-My dear old friend Jerry Bode is retiring this week after many years as a
longstanding fixture at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. I
contributed the following little story for his roast this weekend and thought
I'd also share it here on E2.
The Day Jerry Taught Us How To Make Babies
It was a typical Summer morning at the Deep Sea Drilling Project headquarters
in La Jolla, California. A light morning fog was lifting and Scripps Pier had
just appeared over the blue water of the Pacific. I was hanging out in the Tech
Office with Crazy Craig, Del, Marsee, Julson, Roy and JP. We were sipping some
horrible Core Lab coffee and watching as the DSDP honchos tried to slip into the
parking lot without anyone noticing they were late. Again. We all noticed; in
fact, we made a point of noticing and making sure that they knew we noticed. Not
that it made any difference because this was back in the days when Techs were
Techs and Management was Management, and that was that.
So we were talking trash and swapping sections of the LA Times around the
room when Jerry Bode walks in with a mischievous grin and his eyebrows waggling
like two caterpillars doing the wild thing. Bode is about six foot six, all
gangly bones, and he just stands there, hovering over us all beaming and smirky.
We know he's got a story to tell, but coaxing him will only prolong the agony,
so we just wait him out.
Finally Marsee got bored and broke the ice, "So Jerry, whatcha dancing
around like that for, gotta pee?"
Smirks and rude laughter all around. Jerry is nominally our boss, but to show
him any respect would violate the Tech Code.
"Nope," says Bode, "I just ran into something that I knew you
guys would be interested in." With that he brandished a book entitled
"How to determine the sex of your child." The grin on his face ramped
up a couple of notches and approached maniacal glee. "You're gonna love
this, it tells you which sex positions to use if you want to make a boy or a
girl baby. There's even a section on how to have sex and not have
Pro forma groans rose from the assembled Techs, but it was clear that he had
our attention. There was nothing for us to do until the shipment of core boxes
arrived in the afternoon, and besides the topic on the table was, after all, sex! "Tom Dirt," our project manager Bud's grandson,
wandered in and was immediately all ears as Bode began to elucidate the efficacy
of various coital contortions in determining the gender of one's children. Tom
was 16 and his grandfather had foisted him on us in the hopes that we'd 'make a
man of him.' Bode's discourse may not have been exactly what Gramps had in mind,
but it was clear that the kid was hanging on every word.
Over the course of the conversation, various luminaries amongst the crew
weighed in with their opinions and stories. Craig started in on a lengthy and
implausible tale of a threesome he'd once enjoyed at a bordello in Panama, but
he was cut off by Marsee who had, of course, already read Jerry's book and
developed some compelling theories of his own on the subject.
Mike L. poked his head in the door for a few seconds but, as soon as he
got a bead on the topic at hand, he made a face like he'd smelled a rotting
seagull, then turned and left without a word. Meanwhile, Del devised a
fiendishly clever 'Official Sex-Position Research Survey' to be distributed to
the DSDP staff mailboxes. JP just sat in the corner smiling his little zen
smile and occasionally uttering his trademark "Ah, Yes..."
Our Lab Officer Gus had an intimidating physical presence-- like the entire Dallas Cowboys
defensive line glaring at you-- and it broke up our happy little
seminar when he suddenly blew into the Tech Office with the news that he needed
us to go up to the Gulch in the jeep and bring down the old hydrophone so we
could refill it with oil and pack it to go back to the Challenger. The prospect
of spending the day schlepping greasy seismic gear around elicited some
grumbling, but we all understood that outright rebellion was a very bad idea
when the mighty Gustavus was involved.
So we wandered off, and the rest of that afternoon blew by us as the
profligate and unappreciated days of one's youth tend to do. Del's questionnaire
may or may not have appeared in the mailboxes and the hydrophones were probably
oiled and packed and the core boxes were undoubtedly unpacked and the honchos
arrived late and left early and the cruises started somewhere and ended
Many happy years passed at DSDP and then, somehow, without anyone intending
it, the whole chapter ended and there was a new ship in a new place and new
new attitudes that didn't involve hanging around the Tech Office and dissing the
management. Some of us followed and some of us stayed behind, and most
everything was different. Forever.
One really different thing was that some of us had gotten married, and I was
one of those who had. One fine morning I was having a pleasant chat with the
wife of my life when she informed me, that it was time for us to make some
babies. My palms grew clammy and I started to sweat and stammer. Then, fortuitously, I remembered that misty morning at DSDP and all those things that
Jerry had taught us. And I was comforted in my hour of
To my wife's utter surprise, I looked up at her with a smile on my face and nodded
my head sagely. "Yes" I said, "It is time for us to have
children, and we shall first have one girl child and then one boy child."
And so it came to pass, just so.
How to determine the sex of your child (You thought I was kidding, didn't you?)
2 www.mommyguide.com/modules.php?op=modload& name=News&file=article&sid=10
Great hearing from you. We enjoyed the story. I remember the book as I had it on Leg 22 and had loaned it out even. However, the incident had more lasting effect on you than on me. Tom Dirt isn't the only one who must have hung on every word as you remember the details of the day but the part that involved work seems not as clear. As you indicated, working for DSDP was a sex ed lesson. You learned one way, Craig and others (i.e. Bob Byrnes) learned other ways.
We do plan to travel and will stop by if the RV gets us to the east coast. Our best to you and your family.