Media Mix

ME AND MRS. JONES: It was shaping up as a classic Jerry Springer episode. On stage, a sultry hermaphrodite sex slave, resplendent in leather dress and studded dog collar, professed undying devotion to his/her dominatrix. "She accepts me, Jerry."

Yet not all was rosy in their relationship. Otherwise, why seek the prudent, level-headed counsel of Ol' Doc Springer? Seems that some other exotic creature was vying for the affections of She Who Must Be Obeyed. A fellow sex slave, this one a gangly transvestite who withers at the thought of being spanked by another. Love is truly a many splendored thing.

What happened when these hopeless romantics squared off? Were shoes thrown, hair yanked and press-on nails snapped off in a hissy fury of confused gender rage? Were surprise sex slaves trotted out with shocking revelations of their own, further clouding the situation? Did Jerry schedule a future appointment with the dominatrix for a light flogging and to have his face shoved hard into a bowl of beef tripe while being forced to listen to recordings of Oprah's Emmy acceptance speeches?

I'll never know. The Paula Jones sexual harassment case had just been bounced like a mouthy drunk from a PTA meeting, and the cheeseheads at the network decided to pre-empt the taut psychodrama being played out on Springer with a special bulletin. Like we wouldn't have heard about it eventually.

Good lord, how dangerously skewed our priorities have become. Instead of reaping the educational benefits of watching a lovesick hermaphrodite bitch-slap a man in women's clothes with a dog collar, we were subjected to the tawdry spectacle of Greta Van Sustren explaining a legal brief to Bernie Shaw. Is this the sort of thing we want our children exposed to?

This is the legacy of Paula Jones, the almost criminal lowering of journalistic standards. In a perfect world, no way an ancient case of winky waving, especially an unsubstantiated winky waving, wins out over a very real and current slugfest between disgruntled submissives. These are people with a track record for excessive pain tolerance. No telling how long they could go. But when the winky waver is the big kahuna of the free world, forget about it. In today's superficial society, pursuit of fame shoves aside the more meaningful issues. We're all about the glitz.

So be it. What's done is done. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright issued her untimely ruling, and in the ensuing days it's been pored over and picked apart by legal analysts across the country. Debate rages on both sides.

Now I'm not an attorney--though I've often impersonated one to get out of a fist fight--but it seems that the 40-page brief boils down to a single point of law: Men should not wave their winky at an underling. But if you must, if you are compelled by circumstances beyond your control to wave said winky, do it quickly, casually and one time only. Keep it low key. Make no formal introductions. Don't use spread sheets, a pointer or overhead projector to enhance your presentation. Don't play cutesy and announce it as a new product launch. If you have some artistic talent, or are close friends with an artist, perhaps a simple smiley face drawn on the winky could help set the proper tone.

However, if the subordinate seems stunned, nervous, embarrassed, creeped out, edgy, nauseated--or worse, has to squint to see what's going on--the winky should be put away immediately and attention turned back to the meeting. Unless, of course, that was the subject of the meeting, in which case the meeting should be adjourned. Before pounding on the table, make sure it's a gavel in your hand. Afterwards, any interaction you have around the office with that particular employee should be conducted sans winky.

At last the justice system, long regarded as unwieldy and out of touch, seems to function as it should. These are the kind of direct, concise definitions men need in the workplace to avoid future unpleasantness. With this kind of solid groundwork laid, don't be surprised if a dramatic rise in productivity boosts the American economy over the coming months. We may be entering a new era of teamwork and cooperation between genders.

And on a personal note, if anyone happened to see that particular Springer episode, perhaps a satellite dish owner; for the love of everything you hold dear, I beg you...tell me what happened. Please.

Write or email me care of this publication, and don't spare the graphic details. Illustrations are most welcome. TW

--Roger Naylor

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