The ostrich and the OWL

Busy busy busy. I’m leaving this afternoon to go to OWL facilitator training. That’s right, kids, yours truly will be spending twenty-seven weeks this year teaching a gaggle of ninth-grade Unitarians about sex. I just live for adventure, I guess.

It’s kind of funny. One of my co-workers is from Russia (well, one of the smaller Soviet republics, but she refers to it as Russia so I’m not too worried about the language police jumping on me about it), and I mentioned to her that I was going to be helping to lead this class. She commented that back in Russia, sex was never talked about — and told the story of one memorable incident, on a satellite-link TV program in the 80’s that put a group of U.S. citizens (virtually) face-to-face with a group of Russians, where one of the Americans asked something to do with sexuality (one Web page I found suggests it was a question about contraception in Russia) and a Russian woman defiantly answered, “Here in Russia, we don’t have sex.” That response has since become a long-standing running joke in Russia.

She also told me that her high-school graduating class was the first time that nobody in the graduating class wound up pregnant. The first time ever in the history of that school. That’s scary.

It’s kind of an interesting connection, really, with the financial crap Jennie and I are struggling with right now. Some people, when faced with something that stresses them out or scares them, deal with it by sticking their heads in the sand. I know; I’ve started to realize that I’m one of them. I’ve spent way too long ignoring our debt and hoping it’ll go away. When conservatives rail against sex education in schools and the like, they’re doing the same thing.

I don’t understand when or how or why humans developed willful ignorance as a coping skill. But it’s a coping skill that just doesn’t work. Some things — like too much debt and teenage sex — don’t go away if you ignore them.

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