Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Things That Impress You When You’re 14

The summer I was 14 going on 15, I was deeply taken with a boy several years older than me, let’s call him “Tim.”

Tim was six feet tall and fit, with blue eyes and shaggy brown hair that male pattern baldness could never tear asunder. He listened to Primus and Nine Inch Nails and Toad the Wet Sprocket; wore flannel shirts and cargo shorts (it was the early 90’s, remember); and hailed from an exotic, mountainous location west of the Mississippi known to me only from cowboy lore as “Colorado.”

Tim and I would have long and profound conversations about Friendship, School, The Man, and Music while watching fireflies late at night, and he once wrote me a long note praising our profound soul connection and ending with something like: “For someone who's only 15, you have 19 years of experience in thought.”

Swoon.

Oh, there was nothing untoward going on between us, beyond harmless flirtation on Tim’s part and unrequited puppy love on mine. He had a healthy lineup of mature, buxom women whom he dated in rapid succession and whom I can only assume more than satisfied his “needs.” 


He did, however, cheerfully gift to me one of his worn-in, chambray button-down shirts from The Gap as a cast-off consolation prize. And I wore it for over a year, always carefully studying the label that bore Tim's name, in Tim's distinctive handwriting, as I re-read his note to me---immortalized in a tattered, purple, spiral-bound notebook---over and over again.

Tim did a lot of impressive things, but one thing in particular that really impressed me occurred one hot July day on a beach somewhere in Maine. That day, Tim took the opportunity to reveal a hidden talent, which turned out to be sculpting a giant dick and balls in the sand. Not since the Greco-Roman period has a greater piece of art been forged in the Western Hemisphere, I thought at the time. But not everyone appreciated Tim’s artistry, as there's no accounting for taste in this world.

An elderly gentleman, enraged at the “profanity” of Tim’s sculpture, marched over with purpose and began kicking the dick and balls destructively, announcing that this was “a family beach, dammit.” Rather than arouse anger in Tim, this heinous act of censorship and under-appreciation of his artwork seemed to amuse him! He just stood idly by, smiling and muttering under his breath, “There goes the shaft . . . whoa, there goes the head . . . oh no, not the balls,” with each piece of carefully-crafted male sand-anatomy that the old man flattened with his bare, wrinkly, old, bluish-white foot. 

Truly, I could not have been more impressed with the entire display.

Years later, I attempted to stalk Tim on social media to no avail. His net-print is remarkably light, although I believe he might now be a reality TV show producer living in Los Angeles. 

Whatever he’s doing or wherever he is, Tim lives on in sepia-toned memory, as Something That Impressed Me When I Was 14.

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