Much of my childhood was spent in the space between getting in, and getting out of trouble. It’s where I thrived, and its where I nurtured friendships that I still hold dear to this day. I learned how to dig a hole for the purpose of burying one of my sisters Barbie dolls far before I would have learned the skill for a higher purpose. In fact, there is absolutely no telling how many items I have buried in the Georgia clay that surrounded the house where I grew up. Perhaps one day I’ll go back and ask the current owner if I can have a dig for old times sake. This is of course the South, so I know the fella.
By the time I was in 5th grade I was a fairly good aim with a rock. Me and my buddies would sneak back to the recycling center after Baseball practice and line up beer bottles on an old log in front of Smith’s Garage. Greens were worth so much, Browns were worth so much, and you pretty much garnered all the points if you sacked up and chunked a rock through one of the windows in the garage. I did that a lot. Shouldn’t have, but did.
To this day I know nothing of Mr. Smith except for the fact that at one point he had a garage. At the time it was old and worn down – and hell this was the early 90’s, so one can only imagine what kind of shape its in now as I doubt anything has been done about it. I’d go back and check myself, but they moved the recycling center so there wouldn’t be any bottles for me to bust. Whats the point in that? Nope, didn’t know anything about the man but we used to swear late at night that we would see his red eye balls staring at us from inside one of the half-broken windows as we sat there throwing rocks and kicking over ant hills. Red eyes.. thats the type of bullshit you can only get from a 9 year old.
Another cool feature of this recycling center was that it had a huge bin full of just magazines. This was before the internet mind you , so free literature of any kind was a particularly big deal. Sure, we could have gone to the library, but the last time I checked you couldn’t break shit there. You see a pattern? We used to love finding the old Car magazines. We’d sit it there for hours looking at concept cars dreaming about what the future was going to be like for us. We’d talk about which cars we were gonna have when we were our dad’s age completely unaware of the fact that you had to have, like, a job and stuff. We’d talk about which brand was the best, (and since thats determined by whatever your Papaw had) I of course thought it was GMC. (I ended up driving that Truck later in life, but thats for another time). “Yep, GMC is the best and I don’t really give much of a damn what the rest of yuns have to say!” People always sound more redneck in the past. Thats just Writing: 101
One day we had just finished up ball practice and the subsequent game of wall-ball that followed, so we decided to hustle down to the recycling center for our usual rounds of troublesome meddling. A buddy of mine who we will just call William for the purposes of this story had beaten us down there. We got to the magazine bin to find William staring at a magazine with his jaw somewhere near the bottom of the pile.
“What the hell are you looking at man?” one of us said.
” You guys gotta check this out!”
That’s the first time I ever laid eyes on a Playboy Magazine. Now don’t think this is going to get disgusting-it would be YEARS before any of us knew what to do with one. We just all knew we liked it. We didn’t know why, but we did. I think about that often, and I think about that fondly. The first time a sexualized thought entered my mind, and the last time one entered my mind without ruining something for me eventually. I wish I could go back and tell that kid, “Hey buddy.. keep throwing rocks at bottles. Thats all you need to do.”
For the love of God, keep throwing rocks at bottles.