SHAME ON ME- Lizzie I am in the backyard, playing Ping-Pong against the warped backboard. Neither of my brothers will play me anymore, so I make believe I'm up against Adolf Hitler, with the fate of the Jews hanging in the balance. To summarize: I am bored. Dave appears at the back door. He has a look of barely suppressed joy on his face; I will soon endure humiliation. "What?" I say. "Mom wants to see you." "About what?" I find my mother in my father's studynot a good sign. She is seated at the desk. The recliner is for me. I am fifteen years old, a junior. I have been in myawkward phasefor nine years. "Well," she says. "Steven." She sets her hands carefully on her lap. "I want to say, to begin with, that I'm very glad you're using protection." My mother is staring at me, having just made direct reference to my use of a condom and therefore, in my mind, to my penis, an action that strikes me as a betrayal of certain founding mother/son principles. But my mother is a no-nonsense type, a psychiatrist who spends her days listening to graphic kvetchings. "I recognize that you and Pamela have become sexually active. I'm proud of you for choosing to do so responsibly." I make a clucking noise. I do not think to question how it is that my mother has figured out that I am having sex with Pam. That is way beyond me. I am still trying to fit my penis and my mother into the same room without puking. "There is one thing we need to talk about," my mother says. "Yesterday when I came home from work Lizzie was playing with something on the oriental rug, chewing on something." Lizzie is our new Labrador retriever. She is a frantic puppy who will soon grow into a frantic dog and be shipped off to a farm. She chews on everything. The only one of us who exerts any control over Lizzie is Mike, who French-kisses her with alarming frequency. My mother waits for me to make the logical connection. I do not. "I didn't know what Lizzie was chewing on," my mother says slowly. "So I went over to see what it was." I am still not getting it, because my brain has a good habit of locking up when in the presence of large, mortifying revelations. "I went over to see what it was," my mother repeats. "And, as it so happened, she was chewing on a condom. A, uh,usedcondom." My reaction to this news is physiologically complicated. I begin sweating. My sphincter goes into a lengthy spasm. A vision comes to me of my mother walking over to Lizzie and bending down to figure out what she is chewing on and realizing what it is andsighingthe sort of sigh that only the mother of three teenage boys can sigh and staring down at Lizzie and the condom, sayingBad dog! Bad dog!and trying to decide what the hell to do. She is a neat freak. She is a neat freak particularly when it comes to the oriental rug, which is hand-knotted and beautiful, with intricate designs I have spent many many stoned hours inspecting, a rug that frankly has no business in the living room, that belongs in a boy-and-dog-proof vault. My mother tells Lizzie tositand todropit,but Lizzie will not, so my mom finally grabs the edge of the used condom, which, to Lizzie, signals that it's time toplay.She starts shaking her head like hyper dogs do and clamps down on the condom, which, thanks to the sharpness of her teeth, has punctured already, such that when my mother tries to pull it away the latex tears and my mother is spattered (perhaps in her actual face) with my semen. So now I've got this invasive thought in my head (thanks, hAlmond, Steve is the author of '(Not That You Asked) Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions', published 2007 under ISBN 9781400066193 and ISBN 1400066190.