Monday, July 25, 2011

One Hustler to rule them all

           

One summer when I was thirteen years old, my good buddy came back from a family vacation to New York and called me to announce he was going to let me in on the deal of the century.  Now this Mormon family vacation of course typically included the Palmyra visitations and the Church History tour.  Ironically, however, my friend took a little bit of a detour off the Joseph Smith carny and bought back an unprecedented souvenir from such family outings as these: an honest to God Hustler.  How he pulled it off at age 13 I'm still not sure, but his ingenuity was my good fortune, and he decided to let me have it for 20 bucks.
          He gave me a preview, and this particular issue featured a pair of Swedish blondes in a sauna.  I looked at those naughty Swedes apparently determined to peek at each other's kidneys and knew that this magazine had to be mine no matter what the cost.  20 bucks?  I threw the money down on the carpet.  The Hustler was all mine!
        It did not take very long though, for the novelty to wear off and the power of this magazine to begin to shake me to the core.  It was a thing of evil.   I took it out in my back yard and built a small fire.  I tried to burn it, but the effort was half hearted.   My friend heard of this desecration and came back to my home and repossessed it.  But he too could not shake the power of this magazine.   He gave it to some friends, and they too were swept up.   They threw it in a creek in the gully behind my friend's house, and apparently we were all free from this magazine forever.
     But no--my friend felt its call and he went down to the creek to search, and lo and behold, the magazine was found---wet, half burnt, but still very readable with some surprisingly good articles.  Eventually, though, he could not handle it and returned it to me.   I myself couldn't handle it anymore and buried it in my back yard.  Six months later, my friend came around and made me unbury it.   What happened to it after that I can't be sure.  My friend still has all of his fingers so...

        Despite what you may or may not think about porno being degrading to women, at the time there was nothing more beautiful and electric than exploring those women's bodies for the very first time.  For being so evil, it sure felt good.  In the end, there was one particularily nasty event that I must also recount involving this magazine's amazing powers.   This magazine made the rounds through just about everyone in the circle of friends.  Derek was one of those, and he was a thrify young man who proved the merits of the Boy Scout motto.  Anyone whose perused a Hustler knows the magazine has dozens of small advertisements printed on cardboard--so Derek would keep some of these in his wallet for improved portability.  Can't access your porno on a campout?  Bring along some of these handy cutouts and you can still enjoy a perusal anytime, any place.  Anyways, we were on a scout trip where he brought out his cut outs, and somebody else came into the tent and found them.   Well, they weren't mine and I said so, until finally Derek had to come clean.  But he couldn't just say he found them and leave it at that.  He had to tell the whole damn story.  "Jerry bought it in New York!  And he sold it to Kevin for 20 bucks!"

Man, the whole teacher's quorum was now in on it.  And I can't tell you about how that echoed in my head for months :  "20 bucks!  20 bucks!   20 bucks!"

It was a lot of  money to shell out for a 3.95 cover price.  :(   But those Swedes!

I'll never forget what one of the quorum members said on the way home.  "Man, it's one thing to look at that kind of stuff if you're just one of the rest of us.  But in leadership!  That's really unforgivable."
       Yep, he was talking about me, none other than the Teacher's Quorum President, and one of the youngest Teacher Quorum Presidents to date.  He was an older member who may have felt passed over, but his words struck home.  So add that to the already formidable guilt that seethed and surged around those Swedish sauna
buddies...  I can't believe that this is healthy for anyone.  I don't know what I expect here though.  Certainly hard core porno for teenagers isn't necessarily a good thing.  But I do know that the exacerbation of the guilt perpetuated and re perpetuated in meetings and interviews did a lot more harm than good.  I know that together with stories of how "making out" was equally sinful perpetuated to a deep fear of women, and left me not even kissing a girl until I was nineteen and in college.
         Would it have been so terrible of a father talking about the inevitable porno that would turn up...and saying that the feeling surrounding it were exciting, perhaps immoral but not anything that doesn't happen to just about all young men.   If it happened to me and my straight laced friends I am kinda assuming that it's pretty commonplace.   It's not the end of the world that you looked at it, were fascinated by it.  It doesn't make you an overall bad person.  Along with cautioning and guiding to better outlets of teenage sexual angst, they could have said that and saved a whole lot of emotional and pyschological carnage in that Evil Hustler's wake.

2 comments:

  1. Great post! The guilt is one of the worst things the church does to kids.

    Oh hey, I didn't kiss until I was nineteen and in college too! My first kiss was some random guy in Salt Lake nightclub though, so still sort of scandalous.

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