Your first plan of action will be to black out.

Against your better judgment you’ll regain consciousness and find yourself in the daedal foliage of a spider plant. From here, sink slowly into the maw of your own private inferno. Your own private inferno is on the floor between a jumbo calculator, a nonworking fax machine and an unread copy of Excel for Dummies. Maneuver yourself prostrate. Unhinge your jaw. Scream silently into the polypropylene carpet.

So many things could have made this better.

For starters, it could have been a more expensive-looking dildo. It could have looked less like it came from Big Lots. It could have been embossed with something dignified like a mallard or tucked away in a lockbox with fingerprint-recognition technology and alarm-triggered fog. It could’ve had a note stuck to it, explaining that it was actually the dildo of a neighbor or friend, and thanks for holding onto it.

But no.

Not your parents’ dildo.

Your parents’ dildo is inexplicably stashed in a TJ Maxx tote bag on the floor of the upstairs closet, which begs the following questions: (1) Why was it not displayed on the credenza next to the Lladró and war-time photographs of your grandfather? (2) Why was it not suctioned to the refrigerator?

Again, so many things could have made this better.

If your parents were cultural anthropologists or decadent sophisticates, this would be better. If they were deinstitutionalized, sodium-depleted, insulin-crazed geriatric delinquents, this would be better. Alas, your parents are none of these things.

They are Harvey and Gayle.

They are a retired tax accountant and a hospital administrator. They are short-limbed and, according to empirically-backed research, shrinking. They are nice. They are lovers of Grape-Nuts and haters of unknown dogs crapping in their yard. One of them enjoys the soundtrack to Les Misérables so much she will silently mouth its lyrics until climaxing emotionally and then crying. They once favored Buddy’s Pizza but are now of the opinion that Pizza Papalis is superior. They see nothing wrong with ending phone calls like this:

YOU: I don’t know, it’s kind of liberating to be this broke, but the fact is I don’t even have enough money to get a job, Mom, and honestly I’d be happier chewing glass than engaging in some bullshit marketing cauldron of lies and you know how––

GAYLE (gasping): Harvey! Oh my God Harvey! Woodchuck on the deck! HELLO! EARTH TO HARVEY! Sorry, Hon, woodchuck over here. Gotta go.

They are Harvey and Gayle.

They obtained a dildo and stashed it in the bottom of the upstairs closet.

But enough about them.

What about you?

You’re no conservative mossback—you’ve been to an orgy! Surely your legs aren’t welded at the knee. You lived in Berlin! You fucked a dentist. Whatever mindless gorging and fumbling your parents choose to engage in should be of no emotional consequence to you, right?

Right?

You are 29 years old. Denying the hormonal wiring of your parents was a necessary suspension for your formative years, but that time has sadly passed. You are basically formed. You cannot tell yourself this dildo was purchased accidentally, mistaken for an oversize marker pen. You cannot tell yourself this dildo was acquired on the assumption that it was a very special kind of flashlight. Even the most docile of explanations holds that this acquisition was, in fact, born of erotic spontaneity. Oh dear sweet child, you’re too old for mythical parents. Steel yourself with fact: Your parents bought a sex apparatus and they probably used it.

Time to stare that dildo in the eye, kiddo.

So your parents use synthetic genitals to have sex—big deal. Their sex organs didn’t atrophy into squiggly black cankers of disappointment like you’d hoped—so what. Take a deep breath. Relax. Remind yourself that a number of upstanding humans exchange love via coital appliance, and that you once read an article about dildos reducing the risk of cervical cancer. Consider what you already know about humans and dildos, which is that you have to possess at least some base level of interest in making another person happy to stick with a partner or spouse, let alone to stick that partner or spouse with a dildo. And that’s good, right?

Right?

It’s just a regular old dildo, after all. It could have been worse.

It could have been double-ended.