Friday, 22 May 2015

Never Have Sex With a Steamroller

     Don't worry, folks. This is not some prurient tale of perversion, of which - heaven only knows! - there is more than enough on the internet. It is an account of a man who did a very silly thing, and found himself in a very embarrassing situation, which he was probably never allowed to live down.
     It happened in New Guinea in 1955, and the story was related by Tom Cole, who had arrived in the territory a few years before and started up a thriving crocodile shooting business. Mr Cole used to keep a diary, and he has recorded the names, occupations, and actions of all the white people involved in the farce, so I am prepared to accept as true his account of "the man who [had sex with] a steamroller."
     As a matter of fact, when he inspected the item he judged that it was more likely a piece of roadmaking machinery, but a steamroller was what the legend named it, and who was he to spoil a good story? In any case, it was one of a large number of wartime vehicles abandoned in the intertidal zone at Hansa Bay, 95 miles or 153 km northwest of Madang. It was here that the "boss boy" or native overseer of the nearby Awar Plantation decided to go swimming on his day off. He was not a local, but a Tolai from Rabaul, and I rather suspect that, after the incident, he hurried home in the hope that the tale of his adventure didn't follow him.
     You see, after a pleasant swim, he climbed aboard the rusting "steamroller" to sun himself. Lo and behold! There, where he was sitting, was a bolt hole without a bolt. On the spur of the moment, he decided to have a bit of fun and insert his male member into the hole. But it wasn't fun at all when he discovered he couldn't get it out! Experience shows that this part of the anatomy tends to deflate over time. The fact that it failed to solve the problem suggests to me that it was already deflated when inserted. In short, he had done it as a bit of a lark, rather than in pursuit of some bizarre fetish. But whatever the case, he was stuck - and the tide was coming in. To quote the indomitable words of Mr Cole:
     Although overcome with shame, he called for help and was soon surrounded by a large group of people whose sympathy was no doubt exceeded only by their astonishment. Nobody knew what to do - no precedent I suppose. The manager of the plantation, Dave Paxton, arrived and took in the situation immediately - he didn't know what to do either, it looked as though by high tide he'd be without a boss boy. Someone suggested cutting it off, a suggesting that was strongly supported - with one notable exception. The tide as inexorably creeping up, it was now halfway up his legs.
     At that point, Paxton realised that it was a neap tide. His employee wouldn't drown for another week at least. His mind began ticking over: nearest doctor: Madang, nearest post office and radio: ogia, about 20 miles away, the headquarters of the Assistant District Officer (ADO), Jack Worcester. He got into his truck and hurried over. Only, the ADO was absent, as was all too often the case, and he had to talk to his wife, Ray. Remember, this was 1955, and there were certain topics out of bounds in conversation between men and women not joined together in matrimony. One must therefore imagine a very flustered and embarrassed Dave Paxton attempting to explain the situation in the most delicate terms possible.
     Now it was the turn of Mrs Worcester to get on the radio and call her counterpart, Mrs Eileen Leyer, in Madang. Poor Mrs Leyer operated from a corrugated iron shed next to the post office, a building really not designed for the steamy heat of the tropics, so the door and windows were kept permanently propped open to let in whatever breeze might be present, at the same time abolishing any skerrick of privacy. Whether she was genuinely unable to comprehend the situation the first time round, or merely because of her well known sense of humour, she asked Mrs Worcester to repeat it. Just then, stevedore Hector Longmore was passing by, and as soon as he heard what was transpiring, he hurried over to the Madang Club and spread the word. Immediately, the barman closed the bar, and everybody repaired to Mrs Leyer's office.
     By this time, the good lady had radioed the local hospital. Unfortunately, Dr Ozols was in the theatre - no, not the picture theatre! the operating theatre. All the medical orderly could do was assure her that the doctor would be flown to Awar Plantation in the morning.
     Meanwhile, back at the beach, the manager told his staff to construct a shelter over the unfortunate boss boy. The latter was forced to remain there, presumably standing or crouching, not sitting, up to his waist in water, with the affected organ numb, but still stuck. Some of his friends kept him company throughout the night. Of food or water no mention was made in the account.
     Yes, the doctor did come. Immediately, he gave the patient an injection - presumably some sort of anaesthetic. Then he told a burly plantation hand to put his arms around the fellow and pull. The former was worried that the patient's you-know-what would break, but he did it in any case. To quote the author:
It came away all right, but was very badly torn and, as the story goes, about three feet long. I suspect the story has lost nothing in the telling.
Reference: Tom Cole (1990), The Last Paradise, Random House, pp 117-121

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