Aaah, Youth

WHEN I WAS ABOUT 14 or so, I worked in a pony keg. That was the Midwest’s precursor to the 7-11. It was a little hole-in-the-wall at the corner of Hyde Park Avenue and Edwards Road called Doc’s Pony Keg, because it was owned by a partnership of doctors. I wasn’t allowed to handle the beer or wine, of course, (and, at the time, hard liquor was a state monopoly), but I did everything else, from sorting returnable bottles and sweeping the floors to stocking the coolers.

The counter guys were usually either young guys just starting out — barely 21 — or the Potential Serial Killer — mid-40’s, stubbled, poorly dressed and rumpled, world-weary. And there were the boys from the neighborhood. Would-be tough guys and genuine street thugs who’d stop in for a pop or beef jerky and exchange a few bons mots with the counter guy. We bottle boys were permitted, all chores being done, to hang in the corner and drink it all in.

I tell you that to tell you this.

One hot summer’s evening, the topic of conversation was a then-new book called The Harad Experiment. It was, at the time, a seven-day wonder, although these days you wonder why. And one of the boys piped up with a joke:

“How do you get rid of a hard-on?”

Of course, everybody had their own solution to the problem, but the canonical answer was, “Don’t fuck with it.”

That phrase has stuck with me, lo, these forty-even years.

This past week, the nation was greeted with the spectre of possibly one of the most idiotic, insultingly sexist, juvenile political ads ever cast upon the waters of public discourse. Surely by now you’ve heard or heard of this witling, Lena Dunham and her incredibly stupid plug for Obama.

If you give up your virginity to such a man, you will spend the next four years knowing most deeply that you have been most thoroughly fucked. Hard. Without benefit of orgasm.

And my most serious advice to you, as you consider your vote, would be “Don’t fuck with that man.”

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