Sex You All

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   October 29, 2020

You’ve all, no doubt, been eagerly waiting for me to write something about Sex – so, here it is: Has it ever occurred to you that “sex” spelled backwards is “xes,” which might be pronounced as “excess,” which, of course, means “too much.” Such considerations make me hesitate to go any further into this subject, for fear of being called some kind of extremist. But we all know that sex has something to do with “the birds and the bees,” so that ought to be a pretty safe area to start with. But then, you have to wonder, just what do birds and bees see in each other? Any bird who got involved with a bee might justifiably be regarded with suspicion by its feathered fellows.

Speaking of bees, however, I’m reminded of their chief product, which of course is honey. And why do lovers so commonly call each other by that name? Because it connotes sweetness, and anything sweet is desirable – right? But I’ve never heard anyone call their inamorata “jam,” or even “syrup.”

As for the birds, there’s something about cooing which evokes thoughts of wooing – and of course “dove” not only rhymes with love, but has become a symbol of it.

But getting back to honey, there is also the honeymoon, which we all know is the period after marriage, before reality sets in. Often, it’s accompanied by travel to some locale relatively remote from customary intrusions. As the song says,

“Nobody near us, to see us or hear us,

No friends or relations on weekend vacations,

We won’t have it known, dear, that we own a telephone, dear.”

In view of this, you may be interested to know about my own honeymoon, which of course was with my bride, Dorothy née Tucker. We wanted it to be unusual – but, if I may modestly make the assertion, it took a stroke of genius on my part to arrange for our post-nuptial rendezvous to take place on the Farallon Islands. Those rocky crags are only 30 miles offshore from San Francisco, where we were then living. They were at that time (1968), and still are, closed to the public. But I discovered that exceptions might be made for people engaged in legitimate research. The U.S. Coast Guard had a vessel which went out there regularly, and it was for them to decide whom they might take along as passengers. Most of the “research” being done on the Farallons had to do with the wildlife, e.g. the birds. I don’t know whether any bees were involved – but in any case, I could hardly claim any credentials in those areas.

What I could claim, however, was a shiny new Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. True, my degree was in history – of which the Farallon Islands were rather deficient – and it was hardly likely that much would be accomplished in the way of research in the scant “one to two hours” which we would be allowed ashore (the time necessary, according to our letter of permission from Commander W.H. Wilmot of the Twelfth Coast Guard District “to complete transfer of supplies and personnel”). But there was no way we could admit that our real purpose was to celebrate our honeymoon.

Our wedding had taken place in Tijuana, Mexico, on March 18, 1968, and just two days later, we sailed from the Coast Guard Station on Yerba Buena Island, in San Francisco Bay, on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter “Red Birch” under Captain Sharkey, at “0800 hours.”

We were the only passengers, and were very hospitably treated by the crew. The sailing was pleasantly smooth. The process of getting off the ship, and then back on, was an experience in itself – because there were no Farallon Island docking facilities, and we had to be lifted from ship to shore, then back again, in a lifeboat, by a crane.

Once on the rocky shore, there was precious little time to enjoy our honeymoon, while affecting to be doing historical research into such topics as the egg trade, the sealing industry, and the navigational hazards of the approaches to San Francisco. We did of course take a few pictures, while complying with Commander Wilmot’s strict injunction to cause “no disturbance to the island wildlife.”

The whole honeymoon was over all too soon. But allow me to claim that, unless you count The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, this voyage must be unique in the annals of connubial navigation. 


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