And speaking of Playboy, I have two quick stories on the subject. I’m sure I’ve told both before, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Plus, recycling is a good thing. Right? Right.
Back during the early high school era Rocky was in the hospital for a few days. The episode is still a mystery to most of us, and falls directly under the heading “A Long Story.” Weird shit, man.
Anyway, a group of us were going to visit him at Thomas Memorial, and someone said we should probably take a gift of some kind. But what do you buy a guy like Rocky? Hmmm… let’s see. Hey, how about pornography!
So, it was decided we’d present him with a copy of Penthouse. You know, to help with the healing process, or whatever. And somehow Steve was given the assignment of going into the convenience store to purchase the magazine.
He didn’t want to do it, because the mags were behind the counter, and you had to ask the cashier for them. You were forced to enunciate the name of the periodical in this place, out loud in the open air. You couldn’t just get a Sports Illustrated and a National Lampoon, and nonchalantly sandwich the smut in between.
I offered to go with him, to lend moral support. But when we walked through the door I peeled off and pretended to be highly interested in a Bubble Yum display, about twenty yards away.
Steve walked toward the counter, and the cashier was someone we sorta knew. He was a few years older than us, and completely wild. The dude spent several years in prison, but was always pretty nice to me. …The potential for unpleasantness was always there, though.
This didn’t make the situation any easier. Steve was undoubtedly hoping for some faceless stranger, not a person we knew. He was sweating bullets, and I started making gestures that said, “Go ahead… just do it.” You know, like it was no big deal. Heh.
Steve swallowed, stepped to the counter, and said, “Yeah, could I get one of those, um, Playboys?” I guess Playboy was an easier request than Penthouse?
And the big Hoss Cartwright cashier said, “Playboy? What are you going to do with that? Go home and JACK OFF?!”
He put much emphasis on the last two words, practically shouting them. And every head in the store turned and looked at Steve, who was now about to curl up into a ball on the floor.
I walked straight out of the store with no expression on my face, and buckled over with laughter once I was far enough away. And couldn’t stop for a good long time.
A few minutes later Steve came out, covered in sweat and muttering the word “motherfucker” over and over again.
Funny as hell.
Another time, years later, Toney and I were in an airport somewhere, waiting for our flight to board. We were browsing inside a newsstand kind of place, on separate sides of the store.
I was looking at the mags, and noticed a big rack of Hustlers and Barely Legals, and that sort of thing. Hmmm… I thought. I took a look around, to make sure nobody (Toney) was looking, and picked up one of the highbrow publications.
And the entire shelf fell off the wall. It made a hell of a racket, and I was left standing there with a Swank in my hand, and a pile of pornography piled around my feet.
Again, every head turned, including my wife’s. My face and neck went burgundy, and a few people started chuckling. One guy smiled and shook his head in sympathy, and I don’t think Toney stopped laughing until we got back to Atlanta.
Shit, I’m cringing right now, just thinking about it…
And that’s all I have for today, boys and girls. For a Question I guess we can just go with incredibly embarrassing episodes you’ve encountered in public. They don’t necessarily have to involve porn, just any situation where you felt like crawling into a crack in the floor.
And I’ll be back tomorrow, with more of this stuff.
See ya then.