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The Dilemma of the “Third Leg”: Stop the Agitator Now!

Sun, 2 Mar 2008 Source: Pryce, Daniel K.

The title of this article may sound terrifying and bellicose to some, but a perusal of the contents will reveal that, not only is the title very appropriate to the discussion, it is also vital for conveying the intended message as forcefully as possible. For the last five thousand years, social interactions among human beings have always been fraught with controversies, dilemmas, and hard decisions, with mere survival being the most primordial of these instincts, until the advent of varying degrees of technology — each human era has had its fair share of technology for advancement ? improved lives and increased communalism. Paradoxically, while living conditions improved for people everywhere, the dilemma brought on by the “activism” of the “third leg” resulted in conflicts among small groups and even entire nations, and the trend has continued even to this day. More importantly, history has recorded for modern man the tragedies brought on by the discontentedness of the “third leg,” with untold hardships unleashed on both individuals and societies.

As one continues to read the article, one would come to know what the “third leg” is, even though I intend to not give any vivid descriptions. The ferocity of the “third leg” is why we are all here in the first place, and except for the routine “neutralization” of the “third leg” by the superior part of the body called the brain, human beings would not have differed significantly from lower animals, although sound judgment is occasionally sacrificed to accede to the whims of the “third leg.” It is a foolhardy and delusional idea to conclude that education and social status can overcome the brutishness of the “third leg,” for in the annals of humanity, some of the most educated and respected people were — and continue to be — floored by this audacious, undisciplined animal (this type of personification is appropriate under the circumstances).

How could one hitherto explain the logic behind the actions of a seemingly happily married man — the man and his “third leg” receive enough “sumptuous food” to keep both satiated — if such a man suddenly threw out all decorum and allowed his “third leg” to ruin his reputation and expose him to public ridicule? What causes a man, one with his own wife, to lustfully seek another man’s “pasture,” or some “green vegetation,” knowing that the consequences could be dreadful? And what causes an apparently decent minister of state or political appointee, a man at least 50 years of age, to seek pleasure in the bosom of a woman one-half his age, even while he understands clearly that he jeopardizes his position in society, not to mention the hurt those dearest to him will be forced to endure? Think about that for a minute. Now that we all know what I am attempting to discuss here, let us look at what history has taught us.

Sally Hemings: This former slave must have been irresistible to Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s founding fathers. Although highly regarded as a major brain behind the insurrection that threw out the British taskmasters, Jefferson was simply willing to risk everything ? political goodwill and social status ? to make sure his “third leg” regularly savored more than “one meal.” While DNA tests in 1998 proved inconclusive as to whether or not Jefferson personally fathered some of Hemings’ children, there is incontrovertible proof linking the Hemingses to the Jeffersons. Coincidence or cover up?

Warren Harding: Former U.S. president Warren Harding had his fair share of getting around. As far back as 1919, Carrie Phillips, one of Harding’s mistresses, took $20,000 to keep her mouth shut. Ouch! When Harding became president a few years later, another mistress, Nan Britton, bore him a child out of wedlock. Sounds familiar?

Franklin Roosevelt: Roosevelt’s liaison with Lucy Mercer was painfully exposed by Eleanor Roosevelt, the president’s wife. Although Roosevelt promised to end the affair, he never did. Amazingly, Mercer was with Roosevelt when the latter died in Warm Springs, Georgia, in 1945. The Mercer-Roosevelt affair had lasted about 26 years!

Dwight Eisenhower: While a general in the U.S. Army during World War II, Eisenhower began sleeping with his driver, Kay Summersby (don’t worry, Kay was a woman!). For all the history buffs reading this article, a detailed recounting of the relationship can be found in Summersby’s 1975 book, “Past Forgetting: My Love Affair with Dwight D. Eisenhower.”

Bill Clinton: Mr. Clinton needs no introduction, unless one has never heard of Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky, among others. With an intractably unrepentant “third leg,” Mr. Clinton would be dogged by many controversies before and during his presidency. Why would a man with the most powerful job in the world risk everything just to please his ravenous “third leg?” Once again, think about that for a moment.

Henry VII: Now, let us go back several centuries and to another part of the globe. Henry VII was the King of England from 1509 to 1547. Henry VII married a total of six women during his legendary reign, in an attempt to have a male heir. Henry VII’s split from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, resulted in his expulsion from the Catholic Church, a move that ultimately led to many battles in Europe. See why the “third leg” can be nothing but major, major trouble at times?

Wallis Simpson: Simpson was the infamous American divorcee for whom King Edward VIII gave up the throne of England, so they could be together! Did I hear somebody say “What?” The two met in the 1930s and became inseparable a short time later, although Wallis was at the time still married to her husband, Ernest Simpson. After Edward became king in 1936, he attempted to marry Wallis Simpson, but the British government and the rest of the royal family vehemently opposed the idea. In an unprecedented speech in December 1936 to the English people, Edward declared: “I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.” Seriously, Edward VIII could have unequivocally declared that he preferred the unparalleled pleasure his “third leg” got from romancing Wallis Simpson to the duty of governing his own people! Could anyone fathom this level of madness in today’s world? Edward VIII was indeed a disgrace to the English people!

Camilla Parker-Bowles: One may call it the mother of all romantic scandals, but I see it only as a choice Prince Charles made to please his “third leg,” despite the litany of objections and criticisms these lovebirds constantly faced, and still face today. Camilla and Prince Charles would admit later that their relationship started while they were both still married to other people. Unable to have a proper wedding, Camilla and Prince Charles would settle for a civil ceremony on April 9, 2005, a decision that clearly conveyed to the rest of the world how convoluted and discombobulated the relationship was to begin with.

Jacob Zuma: Now, let us get closer to home. Jacob Zuma, former deputy president of South Africa, was implicated in a sex scandal that involved allegations of rape and unprotected sex with a woman infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, even though Mr. Zuma at the time was the face of South Africa in its war against AIDS! One may simply not find a “meatier” news item to talk about! With the rampant rape of women and babies in South Africa ? some of these babies are less than a year old! ? some South African men have become “animals,” with no sense of shame. Perhaps, men from pre-historic societies would even be ashamed to associate themselves with these imbeciles!

Richard Anane: Perhaps identifying with the slogan, “Virginia is for Lovers,” Dr. Richard Anane, former Health Minister of Ghana, met and began a relationship with Alexandria O’Brien, while the two attended an AIDS conference in 2001. If the fear of contracting HIV did not compel this gentleman, who certainly understood the risk of an HIV infection better than the average person, to at least slide on a condom before “exploring the juices” of a stranger, then the fact that he represented an entire nation, whose struggling taxpayers supported his trip, should have been enough motivation for him to ‘tame” his raging “third leg!”

Powerful Men: In Ghana, like many African nations, men, especially those in positions of power, tend to exploit the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of women, destroying lives and begetting children in large numbers out of wedlock. Because many men carry out their acts nefariously, very little is known about their deeds, as only the presence of their progenies point to their dastardly acts. Perhaps sociologists can explain to us the negative effects of having more children than parents are able to support both emotionally and financially. No wonder our societies are full of children with so much rage, kids quick to grab guns and shoot their fellow human beings to death. I hope the powerful men in Ghana, unless they are consigned to streaks of consanguinity (doing the same heinous deeds as their progenitors), would improve the condition of the larger society by abstaining from immoral acts. How can an elected representative of the people, after getting caught having a child with his sister-in-law, defend his decision by saying it was normal in his part of the country? Similarly, all should be concerned if a prominent citizen boasted to others to go ask “the women” how virile he was, for it is a terrible example for the younger generation!

Ordinary Men: For the less powerful men who must toil to simply make a living, they ought to stay faithful to their significant others, and should certainly not have more children than they are able to support emotionally and financially. This approach will stave off some of the avertable socio-economic problems Ghanaians continue to face in contemporary times. Refusing to stare at the derriere of the girl next door marks the beginning of victory over the agitations of the “third leg!”

Finally, overcoming the over-exuberance of the “third leg” can be a tortuous and difficult mission to accomplish, but it is necessary for every man who believes in nobility and the good of his neighbors and the larger community to learn to discipline himself. The “third leg” is nothing more than a wild beast that constantly seeks “territory” to conquer, but it is up to his master to withstand the “agitations” of the “third leg” and show who is in control. It may take prayer, counseling and some other time-tested approach to “tame” the wild beast, but victory will be worth the effort. The next time one sees that beautiful girl next door, or that overly pretty wife of one’s neighbor, and should the “third leg” begin to rouse himself, one should simply denounce the latter’s agitations.

The writer, Daniel K. Pryce, in addition to two undergraduate degrees, holds a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University, U.S.A. He is a member of the national honor society for public affairs and administration in the U.S.A. He can be reached at dpryce@cox.net.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Pryce, Daniel K.