Iain was a student at university. He had established himself as a bit of an outsider. He didn’t feel much of a connection with the other students in his class. Most of this was probably due to the fact that he didn’t drink, something that seemed to be a student’s sole purpose for existing. Most of what Iain did, his hobbies and interests were things to be conducted by one’s self. He wasn’t part of any teams or clubs that routinely socialised. He was not unhappy or resentful of this. It was simply how things were.
One day Iain was sat in large lecture hall right at the very back. There would be 10 minutes before the lecture started and the lecture hall was already near to full with about 100 students. Iain had set his phone aside and was listening to a group of 5 or 6 students in front of him recount a “how crazy was last night?” story. Here’s what Iain could gather from the excited, gleeful recollection of the previous nights proceedings. Everyone had been very drunk but one person, who was not yet present at the lecture, had been the most drunk. Every one of the group had their own take on the guys behaviour. He noted the way their eyes lit up and how they laughed at each recounting from a different perspective. People nearby who were not even part of the group were also listening in and laughing. Actually joining in with their own stories of friends who, at one time or another, had been the most drunk. Some of the guys and they were overwhelmingly male, had truly embarrassed themselves. One guy had shat himself, another had spewed all over a girl he really liked, and another had fallen into and smashed a brand new 50 inch TV.
But look at them, he thought as he watched them all so full of excitement and joy. Exhilaration at the fact that it hadn’t been them who had shamed themselves in front of their peers.
“I can’t believe he did that!”
“It was so funny when he…”
Those drunk people, Iain thought. The ones who had gotten more drunk than anyone else were martyrs of a kind. Sacrificing their dignity for the entertainment of everyone else. A truly selfless act. With that thought the lecture began and the ecstatic noise came to silence. The group in front of him who moments ago were shaking with energy were now still and silent. Bored. One of them fell asleep. Iain couldn’t stop thinking about those exemplars of human sacrifice, though. They had given their friends an experience. Something to commune over and talk about for years to come. They were what the world needed. Reminders of the heroism that had gone before us that we so easily forget.
A single celled organism takes up just the right piece of DNA that will allow it to survive and replicate in its harsh environment. A small rodent like mammal defends her babies against a ravenous predator. A woman hunting with her tribe is speared by a woolly mammoth’s tusk. Dying and using her own spear she delivers a piercing death strike to the mammoth. Her child lives on and finds its own mate. Pump, splat, baby. The baby grows up and narrowly escapes but is badly burned in a forest fire. He finds a mate. Pump, splat, baby. A few thousand years of this goes by. An unfaltering determined struggle. In Pompeii a young man on an errand to next city across for his master returns to a city submerged in ash. He moves to a neighbouring town. He falls in love. Sentinam, gaudens, infans. The pattern continues. A cobbler overcomes alcoholism. He murders a man in self-defence but is never caught. Pump, splat, baby. A heavily pregnant woman crawls from the rubble of her destroyed home and gives birth on the street. And here we all are. Unaware and uncaring of the past.
Like most of his classmates the most significant thing Iain had ever done was being born. But inspired by the happiness he had seen gifted to his classmates by those inebriated champions at the expense of their own self-respect, at the expense of their own bodies, he had begun to forge a plan. He needed a selfless act so that he too could deliver an unforgettable experience to his fellow humans who were so in need of incident.
Iain stayed up all night devising his plan to publicly abash himself. Now standing outside the lecture hall he knew what he had to do. Whoever said ‘True courage is being afraid and going ahead and doing your job anyhow’ was right, thought Iain. He peeked inside the door to make sure that the lecture had begun. OK here goes nothing.
Iain strode into the front of the lecture hall. He was completely naked. His body numb with adrenaline. Facing the 100 or so students he put his hands behind his head, circled his hips and helicoptered his penis. He continued for about 10 seconds before sitting down on the nearest seat in the front row. He wasn’t quite aware what was going on around him. His consciousness had completely turned inward.
Oh my fucking God this is fucking horrible!!! I might have to fucking kill myself after this. I need to cry!! I can’t even cry!! Fuuuuuck!!!
The entire time Iain had been sitting there he had been staring dead ahead at a single spot on the floor. The embarrassment he felt at that moment seemed to him more like a psychedelic experience. Truly a waking nightmare that didn’t feel like reality. He knew though, that through it all, he had to have the courage of his convictions.
“If you don’t leave now I will be forced to call security. You’ve had your fun now get out, you’re disrupting my class”.
It was the lecturer. He was pointing at Iain but not looking at him. Iain stood up and left the room. He retrieved his clothes from a nearby storage cupboard where he’d stashed them, dressed and went home. He decided that he would take the week off from university. He wondered if he’d ever go back.
Iain had shut himself off from society more than usual in the days after he had bared his spinning cock to a room full of strangers.
It’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done. He told himself. But was it enough?
Eventually he worked up the nerve to check his phone and e-mails. He’d been avoiding them the entire time since he’d left uni that day. 75 missed calls and 56 txts. Normally in the space of week he’d get maybe 5. 42 e-mails in an inbox he liked to keep clean. Mostly were from the university. A tingling exhilaration made its way through Iain’s body from head to toe. He allowed a short smile to sit on his face. He checked facebook. Ignoring 128 notification he searched for one of his class mates and clicked on their page. And there it was. A number of pictures had been uploaded under the title “OMG CAN’T BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED TODAY” and he could see that it was himself, naked at front of the lecture hall. It was strange to see himself like that. He didn’t want to dwell on it though. Or the fact that it had already been shared a few thousand times.
This is what you wanted. You set out to do something and you achieved it. Be proud. Everyone in that class now has a story to tell for the rest of their lives. You did that Iain. It was horrible but you did it for those people, those strangers.