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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Not Just a Fuzzy Navel

I think that it’s past time to reclassify criminal charges, specifically in the sex offender arena. I say this because teenagers are being charged with possession and distribution of child pornography when they e-mail pictures of their anatomy, or someone else’s anatomy, to people who don’t take kindly to that kind of thing. This action, termed “sexting,” is destroying the lives of kids who are just being kids. After they are released from detention, they have to be on the national registry of sex offenders. Generally this means it’s tough to find a job or housing or get accepted into a college. In short, they are pretty much guaranteed a life of misery. For emailing a picture of their naughty parts. It’s insane.

These people are not sex offenders, and they are certainly not predators, so it’s high time for them to be given a new title. “Obnoxious Digital Idiot” comes to mind. Instead of doing time and not being able to live within X number of feet of a school or playground or Toys R Us, they should just get spanked. They are kids. Maybe they should be brought to the front of the auditorium during assemblies and ridiculed and shamed, or pelted with pies. Something painful but not life-destroying.

Mercifully, I was an adolescent before technology got to be so sophisticated. Therefore, we had to present our naughty bits in public. If I had a nickel for every time I pressed my youthful buttocks against the window of a car, or saw the same thing, I’d have, oh, I don’t know, a couple of bucks, maybe. Pressing your butt up against a window was far better than simple mooning. Specifically, it expanded the size of your ass exponentially, like flattening a hamburger on the grill. We referred to this mooning variant as “Pressed Hams.” Kids love to be outrageous and push the envelope, and back in the 70’s, mooning, which dates back several decades before then, was about as far as the envelope would go. Brave, well-endowed women would frequently do the same thing with their breasts. We called them “Pressed Melons.”

The perfect car for mooning was the Volkswagen Squareback. A miniature station wagon, the Squareback offered an unobstructed piece of flat glass that was the perfect height for kneeling down and smashing your cheeks against. There was no back shelf to get in the way. Sure you could moon without pressing your butt against glass, but it wasn’t nearly as shocking or repulsive, which were the goals.

Luckily, my mother owned a Volkswagen Squareback, as did my best friend, Julie. We mostly just used her car, because the car I owned was a Beetle, and there wasn’t a car less suited for mooning than a VW bug. Our idea of ecstasy was driving two Squarebacks, side by side, slowly, across the Courtney Campbell Causeway, preventing anyone from passing us. This forced both lanes to look at up to six asses, and possibly a pair of breasts, pressed against clear glass. Eventually we’d pull off and let people pass so we could refresh our audience of repulsed octogenarians who were just trying to get back to their condos in Clearwater, for crying out loud.

It was all fun and games, and no one arrested us for being sex offenders. We were just Obnoxious Idiots, the Analog version.

Like most acts of immaturity, there comes a time where something forces us to reconsider our antics and find something new and hopefully even more offensive to get involved with.

The point of melon or ham pressing was the surprise factor. A bare ass showing up when someone least expected it was what made self-exposure all worthwhile.

We were at Sand Key beach in Clearwater. After several hours of putting ourselves at risk for melanoma later in life, we were packing up Faith’s Chevy Nova with our towels, kites, coolers, and snacks. I quietly slipped into the back seat, pulled down my pants, stretched my ass for maximum coverage, and smashed it against the window. Seconds later, Stacey approached the door and burst out laughing, pointing, and making the rest of my friends come over and see. We were so used to receiving just a non-response from our peers to this behavior, so when I heard the rest of them laughing, too, I started to wonder. Why were they so tickled at this pair of hams, and why was this lame act creating so much attention?

“What’s so funny?” I shouted from inside the locked car.

I was told, and quickly pulled up my pants. I was laughing, too, but not in a good way, but in a wanting-to-cry kind of way.

This action was referred to then, and probably still is now, as The Lint Incident. I tried to comfort myself and lessen the embarrassment by realizing it could have been worse. A lot worse. It could have just as easily been The Dingleberry Incident. And the possibility of that ever happening was great, given the extra blessing of hair I had in that area. If that ever occurred, it would be grounds for suicide. I would never live it down. Lint was tough enough. My mooning career was officially over. I retired, a victim of my own “criminal” behavior.

From then on I was either the driver or the one who Windexed off the butt prints made on the dusty windows of the cars. I never went to prison, and I didn’t have my life destroyed. I’d learned my lesson through public humiliation. (Hey Wiley, there’s a sign on every dryer in the laundry that says, “Scrape Lint Trap After Each Load. Take the hint!) Nothing works better on an adolescent than being called out and humiliated in public. And that’s exactly what should happen to these “sexters.”

To me, “sexting” is a lot less harmful than mooning or ham pressing. Usually these pictures are sent from and to young peers who are amused or mildly titillated by seeing a digital image of someone’s naughty bits. And the best thing about it is that all sext messages come with a Delete key. Not the case with live ham and melon pressing. In a speeding car, you were displaying your goods to strangers, who, for the most part, would just wince. But it was a safety hazard. People could be shocked and end up driving off a bridge. I’m thinking this could have been the event leading to Chappaquiddick. Oh, Miss Kopechne, put that awaaaaaaaay!

Live nudity is much more traumatic than digital nudity. Ask any non-professional nudist if they’ve ever been to a nude beach. If they say yes, ask them if they’ve gone more than once. The fact of the matter is, the majority of us do not have bodies worthy of display. That’s why there are pictures. And pictures can be airbrushed or edited, or at least the bad ones can be deleted before sharing. I’m willing to bet that of all the racy self-portraits individuals have e-mailed or texted throughout the world, not a single one displayed lint. And that’s saying a lot.

With new technology come new challenges, especially legal challenges. Some of those challenges should include revising punishments to fit the crimes. I would be devastated if a child of mine were deemed a sex offender just for doing something stupid. Therefore I am writing my congressman to introduce a new bill. Once it gets passed, like any sex-related laws, such as the Amber Alert, this one will have a catchy name, which I am suggesting to be called the Lint Law. Anyone caught sending lewd, underaged photos via electronic media shall be subjected to watch a two-hour PowerPoint presentation (eyes taped open) that displays lint in very aged areas where lint, or anything else for that matter, should never be seen.

Just don’t ask me to pose. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have clothes in the dryer that I need to remove and put on hangers. And yes, I’ll scrape the lint trap.


  1. Bless your hairy ass for writing about the square back. Life was good even though I didn't even realize it.

  2. My Dad's 1973 Ford Torino Stationwagon. Seven valid windows for full exposure. But Dad knew a butt cheek print better than Tonto, so we never dared.

    Love the story and the memories.