Regardless of one's age one never ceases to see one's parents as somehow exempt from the pale of human passions. To imagine a mother parched with thirst, singed with regret, exhilarated by the prospects of circumstantial renewal or deflated by the disappointments of unrequited dreams would be to diminish her to an inconceivably approachable minor key.
To imagine a father's erection would be even worse.
In a farmhouse in the small Provence village of Brue-Auriac, a place known more for its vineyards than for its deviance, my dear friend Currado Malaspina inadvertently unzipped the filial veil and was shaken to his very core.
On one of his semi-annual visits to the family estate, Malaspina, more out of boredom than out of curiosity, started rummaging through the musty neglected barley field grenier. Buried under a bale of moldy boxes and antiquated hand-tools Currado discovered a small cahier d'esquisses that was both astonishing in its variety and shocking in its content.
It seems that Malaspina père, the great stride piano genius known simply by his forename Sordello, had kept a diary of sorts, chronicling his various infidelities. Like Jun'ichirō Tanizaki's classic novel The Key, the sketchbook, rather than being some secret trove of conquests and perversions was meant to be discovered and examined in depth. Sordello hoped to use the carelessly concealed journal in order to communicate to his indifferent wife the range of her husband's appetites.
After his initial revulsion - the drawings all depict Sordello wearing the very same green hat that has become Currado's hallmark - my dear entrepreneurial friend saw a wonderful opportunity.
Why not package a new, digitally remixed anthology of Sordello's studio recordings (never a big seller in France or anywhere else) with a posthumously collaborative sex manual! Compiling the most inventive positions and assigning them clever new names, the book has become a son's homage to a revered father.
It would be fair to say that papa's priapic prowess, though impressive, is nothing like his decidedly European rendering of Willie The Lion Smith's Fingerbuster.
But of course, he was known as someone who never missed an occasion to practice.