I remember, many years ago — and how many of these entries contain that soporific phrase? — a great reporter I worked with was doing a story about a teenage kid whose death some months before had become a cause for his parents.
The boy had been found hanging from a tree at a nearby park, his pants pulled down. Police ruled it a suicide, but the parents were insistent he had done nothing of the sort. It had to have been some strange assault that had turned into a homicide. My colleague was preparing a story on a third possibility — it was an accident.
Accidental because, as you sophisticates out there surely know by now, the death was caused by autoerotic asphyxiation. He was choking himself while masturbating, and lost control of the situation. It’s pretty common among those who practice “breath play” alone. It’s the ultimate “kids, don’t try this at home” sex game.
We’ve all heard about it by now; it’s almost common knowledge, but in the early ’80s, I found it astounding. The reporter was similarly amazed by the practice, and found only a few experts who could explain it to him. At the time, some sex researchers were on a campaign to educate law enforcement and coroners, because an incorrect cause-of-death determination could mean the difference between a life insurance payout and a denial. The people who do this aren’t suicidal; in fact, you might say they’re filled with a lust for life. They just chose a foolish way to masturbate.
I thought of that today when a local artist/provocateur played a prank, installing a giant can of Crisco under the Joe Louis memorial known everywhere as the Fist. Photo at the link. To “ease the pain of bankruptcy.” It was naughty, obviously, but I was amazed at how widely it was understood. In the years since my introduction to autoerotic asphyxiation, almost all non-Amish adults know now that some people like to stick their whole hand into some other person’s body, and it requires some heavy-duty lubricant.
I blame AIDS and the internet. Although some remain innocent. This was on the local Fox affiliate’s Facebook page, under a picture of the installation:
Local artist Jerry Vile has created something he calls “Vessel of Hope”. He hopes it may in some way ease the pain of having the Detroit bankruptcy shoved into our faces. Can anyone explain what this means???
At last count, it had been shared 1,545 times. I’m glad there are a few people left in the world who’ve never heard of such a thing. Long may they run.
Brian Stouder alert: Here’s a link to a podcast of an Indianapolis radio show last week, on the current charter/voucher school situation in Indiana. One of the guests is my old radio co-host Mark the Shark, who is also a school board member, and I am pleased to say he came out guns blazing and didn’t give an inch the whole hour. I find it hard to listen to many podcasts while I’m doing something else — something about the concentration required — but this one held my interest.
Wednesday already? Time flies when you’re working.