on Saturdays to writing general correspondence in all caps.

Sure, he said, the Bible prohibits “manual override” or whatever you fellows are calling it, but it also prohibits shooting others and others shooting you. It also has given me a celibacy oath, but I’ll be darned if I’m following it here, miles away from clean water or ecumenical oversight committees. You’d be wise to just do your best to stay alive and relatively disease-free at this point. Tell McMichaels or whoever it is that you’re protecting, that all’s fair in love and war. Even self-love.

Now I know your current situation most likely does not involve random hails of gunfire or moral-free red light districts, but I would imagine you can apply these same bent rules to your life. All else being equal, if this is the worst that you get up to (pun definitely not intended) then you’ll probably end up alright.

As for your followup questions:

1. I would imagine there would be no serious damage. Just remember to pace yourself. Lubrication is also key.
2. No. Heaven’s full of them. That’s why they call it “The Happiest Ending on Earth.”

P.S. If it “feels terrible,” you’re probably doing something incorrectly.

Clifton L. Tanager

21 Responses to “How to Love One’s Self”

  1. jammer5 July 7, 2010 at 4:41 am #

    Nick, in order to fully utilize the powers of masturbation, and lose all inhibitions in later life, you must name the controlling appendages. For instance, Old Lady thumb and her four daughters is a common name used by many people. Of course, you don’t have to use that. You can personalize all you want, but you get the picture, or have used the picture many times, depending on which magazine you tore it out of.

    • Clifton L. Tanager July 7, 2010 at 5:41 am #

      Jammer –

      You are absolutely right. You cannot be successful in any endeavor unless you are willing to “take ownership” of your situation, as we in the lower-middle-management field like to say.

      A solid first step is acknowledging the hard work of your partners, whom you should get to know on a first name basis as soon as possible. If you don’t feel individual names are appropriate, try to give it the feel of a cohesive unit with a moniker like “Hannah and Her Sisters” or “The Dirty Half-Dozen.” (The latter one will depend on your level of mutation.)

      Of course, any number of euphemisms will do for the deed itself, making it perfectly clear to everyone what you’re doing, while still giving you ample room to backpedal. The boys and I used to refer to “rubbing one out” rather than visiting the cathouse as the “five-finger discount.” Feel free to use this or come up with some of your own.

      Thanks for the solid advice, Jammer. It’s always a pleasure having you stop by.

  2. nursemyra July 7, 2010 at 6:20 am #

    Nick, if you do end up with carpal tunnel syndrome, we’ve got some spare splints at the Gimcrack

    • Clifton L. Tanager July 8, 2010 at 6:56 am #

      Nurse Myra –

      Thanks for pitching in with this. Nick should take care to avoid a debilitating injury at this early stage in life. Who knows? He could grow up to be an entertainer like Paul Reubens or Dirk Diggler and a sore wrist could keep him from attaining the heights those without pain and massive forearms are able to reach (painlessly).

  3. thestuffinbetween July 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    I can see this is a gentleman’s post, but I wonder what a “Baker’s dozen” would be with three extra digits thrown in. Where would THEY come from, hmmm?

    • Clifton L. Tanager July 11, 2010 at 7:51 am #

      Stuff –

      Barring any sort of abnormality, I’d have to say a second person would be getting involved, but as I point out to Nick, it really isn’t masturbation anymore once a “helping hand” arrives.

      Still, it does sound like fun.

  4. Scott Oglesby July 9, 2010 at 5:52 am #

    As fascinating and entertaining as the meat (forgive the pun) of this post is, I just can’t seem to get past the title, at least as far as commenting purposes go. As you can tell from our other interactions today, my mood is ….altered.

    How to Love One’s Self? I assume in this case Self actually means penis, although I’m not even really sure about that. But if you look at the broader implications (if this were non-masturbatory material) how CAN one love one’s Self? The very concept implies that there are actually two of you; You and yourSelf. Maybe the esoteric truth is that you operate either through your higher self who would act out of consciousness, kindness or love, or you react through your lower self who is based on survival and selfish greed. Maybe the more we can live through our higher selves, living with conscious presence, the more we can obliterate our lower selves and transform the world into the breathtaking utopia that it was intended to be.

    Or maybe I really shouldn’t have taken that 5th hit of acid. But after your time in Korea I would think that you could vibe with me on this.

    • thestuffinbetween July 10, 2010 at 12:34 am #

      I couldn’t help but think of the “broader Self” and wonder about the implications.

      • thestuffinbetween July 10, 2010 at 12:35 am #

        Oh, I forgot my emoticons: ;-), :-D, and :-/.

    • Clifton L. Tanager July 11, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

      Scott –

      You’ve obviously thought long and hard (no pun intended, but you can certainly take it if you want it) about the “Self” in “Loving One’s Self” as well as in “Self Abuse.”

      It would seem to imply that each person is actually two persons especially when they take advantage of themselves, using gentle but firm direction (which also works when raising teenagers).

      I get a little lost on the esoteric side of things, preferring to deal with hard truths and other sorts of things that can be described with thinly veiled double entendres.

      Thanks for the comment and be careful with that acid. We all saw what happened to the surviving members of the New Kids on the Block. It wasn’t pretty. And it certainly wasn’t financially solvent.

  5. bschooled July 9, 2010 at 7:48 pm #


    you probably shouldn’t have taken that fifth hit of acid.


    i apologize for my late comment. because i’ve been known to generate the occasional ‘all caps’ correspondence, immediately after reading your post i took my computer to the technician and had him remove the caps lock key.
    i also had him get rid of the two shift and ‘arrow pointing down there’ keys as well, just in case.

    anyway, i want to commend you on the advice you gave nick. though his generic [not to mention nose-less] face is smiling on the outside, it’s obvious that on the inside he’s a conflicted and god-fearing pubescent.

    i guess what he needs to understand is that, while the possibility of going to hell/acquiring carpal tunnel syndrome may be disconcerting, its nothing compared to the hell of standing at the pharmacy counter, trying to act nonchalant while the pharmacist explains the possible side effects you may experience while taking valtrex.

    or so i’ve been told.

    tremendous post, clifton. thanks to you, my fourteen year old cousin no longer needs to waste his precious x-box time, reciting hail marys in the privacy of his bedroom closet.

    [again, so i’ve heard.]

    • Clifton L. Tanager July 11, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

      Bschooled –

      Good work on your keyboard. Thanks to the skill of your technician, your comments now come across like a blonde, slightly myopic e.e. cummings. I’ve always felt there were too many keys on the thing, what with all those symbols I’ll never use and odd additions like “SysRq” and “Ctrl” and “Fs 1-12.”

      There’s really no time of greater confusion in a boy’s life than the slippery years of puberty. (“Boy’s Life” backs me up on this by the way, in their December 1979 article “Puberty: A Slippery Slope of Confusion – featuring Ranger Rick.”) Any advice is probably good advice, given how randomly their bodies seem to develop.

      So by all means, take my advice (and yours) and get that 14-year-old cousin of yours out of the closet and back in front of the XBox as soon as possible. The quicker you can get the Catholic awkwardness quelled, the sooner he can get on with the awkwardness of being swiftly de-closeted.

  6. elizabeth3hersh July 10, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

    Clifton, I, too, apologize for my late comment (setting up a new business!!). Wow, this post and Nick’s inquiry brings back a lot of memories. I must of been around 12 when I leaned against a door and experienced my first ‘rush’ and what a rush it was! So, I guess you could say it was a ‘portal’ for things to come (if only I had been a bit taller and lined up with the knob). Nick seems to be exercising a lot of restraint in that he only indulges once (maybe twice) daily. I clearly remember marathon events which involved sequential ‘rushes’ and one or two indulgences would not have cut it. I think your advice was spot on , Clifton.

    • Clifton L. Tanager July 11, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

      Elizabeth –

      Congratulations on your new business. I hope this will keep you entertained by new clients and revenue streams and less bothered by neighbors informing you that you cannot run a business from your condo or asking if you’d like a glassful of fresh-squeezed blood.

      I can only imagine what that experience you bring so vividly to life must have been like. Unfortunately, despite several tries, I can’t. This may be due to a sensible Protestant upbringing or perhaps the numerous shards of shrapnel still retained in my skull.

      The imagination is the first to go, experts tell us. They then usually ask us to draw something abstract (like an emotion or an adverb) while turning the egg timer over and shouting guesses at us. Most of these exercises end several hours later in what is usually a scoreless tie.

      Shortly thereafter, the board games are banished to the “Game Room” and we (my fellow patients and I) are banished to the “Shut Up and Sleep Room.”

  7. Fundamental Jelly July 10, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    Sensible points all Mr. Tanager. If folks what to punch their clown who are we to say otherwise, but you may want to tell Nick that he may not be cut out for the priesthood.

    • Clifton L. Tanager July 11, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

      FJ –

      Ah, that’s marvelous! “Punching the clown” is a euphemism that we all would benefit from hearing and seeing more of in our everyday lives. And while Nick may not be cut out for priesthood, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to “flog the bishop” a few times a day.

  8. RubyTwoShoes July 11, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    This really is a kind of civic duty of the highest kind, helping a young God fearing boy in need, I commend you. And perfectly apt advice for someone who wants to follow the Lord’s path really, just live by a set of bent rules, strictly….

    • Clifton L. Tanager July 11, 2010 at 11:09 pm #

      Ruby –

      Thank you for the kind words. All God-fearing youngsters need a firm, moral hand to guide their way through the prickly path that is life’s terrible metaphor.

      Bent rules are the only rules for living a God-fearing life. When the rules don’t seem to fit your own behavior, simply spin them around and apply them to someone else. It’s worked for every major religious leader in the 20th century.

  9. Vodka and Ground Beef July 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    Wow. You just educated a youngster, and he’ll forever be better because of it. This is a social service you’re providing. I’m in awe.

    • Clifton L. Tanager July 12, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

      Vodka –

      Thanks very much for the compliments. I’m sure young Nick will take this advice and file it away under “Things to Read When Not Flying Solo.” I figure he’ll be all over this in about 4-8 years, possibly longer.

      Thanks for the visit, Vodka.


  1. Word Around the Campfire – the Sofia Vergara edition « Hidden Leaves - July 11, 2010

    […] Clifton L. Tanager: How to Love One’s Self […]

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