E.B.White, Nostalgia, the Looming Specter of Death, and Shrinkage (It's Genitalia Week)
At the end of the narrative essay "Once More to the Lake," E. B White recognizes that the nostalgic feelings he has for his old vacation spot are an illusion, and that he is no longer a young boy, but instead has become his father . . . and so when the youngsters go swimming in the cold lake, while rain pours down, and he watches his son "wince" as he pulls the cold, wet bathing suit around his "vitals," E.B. White explains that his groin "felt the chill of death" . . . and a chilled groin is a ticklish subject to explain to a high school class -- so I let Larry David do the heavy lifting and showed the Seinfeld "shrinkage" scene to explain to the females in the class exactly what was going on (and I also advised them to watch how a man enters a body of very cold water, how he pauses just before a certain part of his anatomy gets wet) and then we discussed the difference between "vitals" and a "groin," and how it's much more fun to be young and have vitals, and much less fun to be old and have a chilled groin.