This is a letter from Dalton Trumbo to his son Christopher Trumbo. Enjoy!
My Dear Son,
I am sending you two books I think appropriate for a young man spending 5/7ths of his time in the monkish precincts of John Jay Hall.
The first is Education of a Poker Player, by Herbert O. Yardley. Read it in secret; hide it, whenever you leave quarters, and youll be rewarded with many unfair, but legal, advantages over friend and enemy alike.
The second book I think you should share with your young companions. It is: Sex Without Guilt, by a man who will take his place in history as the greatest humanitarian since Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Ellis, PhD. This good man has written what might be called a manual for masturbators. The result (mailed in plane wrapper under separate cover) is one of those fortuitous events when the right man collides with the right idea at precisely the right time.
This whole new approach, this fresh wind blowing under the sheets, so to speak, this large hearted appeal for cheerful self pollution invokes, perhaps, a deeper response in my heart than in most for I sneaky, timorous, incontinent little beast with my pavian obsessions was never wholesomely at home with my penile problem, all because of that maggoty, mountainous pustule of needless guilt that throbbed like an abscess in my young boys heart. On warm summer nights while exuberant girl-hunting contemporaries scampered in and out of the brush under high, western stars, I, dedicated fool, lie swooning in my bed with no companion save the lewd and smirking demons of my bottomless guilt. Cowering there in seminal darkness, liquescent with self-loathing, attentive only to the stealthy rise and crafty ebbing of my dark scrotumnal blood, fearful as a lechwe, yet firmer of purpose than any rutting buffalo, I celebrated the rights of Shuas son with solemn resignation. Poor little chap on a summers night, morosely masturbating. Tut, tut, tut.
Even now, more than three decades later, even now when I forget a friends name, or mislay my spectacles, or pause in mid-sentence idiocy even now such lapses set a clammy chill upon my heart. Its then, while panic tightens my sagging throat, that I whisper to myself Its true after all: it does make you crazy! It does cause the brain to soften. Why, oh why did I like it so much?! Why didnt I stop while I was ahead of the game?! Ah well, little good to know it now. The harms done, the jigs up, youre thoroughly rattled, better youd been born with handless stumps.
I recall a certain chill, winter night on which my father took me to one of those Calvinist fertility rights disguised as a father and son banquet. Master of the revels was an acrid old goat named Horace T. McGuiness. He opened his discourse with a series of blasphemous demands that the Almighty agree with his ghastly notions, and then got down to the meat of the program, which, to no ones surprise, was girls. When you go out with a young lady, he slavered you go out with your own sister! It seemed plain to me that if one day I did burst upon the world as the hymeneal Genghis Khan of my dreams, I would be in for an extremely incestuous time of it. I can still hear that demented old reprobate howling his bill of particulars against poor Onan, the Bibles first recorded masturbator, shaking his fist at us and sweating like a diseased stoat. He wasted his seed! Ohhhh monstrous, shameful, nameless act! He spilled it right out onto the ground all of it. And this displeased the Lord, and the Lord slew him.
Yet, the more I think on it, the more positive I become that you will never truly be able to comprehend, in all its horror, that interminably sustained convulsion which was your fathers youth. Its only reasonable that this should be so, since you had so many advantages that were denied to me. To name but three of them: a private room, a masturbating father, and Albert Ellis, PhD.
I carried the ball for all of us, and carried it farther than anyone had a right to expect. I was the Prometheus of my secret tribe, a penile virtuoso, a gonadic prodigy, a spermatiphorous thunderbolt in fine, a masturbators masturbator.