Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Memories of an Ill-Spent Youth

I'm still down in Florida, engaging in Sales-Meeting-type behavior, which leaves even less time for blogging than usual. (Though I did just catch up on my editorial cartoons -- there was a bumper crop of Osama-is-dead stuff that I hadn't gotten through yet -- and set a bunch of posts to go up tomorrow at Editorial Explanations.) So, instead of new content, here's something old, about which I now have deeply mixed feeling, since my older son is now 13 and I don't think he knows where my equivalent "dirty bits" are. On the other hand, he has been on the Internet, which is probably much worse. I'll have to ask him about it in, oh, ten or fifteen years.

This is another snippet resurrected from the Straight Dope Message Board; a thread there in 2005 asked the question "What books did you read for the 'dirty bits' when you were young?" I wandered somewhat from the topic, but here's what I wrote then:

My parents had a copy of Guy Talese's Thy Neighbor's Wife in a small bookcase out in the den. I discovered it at the age of eleven or so, and it was very informative reading for a young boy. Of course, I then expected life to be like a '60s California wife-swapping ring, but that was a small price to pay.

In the same room there was a larger bookcase, with glass doors. It had a lock, but was nearly always unlocked. On the shelves were the usual '70s and '80s bestsellers -- Arthur Hailey, James Clavell, etc. I didn't pay much attention to it. And then, one day, I realized the books on one shelf sat slightly farther forward than the others. So, when no one else was home, I looked behind those books and found Anais Nin's Delta of Venus. It practically scorched my hands, and I dug it out as often as I possibly could.

Those two might be a bit off the subject for this conversation, since they're nearly all "dirty bits," but they are the books I remember fondly from my youth. (And also learning where my father kept the Playboys, around the same time.)

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