Mua ha ha! Such a tragic title for a blog post, eh? Can’t you just hear the dulcet tones of Don Henley right now?

This is the e-e-e-e-end of the innocence…

Anyway, when I heard yesterday that Hugh Hefner died I was put in mind of my childhood.

Stay with me 😉

I was specifically put in mind of how my friends and I would do just about anything to get our hands on a Playboy magazine. Begging, lying, cheating, stealing? Pfft… we’d have crawled over broken glass.

Despite that we were looking for smut, it really was an innocent time of my life. Curiosity drove us more than anything else, particularly in those early years before we even knew what we were looking at. And I guess that’s the definition of innocence, isn’t it? After all, can you really blame a pre-teen boy for desperately wanting to know what was between the pages of what the older boys called a nudie mag?

I guess where I’m going is here: it seems to me the world was innocent then, too. When I was a kid there were so many things that were off limits or taboo. If you wanted to know about certain things, you had to put in the work, you know? You had to go through tests. You had to experience shame. You had to sacrifice.

You had to wait four to six weeks for delivery!

In any case, I couldn’t just walk into a store and buy a copy of Oui at twelve years old, could I? No. I mean, even if they’d let me buy the mag, where would I come up with the money? I spent the afternoon collecting pop cans and only came up with ninety cents. So I was reduced to loitering around the magazine rack, eyeballs darting this way and that, before I pulled back the black plastic that covered the good parts of the magazine covers before running like hell from fear and embarrassment.

Now I can just type ‘naked women’ into Google.

I mean, we’ve literally gone from a kid like me having to get on his bike, ride to a store, go inside, hang out by mags while pretending to be looking candy bars or something, check the clerk’s attention level, sneak a peak at Playboy, walk away, creep back over, sneak a peak at Penthouse, go for High Society, too, and so on until the clerk yells out, “Buy something or scram,” at which point you hightailed it out of there because God forbid you actually purchase that Rock & Rye after the clerk knows you’re a perv… to Google: naked women.

We’ve gone from sneaking out to a tree fort where the mags are stashed, pages essentially ruined from (ahem) rain water to peruse the same old pics that we’ve seen dozens if not hundreds of times… to Google: naked women.

Mom, I have a confession to make. I am the one who hid the naked lady pics between the bathroom mirror and the wall behind, making it less risky for me to go in and come out with the contraband. Just keep it where it’s most useful, eh? But now I can just Google: naked women.

I guess it’s just the way things are, and I guess I’m pretty happy to have grown up in a more innocent time. Maybe I’m just a old crotchety dad who’s looking back on his younger days the way old crotchety dads tend to do, but I feel like those rites of passage are forever gone, and I wonder what can replace them?

Maybe I’ll Google it.

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