I fear that kids today take their porn for granted, as if pictures of smut just grow on trees. See, when I was a kid, a little Hoare if you will, I sought out and coveted porn like a pirate does gold. And now, hell, I think I saw a 9-year-old sipping a latte while watching porn on his iPhone the other day.
Times done changed, my friends.
These days, accessing pornography is as easy as finding out what time a movie is playing. A sign of the times if ever there was one. But if you’ll be so kind, allow me to romanticize a simpler time, a magical time. The days when finding even one wrinkled page of a dirty magazine was the ultimate adolescent victory.
Since I’m nearly 32, that time was the late ’80s/early ’90s. Bush 1.0 was in the White House. TGIF was on my television. And, sadly for lil’ Pete, boobs were nowhere to be found… yet. See, I learned in short order that as far as hunting for pictures of naked ladies went — my house was a dead end. I only had basic cable. My family had yet to get the much-talked-about AOL. And as far as hidden Playboys went, all my searches proved to be unfruitful.
What was a kid to do?
Go to Barry’s house, that’s what!
My best friend at the time was a kid named Barry, and let me tell you, ol’ Barry’s house was a naked lady goldmine! Let’s go down the list. Barry had HBO. That meant hours upon hours of Taxi Cab Confessions. Jackpot! His dad crudely hid a huge stack of early ’70s Penthouse mags in a crawl space. Double jackpot! And then there was the coup de grâce: Barry’s family had the internet!
So when his mom wasn’t on the phone, therefore blocking the internet connection (remember that ancient hurdle?), Barry and I would troll AOL lesbian chat rooms. That’s right, AOL lesbian chat rooms. Why lesbians? Why not! So like two prepubescent con artists, Barry and I would spend hours upon hours trying to hoodwink lesbians into sending us naked pictures. Did we get them? Rarely. And when we did, they were surely fakes. But we gave not one sh*t. They were pictures of boobs, damn it!
But I needed more. Casa de Barry was a mere tease. I needed some to call my own. I was desperate. So desperate, in fact, that I resorted to thievery. And I’m not talking about some Ocean’s 11-style heist. Nope. My style was a little less smooth. For example, when I obtained my first porn VHS at age 13, I boosted it from Coconuts, a now defunct chain store. And when I stole the tape — an Anna Nicole Smith Playboy Centerfold video — it was a real clusterf*ck of an operation.
Fueled entirely by overflowing hormones, not an underlying desire to steal, I ran into the store with all the grace of someone who had just been set on fire. Then I proceeded to nervously smash my entire awkward little body into the dirty video rack, effectively make every single person in the store stare at me. Then, once I blatantly grabbed what I needed, I bolted out laughing to myself like a serial killer.
That was the first of many experiences in my life in which my genitals made me act like a moron.
But the ends justified the means. I got a porno tape! (Note: The tape later disappeared from my dresser, leading me to believe that my mom had discovered and disposed of it. Touché, mom.)
And there were other similar instances. I once crawled into a weird drainpipe where it was rumored that some of the older kids in town hid Hustlers. A friend and I literally drew blueprints and planned an escape route in order to get Drew Barrymore’s Playboy out of a Borders Books. And then there was the most frustrating thing in history — trying to decipher a nipple from a knee while watching the scrambled Spice channel.
If you’re over the age of 21, you likely not only feel my pain, but have countless stories of your own. So, kids, I beg of you, appreciate the ease at which you access pornography.
For you, the present truly is a gift.
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