Whittle: Gender questions

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As a farm boy, I almost became genderless.

There I was, minding my own business, not bothering a soul and looking nice, well, about as nice as a boy can look in an outdoor two-holer with overall galluses unhitched and britches down around both ankles.

Since my outdoor Johnny experience back on the farm, I've been a 'Nervous Nellie' regarding trips to the toilet.

RETRACT THAT, for 'Nervous Nellie' is the wrong "gender," according to my birth certificate.

I was age 4, when all hell broke loose in our farm's shack out back sometimes called the "moon room."

That's when Ol' Red, our meanest barnyard rooster, sneaked like a fowl demon under our family's little building at the end of the path.

When Ol' Red struck what he must have thought was a worm there for the taking, I invented "streaking" in the year 1948 as I bolted out of that toilet trying to get to Momma Whittle and her warm nurturing farm house kitchen.

After finally getting my britches hitched up where I could make some speed, I emitted these words: "Momma that damned old rooster has done pecked my 'peck peck'," as I displayed bloodied and bruised appendage.

Older brother Van was also rolling around on Momma's kitchen floor. But he was on the floor for a different reason.

His laughter-laced words to this day still rattle around in my traumatized soul from boyhood: "That ol' rooster nearly made a girl out of you!!"

Fast forward to the 1990s when I was officially brought into today's high tech world. We're talking more restroom trauma here.

I was attending a college basketball game between Middle Tennessee State and Vanderbilt, when my third hotdog slathered with mustard and other condiments triggered some personal gastric distress.

It was great personal relief when I managed to out-race my distress to the nearest gymnasium rest room

While being seated on the throne, a male voice echoed from the next toilet stall: "How you doing?"

I thought that odd, but then, maybe the guy was one of my loyal newspaper column readers, so I muttered sheepishly: "Fine: How you doing?"

"OK, so how's the wife?" next stall voice continued our toilet conversation.

"OK, but she wants me to return with some popcorn when I finish the paper work here," I managed meekly in response.

But, next exchange from the stall next door brought me into modern-day technological reality: "Did you know that our mutual friend and English professor John had to be hospitalized with double pneumonia?"

That's when it dawned on me the man in next stall was not talking to me, but speaking into one of those new-fangled cell phones.

Red-faced, I slinked quietly out of that restroom facility.

Now, to the present as America is in a tizzy about whether trans-gender folks can change restrooms formerly restricted to only males or only females.

A big question facing society back in the late 1940s when I was born, was whether President Harry S. Truman was right in dropping the big bombs on Japan to end World War II.

In the 1950s, I recall some so-called religious parents claiming to hear directly from God that their young'ens should be withheld from receiving the Salk vaccine against polio or the penicillin drug that cured influenza, whopping cough and pneumonia.

Now, those were weighty heavy questions for society.

I may have a solution about today's current controversial question about whether trans-gendered folks can use alternate restrooms restricted to male or female only.

Does American society need to revert back to the outdoor privy era, when there was never a question about boys and girls sharing public rest rooms?

Writer's Footnote of Concern: On my official Missouri birth certificate dated Aug. 22, 1944, the nurse and doctor entered my name as Dannie Whittle ... with an "IE' that's often used in feminine girly-sounding names. If the doctor and nurse had looked closely, they could have determined I was NOT a girl.

Amen and whewee!!!

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Dan Whittle
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