I was talking to a mother of one of my piano students today, and she informed me that her son, Dylan, did something pretty stupid. Dylan was in PE class at a local middle school here in our town, and one of the boys in a group of guys that were gathered around in a huddle had a cell phone with Internet hook-up which was being put to high tech usage by surfing for pornography, and having successfully found a website with some great photos, the owner of this cell phone was proudly and generously sharing it with his buddies.
The cell phone finally made its rounds and was passed to Dylan, who took a good hard look at the image of a woman that I am sure was naked and quite tantalizing for a young boy in the sixth grade, but Dylan, being a well-raised, proper young man, screamed out, "My God in Heaven! This is porn! Johnny has porn on his cell phone!"
Then he started running around screaming, "My eyes! My eyes! They just saw porno! My God in Heaven! Johnny has porno on his phone!"
The other boys tried to shush Dylan, who being either low on testosterone, more moral than the other boys, or wired in the brain very differently than the others, saw this as an affront to the school rules. (I choose the latter.)
The owner of the cell phone with the offensive site was severely punished, as he should be. However, Dylan's mother believes she has as serious a problem as the mother of the boy who is in trouble, and she is now concerned not only for Dylan's reputation as a normal, healthy boy, but for his safety as well. There is nothing more frustrated than a curious boy deprived of his visual, carnal knowledge. As any elementary teacher worth their salt can tell you, many boys are visual learners.
I think it is a wonderful story and reveals the private stupidity of boys that is not the common, public perspective. Dylan's mistake was a double-edged sword. He said the truth. That's good. On the other hand, he is now the Porno Narc of his middle school and will never be shown any dirty pictures in secret again. His eyes will only gaze at math problems, social studies dilemmas, progress reports, and cafeteria food trays. He will pay for his stupidity for years. First as a geek. Then as a shunned butt of jokes. Last, and worst of all, the bottom dredges of society's outcast, a morally upright young man.
However, the mother of my piano student has no idea what stupid is. Stupid is as stupid does, and your truly, namely me, can top that easily.
My first piece of evidence in the case of Me vs. Common Sense is as follows:
I was in the eighth grade, and one of the boys had a photograph and a real snapshot of a woman's vagina. I knew it was a vagina because everyone said so, and the boys in the huddle made racy comments as it was passed from eager face to eager face.
"Yep. There she is. Wow!"
"I'm roundin' third and headin' fer home plate, and there it is!"
"You got dat right! It's a beautiful sight."
"Wow! Who is this? I'm in love."
"Who cares? Look at that. Whoa baby."
"Bada bing. Bada boom!"
"Ooh-eee. Ooh la la. Bing bang, walla walla bing bang!"
I was then handed the warm, wet photo and took a look at it. To tell you the honest truth, I hadn't envisioned the vagina in its explicit state of reality. To me it was more of an unspoken, secret treasure of pleasure that I would eventually wait impatiently for for many, many, many more years. Then, when suddenly presented to me, I took a look at it and thought, "What in the hell is this? I can't tell what this is. Which end is up?"
That is when I made the terrible mistake of turning the photo upside down and taking a different view, a perspective if you will. That didn't make sense either, and I wondered if perhaps the cameraman had made a terrible mistake. "Was this a close-up? Yes, that's what it was. Wait a minute. This is a real, real close-up. Maybe it's upside down."
I turned the photo over again to take a different peek, and I was still confused. That's when the laughter and the hooting and hollering began. I realized that by turning the photo over and over again, I had exposed myself as the only one in the group who did not recognize the view.
To this day I blame the cameraman and his awful lens and his out of focus, close-up distortion of beauty. I learned that when I'm not sure about anything, it's best to just exclaim, "Sweet mother of pearl!" You''ll hear me say it a lot.