On a recent night, Morpheus, that fickle god of dreams, deserted me for an hour or more.
Instead of getting up, going into the den to read or contemplate my navel, I lay there musing over the things I’ve never done or wanted to do.
I’ve never flown a plane, scored a touchdown, played golf, gotten a tattoo, or married more than once. And I’ve never run naked in public.
“What a nerd!” some of you are saying.
To be honest, I may have at some time wanted to score a touchdown, and enjoy the adulation of a stadium full of spectators. And there must be something supernaturally satisfying about golf, since so many people are addicted to the sport.
Topping my “never wanted to” list is going naked into the world. Perhaps the three masked Carolina students who traipsed naked through Professor Rita Balaban’s Econ 101 class of 375 students last month, might enlighten us on the benefits of such a venture.
The Chapel Hill “show our tail” reminded me of an incident that occurred not long after my wife and I were married.
We were living on the second floor at the Raleigh Apartments. One night, I happened to glance out the bedroom window and saw a young man with a flashlight illuminating his exposed pubic area.
“Put your light under a bushel and get out of here,” I called down.
He ignored me. I immediately called the police. Within a very few minutes, they came, with sirens wailing.
The night visitor quickly pulled up his underwear and trousers and dashed away in the darkness, pausing long enough to steal a nightgown my wife had left on the clothes line.
Could streaking be the result of the uncontrolled urge that inhabits all our psyches to some degree? Is it the desperate “Look at me! Look at me!” need to be noticed, even when the streakers are not recognized?
On impulse, I decided to impose on my friend, Dr. Assad Meymandi – Raleigh psychiatrist, noted philanthropist and adjunct professor of psychiatry at the UNC School of Medicine – for his thoughts on streaking. He graciously responded in laymen’s language.
“Streaking started in England around 1799 as an act of political protest,” he said. “It did not go over big because of severe punishment imposed. Now, streaking is thought to be a prank, daring, or an act of social disregard for authority and social norms.
“It is also, as you suggested, a ‘look at me’ moment of glory. But if you take a psychological scalpel and dissect the act, it gets to the core that streakers most likely feel inferior and sexually inadequate. They compensate by showing off that they are cool, macho and ‘hip.’ The ‘I’ word, ‘inferiority’ is the key.”
With tongue in cheek, Dr. Meymandi concluded: “It occurred to me to add, as a literary pun, to cover up their inferiority, streakers uncover their all.”
I’m aware of only one “streaking” incident of any significance.
During the 11th century, Anglo-Saxon noblewoman Lady Godiva, wearing only her long tresses, rode through the town of Coventry in protest of the high taxes being imposed on his tenants by her husband.
As the legend goes, the townspeople agreed not to look and closed their shutters as Godiva passed, all except a fellow named Tom, who peeped and was struck blind or dead. From this legend, came the term Peeping Tom.
During a visit to Coventry, I admired the imposing statue that stands in the town square of Lady Godiva aboard her horse.
In my opinion, the UNC indoor streakers were engaging in wimpy streaking. Macho streakers are those who strip down and dash across campus in mid-winter when the ground is covered with snow.