Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Semi-Hard Truth About Viagra

So, I teach part-time at Columbia College. There are very few benefits except for built-in raises and tuition remission. I can take classes for free - only having to pay for books and fees. The only stipulation is that I can only take as many classes as I taught the previous semester. I taught two classes in the fall, so this spring I am taking two classes - Contemporary European Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict and The Biology of Human Sexuality. The biology class is interesting, but not nearly as interesting as I expected. Our teacher, Arthur, is a nice guy, good-hearted, but scattered and likes to talk.... a lot. If he ever gave an exam on his family and philosophy, I would ace it. You never quite know what to study for with exams and I get the sense he doesn't quite know because he hasn't put the exam together yet and is making it up as he goes. It hasn't been a waste of time, though. Not at all. There's a lot of interaction and I have learned a few things about my junk that I didn't know. My prostate creates semen which is the transport system for sperm and not the sperm itself. And I got to see how female parts are all mapped out. Man, there's a lot going on there!

One of the major assignments in biology is to do a presentation. Arthur told us yesterday that it would count as our final exam. Again, this is an example of him changing things at the last minute, but as far as a grade goes, it worked in my favor. Arthur encouraged us to do our presentation in whatever medium we felt the most comfortable. Most students do Power Point. Me interacting with Power Point is like the monkey in 2001. So, I decided to write a sketch. It was risky. I didn't know if my brand of comedy was going to go over well in a Saturday afternoon biology class. Most everyone in it is either a film or theater major, so I had a good shot. I got four actors from my Comedy Workshop class and an actor from one of my Writing 5 shows to help me out. I paid them in donuts. I gave them their scripts at noon and we performed the sketch as a staged reading at 1pm. They kicked butt. We got a great response and I'm pretty sure I got an "A." It's funny, in high school and college, I did not care about grades. Not at all. I think because I'm a teacher and the classes are free, I'm a little more obsessed with doing well. And, it's like a do over. I had fun in college and high school and learned a lot, but wish I had thrown myself more into getting good grades.

The piece is called "The Semi-Hard Truth About Viagra: An After Work Special." It's educational and chock full of dick jokes. There is a flaw in the piece. It's written as a staged reading. The generic stage directions become a narrator's voice halfway through. I knew I would be reading the stage directions and flipped it into narrator mode to wrap up the story more quickly. Plus, I wanted in on the fun. If I were to rewrite it for the stage or video, I would simply add a narrator.

(I will post my written work here from time-to-time. If I ever post anything anyone is interested in using, just ask me about it in the comment section.)

Here it is....

THE SEMI-HARD TRUTH ABOUT VIAGRA: AN AFTER WORK SPECIAL
Written by Joe Janes

CAST:
Gerald, 40’s – Gabe Trulson
Bob, 50’s – Jon Cohen
Dr. Grebnak, 40’s – Spike Maguire
Hugh Hefner, 80’s – Tony Torres
Tina, 40’s – Kate Lambert
DJ – Spike Maguire
Old Widow Kravitz – Kate Lambert
Mr. Kravitz – Jon Cohen
Mitzi – Tony Torres

(Lights up on Gerald sitting at his desk in his office. He is looking through file folders and checking his watch. Bob pokes his head in the door.)

BOB
Hey, Stud. Working late?

GERALD
Um, yeah. Bob. I am. How about you?

BOB
Nope. On my way home to bang my wife.

GERALD
Really?

BOB
Sure. Probably more than once, too. Unless there’s something good on television.

GERALD
But, how?

BOB
Gee, Gerald, isn’t that territory your dad should have covered with you?

GERALD
No, I mean. You’re over 50. I’m over 40 and I’m sitting here trying to find work to do so I don’t have to go home and face the fact that… face the fact…

BOB
That Mr. Stiffy ain’t so stiff anymore?

GERALD
Well…

BOB
The ol’ cock don’t crow like it used to?

GERALD
Something like that-

BOB
That your penis has that not-so-hard feeling?

GERALD
That’s it, exactly. Bob, what’s wrong with me? My wife is attractive.

BOB
Your wife is hot. Hot-hot-hot.

GERALD
Then what is it?

BOB
You’re not 18 anymore, Gerald. That little pig between your legs doesn’t snuff for truffles like it used to. According to the book, Maximize Your Vitality & Potency for Men Over 40 by Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. and Lane Lenard, Ph.D., as a man ages, the man will have less interest in sex, he will have sex less frequently and sex is less enjoyable for a male experiencing lower testosterone symptoms. Sexual frequency averages 3-4 times a week for the typical man in his twenties, declines to once a week or so in his fifties and to 1-2 times a month in his late seventies.

GERALD
One to two times a month. I’d like to get up to that level.

BOB
Along with low sex drive, impotence increases with age and the related lower testosterone levels. Nearly 10% of males over 50 and 40% of males over 70 have impotence problems. The only thing wrong with you is that you’re older


GERALD
I’ve seen that happen to other guys. I never thought it would happen to me. But, wait, you’re older than me. Do you really still do it with your wife?

BOB
And how. I often dip my pen in her inkwell. Although, the ink ain’t as wet as it used to be. But that’s a different presentation.

GERALD
How do you do it? What’s your secret?

BOB
I get a little help.

GERALD
You mean, like an intern?

BOB
No, no. I get help from science. I take Viagra.

GERALD
Viagra? I heard Viagra was for losers.

BOB
Do I seem like a loser to you?

GERALD
I guess not.

BOB
Besides, all the cool executives take Viagra.

GERALD
But aren’t there harmful side effects?

BOB
Um, yeah, if you call having an erection for over four hours harmful.

GERALD
Four hours?

BOB
It can happen. But the only thing its harmful to is other people. Almost poked a guy’s eye out at Starbucks once.

GERALD
Gee, do you have any on you?

BOB
Sorry, Pal. Keep them at home. Here’s my doctor’s card. Just swing by. You don’t need an appointment.

GERALD
Really?

BOB
Yeah. He works out of his car.

GERALD
Thanks, Bob. I’ll let you know how it goes tonight.

BOB
You won’t have to. I’ll just look for the grin on your face in the morning. Good night, Stud.

(Bob exits as Gerald looks at business card. Lights fade. Lights up on Dr. Grebnak refusing to give an older man in his 80’s wearing silk pajamas, a robe and thick eye glasses, more Viagra.)

HUGH
Please, doctor. Please. It’s not for me, it’s for my five girlfriends.

DR. GREBNAK
Your girlfriends left you long ago, Hef. Get up. Stop humping my tires. Have some dignity.

HUGH
I can’t help it. Doc. I need more Viagra. It’s the only thing that will straighten me out.

DR. GREBNAK
Dammit, man. I told you to ease up on it. Look at you, now. You’re a drooling idiot.

(Hugh starts humping a parking meter.)


HUGH
NEED VIAGRA. NEED VIAGRA.

DR. GREBNAK
Just get the hell out of here, Hef. I’m trying to run a business here.

(Gerald enters.)

GERALD
Are you Dr. Grebnak?

(Hugh starts humping Gerald’s leg.)

HUGH
A woman! A woman! Ugh! Ugh ! Ugh!

GERALD
What the-?

DR. GREBNAK(swatting Hugh with a newspaper)
Bad, Hef! Bad! Get off the poor man! Now, go!

(Hugh yelps and runs off.)

GERALD
What was his problem?

DR. GREBNAK
Blind as a bat. It’s from the Viagra. He was an abuser.

GERALD
You can abuse Viagra?

DR. GREBNAK
If it’s a drug, it can be abused. He took so much he built up a tolerance to it. His body needed more and more Viagra until it didn’t respond to it anymore. Viagra abusers may develop health conditions; including exhaustion, sleep deprivation, chafed, sore, swollen, and red genitalia; and strained groin muscles. Now, he’s just messed up in the head. He gets the urges, but can’t do anything about it.

GERALD
Why can’t he do anything about it?

DR. GRENBAK
His junk is all beat up. It’s soft. Poor man couldn’t penetrate soup. What can I do for you?

GERALD
I wanted to get some Viagra, but now I’m not so sure.

DR. GREBNAK
Aw, you’ll be all right. Hef just couldn’t handle it. You look like you can handle it. You’re man, enough, aren’t you?

GERALD
Man enough for Viagra? Yeah, sure. But. Maybe I should try something else, like Cialis.

DR. GREBNAK
They both work they same way, except Cialis stays in your system longer. Viagra is for the man who knows he’s going to get some and you look like you know.

GERALD
Yeah, I do. How does Viagra work?

DR. GREBNAK
Viagra tablets contain the active ingredient sildenafil, which works by preventing the action of a chemical in the body called PDE 5.

An erection is produced via a complex chain of events, involving signals from the nervous system and the release of chemical messengers within the tissues of the penis. One of these chemical messengers is called cyclic GMP.

Cyclic GMP causes the blood vessels in the penis to widen by relaxing a thin layer of muscle found in the blood vessel walls. This allows more blood to enter the penis, which ultimately results in the penis becoming rigid and erect.

Cyclic GMP is normally broken down by another chemical in the body called PDE 5. Sildenafil works by preventing the action of PDE 5, thus stopping the breakdown of cyclic GMP. This means that the blood vessels are kept dilated for longer, improving blood flow to the penis and maintaining an erection. (Gerald is yawning.) You still with me?

GERALD
Hunh? Oh, yeah. You just lost me there a little bit.

DR. GREBNAK
Here you go.

(Dr. Grebnak tosses Gerald a small packet.)

GERALD
How much do I owe you?

DR. GREBNAK
Nothing. Free sample. You come back after you fire off that rocket, and then we’ll talk price. Take one now. By the time you get home, you’ll be ready to rock…and roll.

GERALD (takes one)
…Thanks.

(We hear a car crash offstage and a painful yelp from Hugh.)

GERALD
What was that?

DR. GEBNAK
I think Hef just tried to hump a Hummer.

(Lights out. Lights up on Gerald’s wife Tina. She is lighting candles in their living room. She turns on a CD of Celine Dion music. Gerald enters.)

GERALD
Hi, Honey. Gosh, it sure is dark in here.

TINA
I know. I turned the lights down.

GERALD
Oh, whew! I thought maybe I was going blind.

TINA
I’m just trying to set the mood. You know, it’s been awhile.

GERALD
Yeah, I know. Hey, look, I know this is crazy, but I was thinking about trying Viagra.

TINA
Viagra? Honey, don’t be silly. We don’t need science to make love. We just need each other.

GERALD
Yeah. I guess you’re right.

TINA
Why, Gerald, are you aroused?

GERALD
Oh, hey, look at that. Must be the Celine Dion.

(Gerald and Tina make wild, passionate monkey love.)

TINA
Oh, Gerald! You haven’t been this ways since you were eighteen!

GERALD
Yeah! Pretty cool, eh?

TINA
What’s gotten in to you?

GERALD
I love you? …I guess.

(Tina and Gerald fall asleep in each other’s arms…smiling. Gerald awakes in the middle of the night. Tina fast asleep and his Oscar Meyer in search of a new bun. Gerald immediately goes to see Dr. Grebnak.)

GERALD
Dr. Grebnak, I need more Viagra.

DR. GREBNAK
How much more?

GERALD
How much are they?

DR. GREBNAK
Ten bucks a pop.

GERALD
Give me a hundred.

DR. GREBNAK
Here you go! Remember, pace yourself. You don’t want to end up like Hef.

(Gerald didn’t listen. He began to pop those little blue pills like they were candy from a penis pez dispenser. He began to hump everything in sight. His neighbor, the Old Widow Kravitz.)

OLD WIDOW KAVITZ
Oh, my!

(Mr. Kravitz, the man Mrs. Kravitz pretended was dead.)

MR. KRAVITZ
Oh, my!

(The Kravitz’ pet schnauzer, Mitzi.)

MITZI
Roh, my!

(Due to the graphic nature of what happened next, we can’t show you, we can only tell you. Gerald put his penile plank in anything that would take it. Mailboxes, vending machines, VCR slots, bottles of Gatorade. Gerald passed out in a playground near his home. He awoke to children dancing around his penis like it was a May Pole. The police arrested him for indecent exposure, but not without first complimenting him on his impressive erection. They had to move the camera back to take his mugshot in profile. They released him on bail to the custody of his loving wife.)

TINA
Oh, Gerald. How could you?

GERALD
I just wanted to make you happy, Tina.

TINA
You have a problem, Gerald.

GERALD
I know. I know. I don’t know what to do.

TINA
I found some people who can help.

(Tina takes Gerald by the hand and they walk off. Lights fade. Lights come up on an empty room with chairs in it. Seated are Bob and Hef.)

GERALD
Bob? Hugh Hefner? What are you doing here?

HUGH
Well, Gerald. We realized we had a problem.

BOB
We’re Viagraholics.

HUGH
Viagra had taken over my life.

BOB
I was taking it all the time. Even when I was alone.

GERALD
But when I took Viagra, I felt like a man.

HUGH
There are other ways, Gerald. I’ve discovered that a healthy diet and exercise, like yoga, can work wonders.

BOB
I’ve learned to take my time. Savor the moment of touching my wife. Breathing techniques, help, too. Thanks to my tantra classes.

GERALD
That all sounds great.

TINA
I bought some ginkgo biloba which helps memory and blood flow.

GERALD
That way I’ll remember to have sex! You’re so thoughtful, Honey.

TINA
And I signed us up for classes in erotic massage, Gerald. I think that will help spice things up.


GERALD
That sounds wonderful. So, what do we do at these Viagraholics meetings. Should I get up and talk about my experiences.

HUGH
I’d rather you didn’t.

GERALD
Well, I think I learned a valuable lesson here. I learned that-

TINA
Shhh, Gerald. The show’s about to start.

GERALD
Show?

(At that moment, the lights dim and throbbing house music kicks in.)

BOB
Another alternative to get the blood flowing down to the nether regions –

TINA, BOB, HUGH
Strippers!!!

DEEJAY
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the stage the exotic stylings of our number one dancer…

ALL
YEAH!!!

DEEJAY
Old Widow Kravitz!

ALL
Ew!!!

(The End. Lights fade.)






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