a wet-dream supernova

I remember the day I asked Sharaun if she wanted to go to the homecoming dance with me.

Facts: it was a hot Florida day; I was a high school sophomore; I had been pursuing her for a while but we were not “dating;” I was probably sixteen; I was truly nervous.

I remember taking the old portable phone out of the house and into the backyard to make the phone call with some privacy. The phone was this large unibody thing, a muted tan-yellow “manila” color (can that word be applied, as a color, to something other than a folder?) and it had a large segmented antenna you had to manually extend and retract. I walked through the screened-in porch and out onto the pool deck. It was late afternoon but the sun in Florida was still bearing down through the piles of humidity. I remember walking around the deck to the deep end of the pool, we had a planter there at the edge of the grass with some shrubs and a few birds of paradise, it was bordered with large coquina rocks, as many landscape installations are in Florida.

It was over there near the deep end, where the pool deck was wide enough and offered enough runway that my brother and I used it as our makeshift diving platform when we were kids and the novelty of a backyard pool was still enough to see us in it daily, that I made the call. Sometimes in the post-rain heat of the afternoon in Florida there was this ambient buzzing noise permeating the air outside. Like the chorus of bugs I imagine in equatorial rain forests it would camp out at the edge of your hearing and become part of the atmosphere without you really realizing it. But that day, during the second or so that elapsed after I dialed the last ‘9’ in her number and before the phone rang on her end, that buzzing jumped to the fore and became a roar reminding me how much on-my-own I was. Me and the background bugs, about to put ourselves out there in the most real way… the fragility of youth plus lust.

I forget who answered but I remember asking.

In the end it was a pitifully (or maybe blissfully) short exchange. And while I don’t recall my exact wording I remember feeling that I hid the awkwardness I felt in asking well and ultimately came off smooth.

She said yes.

She wore a black dress that blazed like a signal fire against her pale skin and shiny-gold, straight hair. She was the walking, breathing embodiment of all my coming-of-age fantasies to that point. A wet-dream supernova. The memories of the emotion of that night make me thankful there is no such thing as foreknowledge. Knowing that we’d end up together as happy as we are now would’ve stolen all the mystery and timidity.


musty smut

Sometime back in 2009 I started a draft entry about finding dirty magazines in the woods.  Wait; stick with me.

I had seen a funny thread that someone started online about the very subject, and was surprised at just how many folks chimed in to say that they, too, had seen some of their first pornography by virtue of “discovering” some mildewed magazine half-buried under a pile of rotting leaves.

Back in my day (wow, that makes me feel old), finding and then hiding your dirty magazines in the woods seemed to be a common thing (look on the internet here and here if you don’t believe me).  In fact I can remember we would go strolling through the woods with eyes on the ground for the express purpose of stumbling upon porn.  And we found it when we looked, too; if you were a pack of twelve year old boys in the 80s, you had some kind of Playboy sonar… and no camouflage could hide a Hustler from that.

As I wrote back then, the whole “chase” of porn is lost on today’s young men.  Porn is on your TV at night, no watching through snow required; porn comes to you on the computer; porn is on your cellphone.  There’s no looking anymore, there’s no “discovery,” there’s no state of un-knowing.  Back in my day, we relied on our found porn to reveal to us the magical secrets of sex.  Someone in that online discussion I read over a year ago, and that inspired this entry, put it best with the following:

We found an issue of Club in a garbage can, and in it there was a picture of a woman sticking her nipple into another woman’s vagina.

We acted all knowing with each other, like “Yeah, that’s something people do. You didn’t know about that?”

In this modern internet age kids have probably seen worse than that by 3rd grade computer lab.  Whither have the innocent days of thumbing through a tattered Jugs in a draining ditch with a couple friends gone?  Our poor young men today have no chance… Gone are the days of having to muddle through not understanding every other word in those Penthouse Forum articles,  having to guess from context and later being embarrassed whilst employing it incorrectly after getting up enough courage to dare use one as you’d self-defined it.  Oh man that was embarrassing to find out that “woody” doesn’t always mean a paneled surfer-mobile… kids can be rough.

I suppose I’m not really lamenting some great lost innocence of my day here, I mean there’s plenty more to be sad about aside from the mechanics through which our youth are introduced to smut.  In fact I’ve quite forgotten if I was driving to any point here or not.  I think maybe I just wanted to talk about finding porn, quote that hilarious nipple thing, and maybe opine about “kids these days.”  Mission accomplished?


sharp sticks & throwing stars

Afternoon; most gorgeous Saturday on record; someone call the Almanac.

Sonic Youth is on the stereo and “Teenage Riot” sounds fuzzy and sunny and just perfect for the moment.  You might ask why I’m not outside doing something in the gorgeous weather… it would be a good question.  Sharaun’s down at a local park doing a changing-table “outreach” thing for her mom’s group and I’ve got Keaton plus two more girls (daddy daycare up in here), daughters of our friends.  And even though the girls and I played outside for an hour or more they soon tired of the warm sunshine.  So we’re back inside.  The day played out perfectly, capped with one of those perfect fireside endings where you’re just tight enough to have a burned-in smile and quick wit.

I can remember when my brother and I discovered that we could put sharp edges on things by scraping them on the concrete over and over again.  At first it was just sticks honed into spears, quite serviceable too, at that.  I imagine mankind has been making this same discovery for thousands of years.  One man scrapes a stick on a rock and realizes it’s now sharp and he can throw it at things and it’ll stick.  Hit a moving animal with one and it might die and then you can eat it.  Over and over again until we progressed enough to fashion smarter weapons and didn’t need sharp sticks anymore.  Then sharpening sticks becomes a discovery of young boys.

We turned it up a notch when the K-Mart in town began selling blunt-edged, but made of real metal, ninja throwing stars.  We each had one and we’d spend hours scraping them back and forth across the roughest parts of the driveway, perfecting each tine into razor-sharp points.  I do believe we made them truly deadly.  We could sink them an inch deep into the broad side of the fence when thrown with force; even deeper into the soft living wood of neighborhood trees.  We were the real deal; we had ninja-branded skateboards and we rode around flicking throwing stars into inanimate objects like wild mini-ninjas on wheels.  Back then if anyone in our mostly sleepy little Southern California farming town would’ve stepped to us we could’ve quickly dispatched them.

Stay back.  Goodnight.

man’s men

Wrote this entire thing Sunday night along with the thing you might have read yesterday. I know already it’s going to be one of those weeks and I might not have a ton of evening time to write. I figure I should take advantage while the wheels are turning.

This year for Easter some friends of ours from church invited us to come eat with them at their folks’ place. Or, rather, their folks invited us to come eat at their place – one or the other. Their place is what we call “up the hill” around here; since we’re right at the feet of the foothills anything east qualifies. Easter Sunday was rainy, wet, windy when we set off up into the foothills following behind as neither of us had been there before. Half an hour or so later we wended our way around a few final wooded turns and climbed a steep driveway to stop in front of their place.

Oh man their place.

I was immediately transported back to my childhood. When we lived in Southern California my grandparents lived about an hour away on top of a mountain in a log home. No joke. A straight-up log cabin built from stacked timbers right out of a Lincoln Logs set. I used to love going to my grandparents’ place. It was quite literally “on top of a mountain,” and the inside was right out of a hunting lodge. Logs for walls, broad-mantled fireplaces made of rough-hewn rock and mortar, bearskin rugs, leather furniture, a poker table, and taxidermied animals at every turn. Looking back on it now, being a married homeowner myself, I can’t imagine what husband would have a wife accommodating enough to let him deck out a place with such testosterone. My grandfather, though, was a man’s man (for as much as I got to know him in my youth). A scholar, a hunter, a drinker, and an avid outdoorsman. He had that place appointed just how you’d imagine. Anyway, all this and more went through my head before I’d even stepped out of the car, just looking at their place.

Their place.

Fashioned of logs thicker and lighter in color than those that comprised my grandparent’s place, it was similar enough from the outside to evoke memories. Stepping inside, however, sealed the deal. Three mounted antelopes, what looked to be a bobcat, two birds in still flight hanging from strings, and in the corner a massive detailed installation featuring two brown bears locked in a frozen fight over a deer carcass. The rugs, the furniture, the old-fashioned knick-knacks attached to the walls (they had farm tools, my grandfather had gold pans) – it was like stepping into a facsimile of their place. No, it wasn’t a perfect match; this place had more of a woman’s touch evident in the decor while my grandparents’ place, at least in my memory, was all man.

The inhabitants hearkened too… our friends, her dad, he reminded me of my own grandfather in some way. A man’s man for sure; felled every piece of game that now decorates his homestead. Maybe not anywhere near as outspoken or hedonistic (on some counts, I suppose) as my grandfather, and certainly more God-fearing than he – yet still there were certain similarities. The thing that cinched it, though, for me… was this past Sunday morning at church. One full week after we’d been over for Easter dinner and this man walks up to me in church, shakes my hand firmly, and says, “David; I have to apologize to you for that dry chicken I served last week. I left it on the grill too long.” I chuckled, a real laugh, and replied, “Aww don’t worry about it. I stuck to the drumsticks and they were actually fine.” “Yeah, well,” he went on, “I’m awful sorry it was so dry. I apologize.”

Only a real man’s man takes his barbecuing so seriously that he’d seek another man out in church a week later and make it a point to offer a heartfelt and truly ashamed-sounding apology for the dry chicken.


canadian love affair

A cold and rainy Sunday spent indoors playing with Keaton while Sharaun nursed another pregnancy migraine.  Saturday I finally got the bike out and did the first real ride since Spring started, clocking in a chilly seventeen miles around town – I love the trail system here.  A good weekend, overall.

In the late 80s my family packed up and moved from Southern California to Central Florida.  At the the time Florida seemed to me to be about as far removed from California as was possible (I guess I wasn’t entirely wrong, after all).  I had just finished the fifth-grade when we left and would spend most of that summer before my first year of middle school living in a condominium on the beach while my folks looked for a new house to move our family into.  The condo one of many in a large multi-floor building which was laid-out similar to an apartment complex.  It was literally right on the beach and had a large shared pool.  My brother and I spent every waking moment in the water, going back and forth between the beach and the pool from sun-up to sun-down seven days a week.  Neither of us knew a single soul in Florida, and so that summer we were each other’s best friend.

I suspect if one was born inside Disneyland and lived his whole childhood there that even such a wonderful and seemingly ceaselessly fun place would eventually become boring.  This weakness of human nature is what found my brother and I, even in the midst of our ocean-side paradise, looking for “something to do.”  We’d jump from the first floor landing into the grass; we’d use the elevator as a mechanical plaything; and we’d run around ringing doorbells and ditching.  That last one was one of our more enjoyed time-killers.  We’d have to each be at the door when the bell was rung, and then we’d both hightail it down to the elevator and try and get away before anyone could catch us.  It quickly became a close third to the pool and beach in terms of activities from which we derived enjoyment.

Around the time we started playing our regular games of ding-dong-ditch, we also began noticing a couple new kids around the complex.  I myself on the cusp of that particular brand of sixth-grade manhood was quick to notice that they were both females, and neither too hard on the eyes.  I judged them both a little older than me.  We quickly learned that their condo was near dead-above us on the floor above ours.  Some evenings we’d see them out on their porch hanging their feet through the railing and talking to each other.  We sit below on ours and listen, watching their legs swing in time.  They spoke some foreign language and laughed a lot.  Oh, and they knew we were down there listening, too. Once we realized our cover was blown we went for broke.

The girls’ condo became our favorite doorbell-ditching target.  We’d hit it at least once a day, maybe more.  We almost got caught several times and the girls were definitely on to us.  We’d see them around the pool and down at the beach and they’d smile and point and laugh.  We’d pretend not to notice but, at least for me (maybe not my younger, female-indifferent, brother), it was all some terribly exciting one-upped game of chase-around-the-playground.  After a while we became truly friendly, hanging out together as  a group of four.  They were from Canada and spoke French primary but both had excellent English.  Our folks met their folks (they were cousins) and our families struck up a real friendship, even joining each other for dinner at times.  When we finally found a house and their vacation’s-end saw them headed back north we exchanged addresses and promised to write.

And write I did.  Except… the passing time and my sixth-grade hormones made seemed to warp my memories.  I remembered our relationship in some 60%/40% mix of fantasy and reality, and wrote letters that were embarrassingly hot and heavy.  I’d send Penthouse Forum -esque missives detailing the, ahem, things we would do when we saw each other again. I don’t think I ever got one response back during my campaign of written sexual assault, and I can only remember writing three or so letters to begin with.  Then, maybe two years later my dad told me that our Canuck friends were going to be back in town, in the very same condo, and they’d invited us over for dinner.  Now a few years younger, but not a whit more experienced, I was embarrassed to death at the thought of facing the girl.

Turns out the French in the Canadians extends beyond language alone, as one of the dinner table topics were the torrid letters I’d sent years earlier.  The adults seemed to get a great laugh out of it all – while I was able to brush it off surprisingly well considering.

I can’t remember ever seeing her again.


she’d do if the sun exploded

Just beginning to write and it’s 11pm. It’s an ambitious topic so I have doubts I can finish.

Back in the late eighties, the days when I wasn’t much more than a pimple-stricken hair-trigger-hard-on of a lad, all the hottest girls wore something called Malibu Musk. I am convinced that marketing studies were done for this product. Focus groups made up of newly-minted teenage boys. A demographic wholly unfamiliar with anything sexual yet for whom hormones are suddenly richly in bloom. Confused teenage boys who begin to look at the bra and panties section of mom’s JC Penney catalog in a whole new way. If I can liken this group of sexually-adrift proto-men to felines, then I posit that Malibu Musk was chemically engineered to be their catnip.

I would smell this intoxicating dollar store toilet-water on those girls in their babydoll dresses and stirrup pants and LA Gear shoes. They’d brush past me, Trapper Keepers clutched tight and filled science notes where future last-names were tested out in margins, and that scent would waft my way. This stuff was aerosol from the Gods. Gifted to earth-bound females so they could in complete innocence short-circuit developing male brains. One whiff and the neural pathways were immediately re-wired, cortex to gonads, an even swap for driver’s seat.

I fell in love with most girls in middle school. It’s really easy to do. Happens to boys often in those years. I would sit in class and visually move from chair to chair down the rows, stopping to contemplate each girl in turn. Would I take that one? No? What about if the sun exploded and I had eight minutes to live and she said it was on? What about in that case? Yeah, she’d do if the sun exploded. I hope all guys did this. Man I sure did. I had mental relations with all manner of girls when the imaginary sun exploded. Girls who wore Malibu Musk were it, though. The tops. You had the Musk and you had my heart; no supernova required. I’m yours.

I can’t even remember now what it smelled like. Probably candy. Something sweet and simple. Breezy. Maybe something guys of an age would like; Now and Laters or Skittles. Later in high school the Gods struck again with that insidious pear-smelling stuff from Victoria’s Secret. Ubiquitous on attractive girls of the early nineties it was Malibu Musk reborn into a higher caste, having left behind its lowly former instantiation and been reborn. Oh but it still titillated just the same, still lured and taunted and floated you along by the nose like the pies in windows do in cartoons.

Apparently they still sell the stuff; I should get some for Sharaun as a joke. A joke that I’ll implore her to humor me in, that is.

Turns out I lowballed it. I couldn’t concentrate to write. Sharaun had the TV on so I threw on the headphones and listened to something abstract to keep my attention on the laptop. I don’t know, maybe I did it justice. I wanted to write about Malibu Musk.


run over by the wheel

I'll paint rainbows...When I was a kid, I used to hold my poo.

I thought of a bunch of different ways to start this entry… but that one above ended up winning out.  Simple, true, and gets right to the point.  But, to flesh out the statement with a little more info, let me expound.  ‘Round about the age of seven or so, and right through to the age of, oh, I don’t know, maybe as old as ten, I valued my no-pooping activity much more than the time that actually pooping stole from it.  What I mean is, instead of stopping what I was doing and going inside to use the toilet when nature told me to, I’d “hold it.”

This holding it amounted to, and I know, this is going to be funny, stopping what I was doing (yes), sitting down on the ground with my legs tucked underneath me, and physically holding in the bowel movement.  If I remember correctly, physiologically this meant I was going through the biological motions yet just not allowing my efforts to, ahh, bear fruit.  What I mean here, put a bit more coarsely, is that I would be sitting there and bearing down, but using my legs and feet to prevent anything from really happening.

I know this is disgusting, but I promise I’m telling you for a reason (if “setting up a blog” is a “reason” these days).  “Disgusting” would be word enough for just forcibly holding in poo, but I know that, certainly, this practice had to have some additional impact.  I mean, shunting your poo into a clenched and stopped-up bum can’t be a nice tidy way to delay a bowel movement.  I assume my underwear bore the brunt of this practice.  Thinking back, I can remember my mom complaining about my less-than-clean drawers.  To be clear, I wasn’t “having accidents” or anything… I just think I was leaving a bit more… residual… than a normal youngster might.  In the middle school locker room, we used to give guys with “skidmarks” a hard time – I imagine that my drawers during this time may have made good targets (I’d given up the practice long before middle school).

So why am I telling you this?  Well, because… the other day, in the middle of getting frustrated with Keaton for not wanting to go sit on the potty, I caught myself wondering, “What’s the deal with not wanting to go to the bathroom?  Why is this so hard?”  And then… as I was on about my third, “No, it doesn’t matter if you don’t want to, you’re going to try and use the potty before we leave!,” I remembered my old days of poo-holding.  How I never wanted to leave my friends or stop what I was doing to take a potty timeout; how I could get by with just a couple seconds sitting on the ground instead, and it all made sense.  Karma.  I’m being punished by the Wheel.

I still made her use the potty before we left, though.  She went, too.  Go figure.