I was so inspired by Channel 3 and my memories of MTV in the early-80’s, that I made a mix tape. You should follow it and listen to it while rereading all parts of Schoolhouse Porn! But who am I to tell you what to do? I’m from Reno.
I listened to the mix tape 398 times, but it wasn’t enough. So I spent $4.99 on the iMovie app, put on a ton of make-up and made a music video all on my iPhone. Voila!
There was a bed with an ugly flowered comforter, the kind sewn with fishing line instead of thread, facing a dresser with a huge mirror on it. We sat on the bed and I noticed that we were staring at ourselves, which led immediately to bouncing. We bounced for about ten minutes, making funny faces in the mirror all the while. What a cool idea to have a mirror in front of your bed! Why hadn’t I ever thought of that before?
Panting, we collapsed onto the bed. Perfect time to smoke! Eve pulled a Kool out of what looked like a wallet made especially just for cigarettes with a special pocket just for the lighter and then handed it to me. I decided if I ever take up smoking full-time I was going to get me one of those. We lit up. She put a big gold ashtray with a heavily patterned beanbag on the bottom of it for stability between us. We smoked and panted for a bit.
Then, as if a treasure trove, Eve showed me an entire wall of VHS tapes.
“Do you want to pick or me?” She was grinning like a mysterious motherfucker.
“You pick,” I said, not realizing that it didn’t really matter which of these fine films we watched, because they were all ended exactly the same.
She slid the black tape into the black VCR, turned the TV to Channel three, and then bounced back on the bed, spraying ashes and butts everywhere. She was really excited to share.
The movie opened in a diner, where some truck drivers started telling the owner a mysterious story about a door. Uh, okay. Lame. How can a movie about a door be exciting? Then it flashed back to this pretty woman with brown hair being put on a stage and then being kissed and touched by a whole bunch of other women. Ummmm girls didn’t do that to each other on The Love Boat! I was intrigued and embarrassed, but Eve seemed like this was totally normal, so I pretended like it was something I watched all the time.
The girls had huge hair pies. Even far-too-young-to-be-watching-porn-me was fully aware that a razor or ten would be in order. Then the music got all crazy, kind of like the Schoolhouse Rock! music, only funkier, when this black guy came in. He took off his clothes and OH MY GOD! Conjunction junction, so that’s your function!
So there it was, in-and-out, upside down and all around – we were watching porn. And not just porn, the best porn ever made. Eve and I smoked Kools and watched Deep Throat, Debbie Does Dallas, and The Devil in Miss Jones, to name a few. They were fascinating. I loved the stories and the sex scenes. I was fully aware I was doing something wrong, which made me want to do it even more.
When Eve’s mom and mom’s boyfriend worked swing shift, I went home after school with her. On the non-Eve days, I went to Marie’s house with similar intention. I saw little difference between watching Duran Duran and porn, after all they made me feel the same downstairs.
The only difference was I didn’t get to smoke at Marie’s house.
Adam Curry appeared on the screen next, his hair more feathered than necessary even for 1983. He introduced what he referred to as a “music video” by Duran Duran.
The images that appeared on the TV screen were in a completely different league than The Love Boat and Three’s Company. My entire body tingled. I probably blushed. The five guys on the bough of a sailboat singing about some girl named Rio were by far more tantalizing than Mr. Furley. I needed more, immediately. I needed to come over every day after school until the end of time and maybe, just maybe, my desire for men wearing more make-up than most women would be satiated.
Five hours of Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Duran Duran later, Marie’s mom drove me home.
I don’t know how I even slept that night as my world had been changed forever.
I went over to Marie’s house every single day from that day on well into 1984. Marie and I were official Duranies. My guy was Nick Rhodes, the keyboardist, and Marie was a Simon Le Bon fan. We would sit two inches from the screen when our boys came on the screen. We spent our allowances on Tiger Beat Magazines and pinned up pictures of our guys all over our rooms. We lived, ate, and breathed Nick and Simon.
That is, until Eve invited me over.
In 1984, only rich people had VCR’s. They were, like, a thousand dollars. Ironically, that’s how Eve seduced me to her apartment after school. She was the poorest kid I knew, so go figure that she was the only person I knew who had a VCR. I’d never even seen one before.
The school bell rang and we ran across the street to her Section 8 apartments. She pulled a shoestring that at one time in its life was white, although hard to believe, with two keys dangling from it from out of her sweatshirt mono-pocket.
“I’m supposed to wear it around my neck, but I don’t,” Eve claimed, with rebel chic. She was a true latchkey kid.
She unlocked the top and bottom locks and we entered her mostly-gray apartment. The smell of Kool cigarettes intermingled with sex filled my senses. Of course, at that time in my life, I only actually recognized the smell of Kools.
“My parent’s work swing-shift so they won’t be home ‘til two-thirty,” Eve said as she jimmied the lock on their bedroom door.
Her mom and mom’s boyfriend were dealers, and by dealer I mean card dealer, not drug dealer, although it wouldn’t have been much of a surprise if they were the latter as well. After all, how the hell did they afford a VCR? The kids with casino worker parents were usually left unsupervised due to the largely nighttime schedules, and therefore made really good friends to have.
The gold Master lock popped open. I wondered why anyone’s parents would lock their bedroom door, but that question was quickly answered. The gray door slid across the carpet-is-too-high-or-the-door-is-too-low tracks from obvious well-thought out craftsmanship that goes into section 8 housing. It made a thick swooshing sound.
Tune in on Monday to see what’s behind the poorly manufactured door! What could it be? Why on earth did Eve’s parents lock their bedroom door? All of these questions AND MORE will be answered! Will you dare to read on?
My afterschool television addiction began in a Sonoma, California duplex with Super Grover and Mr. Rogers. I mentally escaped to my life on Sesame Street and in Mr. Rogers’s rad house every day after school. I defended Mr. Rogers when Mom and Bio Dad teased me that he was a pedophile because I believed in him. Unconditional love was emitted through a little box in the living room when Mr. Rogers talked just to me and no one else. It was like we were all alone in his awesome house just doing cool shit, such cool shit that it required both a shoe and sweater change to do.
I wasn’t into cartoons as much, but would watch them on Saturday mornings with the same intention I watch the Super Bowl game, for the commercials. Only these weren’t exactly commercials, they were Schoolhouse Rock! educational music-video-way-before-MTV cartoons. And I loved them. They taught me everything from the function of a conjunction to the process of a bill becoming a law, interspersed with groovy characters like Interplanet Janet singing to bass-heavy seventies tunes.
Lastly, my favorite and most anticipated show to mainline was The Muppet Show. It was only on once a week and every second from the critic’s initial insults to Zoot’s final saxophone toot was watched in silence and awe. I actually still love this show so much that I have to stop writing about it lest I totally freak the fuck out and lock myself in the house snorting VHS tapes for five days until the cops have to break the door down to pry me away from those damn furry Muppets. That, my friends, is true addiction.
Our next stints living in sleazy motels from Tucson to El Paso and other nefarious places in between brought on a craving for more mature content. Suddenly, I was interested in boys, or should I say, men. I became obsessed with The Love Boat, and my favorite parts were the kissing parts. I loved the way they made out by sucking on each other’s top and bottom lips, respectively. How I longed to have my lip sucked on the Lido Deck by some has-been actor hoping for a comeback. The other show that made me tingle was Three’s Company. And I never had common crushes. I didn’t fantasize about Jack Tripper or even Larry Dallas; no, my crush was on Mr. Furley. Yes, Don Knotts – all 93 pounds of him. I fantasized about that wrinkly old dude hitting on me at The Regal Beagle in a patchwork leisure suit.
My fake love affairs were abruptly and tragically ended when my parents moved us to the middle of Mexico. The nearest town was a tiny fishing village with cobblestone streets. Needless to say, TV was not an option. I quit cold turkey. That is, until we moved to Sparks.
Sparks was the place I relapsed on television.
Now I raced home not only from bullies, but to turn on, tune in and drop out. That’s what Mr. Leary meant, wasn’t it? TV was an obvious escape from the brutality and confusion of my life. Now I saw the world through the eyes of Ricky Schroeder, Benson, Alex P. Keaton, and a talking car named KITT. I even relapsed on cartoons. I’d be frequently caught yelling “I have the power!” along with He-Man and I literally asked my mom to “smurf” me the butter one night at dinner.
My aim was to clock about five hours on school nights. That meant running home the second the school bell rang via my super awesome shortcut which required a lot of trespassing, probably my first illegal activity. The illicit route included an empty field behind a spooky stone house that some weird politician lived in, about four backyards (one of them had sheep), and hopping several fences. If I avoided all distraction (i.e. stopping to pet said sheep) I could plant myself in front of the TV, remote in hand, by three-twenty. Bedtime was at nine, snacks, refills and homework were handled during commercial breaks, and dinner took up no more than thirty minutes and usually fell at seven-thirty, which was totally cool because the only thing on was Jeopardy which was boooooooring.
That was my life. That is, until Marie and I became friends.