“The Sex Toys In The Attic”

There’s a suitcase in the bedroom
Tucked away behind some shoes
And I need it taken care of
If I fight the fight… and lose

If this rattle in my bronchi
Turns out more than merely noise
Is there someone I can count on
Who can disappear my toys?

There are several shapes and sizes
And there’s many different hues
Some use cords, and some use batteries—
(There’s one that’s blown a fuse)

There are some still wrapped in plastic—
They looked better on the shelf—
There are some that need a partner
And there’s some for just myself

If I find that I am dying
(Because everybody does)
I don’t want my kids inheriting
A box of… things that buzz

So I need a trusted confidant
To do some cleaning first
So my mostly mourning relatives
Won’t get to see the worst…

Then again… you know… forget it—
They’ll discover what they will—
They can find out I was human,
That I hadn’t gone downhill

If the worst they can discover
If I die beneath the knife
Is a suitcase full of sex toys…
Hell, I lived an awesome life.

According to Twitter, this verse took half an hour; I read this wonderful opinion piece in the NY Times, tweeted something about it, and thought “there’s a verse there somewhere.”.

But disposing of sex paraphernalia — actually all those embarrassing items you have stashed around the house — is something every boomer should be concerned about. The days are dwindling down to a precious few and some of you have a nasty cough. Do you want the people clearing out your house, particularly your children, to find those feathery, metallic, rubbery, polymer blend items you ordered one drunken night a few months after you’d been forced to take early retirement? Do you want them to know their big, tough construction worker dad liked to dress up in heels and a boa and sing “La La La” from “No Strings,” one of Richard Rodgers’s weaker efforts?

You may be thinking, “What do I care what my friends or children find in the house? I will be beyond embarrassment, I will be dead.” But you are wrong. Doctors now know that the human sense of embarrassment can last up to two weeks after the heart stops beating. Consider this statement from a boomer named Stanley: “I was lying on the operating table, then I had a feeling of leaving my body and looking down at myself and all I could think was, ‘Is my gut really that big?’ ” Look it up on the web.

The funny thing is… the thing that people would find out about me, eventually, is that I wrote doggerel on the internet, and nobody knew.

Sounds pretty boring, actually. Maybe I should hide a box of sex toys.


Hey–you’ve read this far, now something serious. There may be 10,000 or more dead because of Typhoon Haiyan. There is an immense need of help, and the Foundation Beyond Belief is one way you can help. Details are here–if we can’t count on the people who know God won’t help, who can we count on?


  1. Cunning Pam says

    After my dad died, my aunt and I were cleaning out his bedroom. I remember opening one of the drawers of his dresser and finding some…books, and…stuff. I glanced over at my aunt, who had come over to see why I’d gotten so quiet, and we both burst out laughing. My dad was my dad, but he was also human, and it gave us both a chuckle to remember him as a vital, healthy human being instead of the sick old man we’d been caring for.

  2. says

    Brilliant. Sheer brilliance.

    I’ve not been there myself (honest! – have you SEEN what they charge for dildoes? – dildo’s? – dildi?) but the general idea of post mortem embarrassment has frequently crossed my mind. Residue of pre-atheist belief? Or just analogous with the ‘make-sure-you-wear-clean-underpants-you-never-know-when-you-might-get-run over-by-a-bus’ syndrome?

  3. naturalcynic says

    Very recently, my siblings and I moved our 88 year-old mother to an assisted living facility and cleared out the house. some things went down to her new room and we divvied up much of what was left. Among the last things to be discussed was a quite functional Hitachi vibrator we found in the bottom drawer of the night stand. We got a laugh when I asked “Who gets this, or will the nurses and attendants make a fuss if she keeps it ” I know she had used it in the past year.

  4. Randomfactor says

    Were I to die suddenly, folks would find some very interesting magazines boxed in a corner of the closet. Funny thing is, they’re not mine–a friend got an attack of conscience (he’s periodically afflicted with that) and asked me to dispose of them for him. I’m trying to figure out where to sell them.

    Gotta be worth some cash, right?

  5. says

    The toys aren’t in the attic. They’re where they ought to be, in the top drawer of the night stands on each side of our bed. And our teens won’t be surprised. They ‘borrow’ them from time to time. I keep having to retrieve them when one (or three) goes missing.

  6. MtnDragonfly says

    Just read your post in the NYT with this lovely poem…congrats! As a sextenagarian who is encroaching on septenegarian status, I found myself laughing out loud and warmed by the emotional generosity of your “song”.

  7. left0ver1under says

    Doctors now know that the human sense of embarrassment can last up to two weeks after the heart stops beating.

    How can anyone write that sentence and attempt to claim any credibility?

    I don’t know about anyone else, but if I were shot or run over by a bus, my last thoughs would likely be, “ohjeezstopthebleedingthepainohnoohnohno…”

    I really doubt that I’d worry whether anyone would find anything compromising in my apartment or on a hard drive. Not that I have anything compromising, mind you…. <starts deleting stuff>


  8. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    With my friends, the concern seems to be less about the toys in the closet than the contents of the hard drive.

    A good friend passed away earlier this year (heart failure at 28, that was hard to deal with), and I had to spend a few days sanitizing his computers. He had managed to get his family comfortable with him being gay, but he really didn’t want them to see what was on there. So yeah, post-mortem embarrassment does seem to be a real thing.

    I, on the other hand, have made arrangements for my magazine collection to sneak into my parents storage box. I’m thrilled with the idea that my god-bothering parents might suddenly find immoral filth hiding amongst their things.

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