by Mike Donkin
When I was four, on a long car trip to eastern Ohio to visit my father’s sister, I was reported to have proclaimed (perhaps with the contemplative wonderment of Sir Isaac Newton upon having his epiphany under the apple tree) that “when you touch it, it gets hard,” thereby causing my mother to find her son proudly brandishing his little prick in the backseat. Again, at the age of four, in nursery school, I looked about me and saw the other children’s eyes and considered the color lesson Ms. Lathan was teaching, and mused to myself that even though we all have the same word for the color red, it’s possible that what I see as red is something completely different than someone else’s idea of red; but, to my dismay, I was impotent to penetrate any of the other children’s minds, and thus had no choice but to concede, as did Descartes, that my consciousness was the only consciousness I could ever know. At the age of five I was blown away when Aunt Ruby, responding to my query of whether her penis sometimes hurt when she got soap in it, explained, with a thick Mandarin accent, that “girls have vaginas, not penises!” — and it occurred to me that all the women’s bushes I had seen previously contained no penises and that my subconscious mind had been placing them there as if to play a trick on me, or perhaps out of fear that I might die of shock. At age twelve, I would discover, quite by accident, that fervent rubbing of the penis would eventually produce orgasm, and with considerable guilt I wondered if I was the only person in my grade who knew this simple truth. A few months later I would declare to my seventh grade friends—some of whom had been masturbating for years — that mankind’s chief motivation in the world was, and always has been, sex. At the age of nineteen, during a contemplative walk, I reached a fork in the road, and it dawned on me that by defying my inclination to go right, rather than left, I was not exercising free will at all, and that everything I chose to do—as well as everything that had ever happened—was merely the effect of all the causes that had come before it; but in order for this notion to make sense, it had to necessarily follow that there had been a first cause, at which point I was reminded of something that had begun to confound me when I was very young, and that was the problem of infinity, which, no matter how hard I would strain, I could just never seem to reconcile; and I realized then how far I had come.
Mike Donkin occasionally throws coffee in the faces of friends. He is 24 years old.