When I was a kid in Oakland, everything reminded me of sex. I had some of my best erotic fantasies while eating fried potatoes or climbing trees.
I'd be halfway up the old eucalyptus out front and, whammo, a vision of Geraldine Mock would flash through my head, naked and panting, and send me crashing to the ground.
My mother would say it was the devil's work and if I kept thinking of things like that I'd get pimples.
It wasn't until I was 17 that a teacher informed me it was the fried potatoes, not sex, that caused pimples. What a relief.
That was a long time ago, and, while I don't eat fried foods or climb trees anymore, I am still interested in sexual fantasies, if only for statistical purposes.
Take, for instance, a survey conducted in a psychology class at Boston University. I heard about it on the car radio the other day as I was driving along the Simi Valley Freeway thinking about something other than potatoes.
The survey concluded that men have eight sexual fantasies a day, while women have only 4 1/2. I don't know what half a fantasy is, but one assumes it involves a person of the same sex.
I began wondering how the classroom average would compare to the city room of a daily newspaper so, through the magic of electronics, I transmitted a message asking how many sexual fantasies staff members had in an average day at the L.A. By God Times.
Twenty-one men and 19 women responded, but I was not able to come up with an average due to the convoluted replies.
For instance, a data programmer said he had 40 sexual fantasies a day but they only involved computer terminals. The sexual fantasies of a particularly egotistical reporter were all about himself.
A militant feminist responded that her whole life was a sexual fantasy because she wanted nothing to do with men, and another said she was six months pregnant and was trying not to think along those lines at the present time.
What I have decided to do, therefore, is forget about trying to reach an average and simply share with you the kinds of responses I received regarding what one respondent called spectral sex.
This in itself offers shocking insight into the truly sick and perverted people involved in producing a daily newspaper.
Sports writers, by the way, are not included in the survey since they are in a constant state of arousal and would throw any effort at honest evaluation into disarray. It has to do with the residual effects of sweat and locker rooms.
From a man: "My ex-wife is a Boston U. graduate. She had a dozen sexual fantasies a day and usually acted out 10 or 11 of them. Occasionally, one or two would involve me."
From a woman: "I have 4.5 sexual fantasies a day, and in them I fantasize about men fantasizing eight times a day about me."
Man: "I just got married and am no longer allowed to have sexual fantasies. However, I do encourage people to engage in safe fantasies by using a condom."
Woman: "Does picturing how someone would look in bed with another particular person and laughing about it count as a sexual fantasy?"
(That's sexual humor, I think.)
Man: "I had one a few months ago. I think it was February or March."
Woman: "Every morning at 5:30 and every night between 8 and midnight. Please don't use my name."
Man: "Who has time for sexual fantasies? I'm lucky if I get lunch."
Woman: "I probably average three a day. Elevators and traffic on the Ventura Freeway seem to stimulate them."
Man: "They fluctuate in inverse proportion to the number of actual experiences."
Woman: "I'm dieting, and my husband says I have the 'Double-H Whammy.' I'm hungry and horny all the time."
I call special attention to the next response because of the obvious pathology involved:
"OK, details. I'm in a zoo, soaking up the sights, sounds and smells of large mammals. Suddenly a group of schoolchildren walks through. Two nuns are arguing about transubstantiation. Suddenly an elephant . . . "
Fortunately, the man is an editor and in no position to influence thought or opinion.
Woman: "I only have one a day, but it lasts 24 hours."
Man: "The question invades personal privacy beyond the pale and should only be asked of those seeking high political office."
Woman: "Before or after breakfast?"
Man: "Does a fantasy have to have a beginning, middle and end, or can it just be a fleeting thought? If it's a fleeting thought, should it . . . ?"
Several replied that it was none of my business what their fantasies were since I was not a part of any of them, even those involving trees and fried potatoes.
On the whole, I suppose it wasn't a very scientific survey, but at least it did cause a number of people to reassess their eroticisms.
At this very moment, in fact, I am looking directly at a sports writer who is staring into space and drooling slightly.
He's probably playing in a naked Super Bowl with an all-girl team. Way to go.