Shortly after I turned nine years old, my grandparents moved out to the country. Their new place was seven acres or so*, a forest providing nearly endless opportunities for exploration and adventure when you're nine. I was out there spending a couple days with them, and my friend Dusty (who was ten or eleven) was also there. Dusty's family was friends with my grandparents, so I saw him once a year or so. We were both super excited to discover and map out the whole property, but we were most excited by the dump.
The previous owners had made a small ravine on the property into their own personal dump. It was mostly things like appliances and material scraps, but there were still a variety of thrilling treasures there like a gas mask, various broken objects, cords and tubing, and so on. Obviously my grandparents didn't like us playing there, but the magic of such a boundless pile of joy was too much to resist.
Then on our second or third trip to the dump we found a big pile of porn. We extracted the Playboys and Hustlers with the enthusiasm that one might lend to a pile of pirate necklaces and gold bars, carefully laying them out until we were sure that we had found them all. Now, I'd been to public school, so a month or so after entering kindergarten I had become familiarized with virtually every swear word, body part, and sex act that humankind has imagined to date, but I had never seen actual pornography before. (I think Dusty had, but I'm not going to put him on the spot here. Don't want to get him in trouble. Bro code and all that.)
As we turned the pages we marveled at the anatomical mysteries that were unraveling before our very eyes. It was honestly probably the most exciting thing I had ever found in my life up to that point, even surpassing the time I found a five-dollar bill. That day we became men, for we had seen boobies. We continued inspecting the loot as best we could, but there was a significant problem: the pages were all stuck together, and only a few images were accessible.
Yes, I know, clichéd, but true. Except in this case our foe was ice, as this was either January or February in Nebraska and probably twenty degrees outside. We weren't sure how we were going to defrost them, but we knew we couldn't just leave such magnificent objects where we found them. And we certainly couldn't leave them all neatly organized as they were now, because then it would be extremely obvious that we had found the forbidden parchments. So we decided that we would hide them in a hollow log. (Hollow logs are a real thing, city-folk.) They would defrost by the next day (perhaps my grasp of how temperatures work was not fully developed by then), or if they didn't, we could find a suitably secure location in the barn that seemed to be away from prying eyes.
We went to bed that night positively giddy at the thought of what the next day would bring. The next morning, we headed outside to rescue the porn, but we hit another snag: my grandpa was working on cleaning the dump, as he'd been doing for days. Good thing we moved the magazines to that log, but we'd have to wait until later. We found something else to occupy ourselves for a while, watching Grandpa like hawks, until we finally noticed him leaving the dump area, carrying a load of junk to the incinerator. We made our way to the hollow log, and... it was hollow again.
I've been let down a lot of times in my life, but owning dirty magazines for the first time only to have them taken away to be incinerated before we had had the chance to fully research them was probably the biggest disappointment I experienced before my tenth birthday. Not to mention the horror we experienced when realizing how easily our plan was foiled and that now he knew. But Grandpa never spoke to us about the magazines, and I would certainly die of embarrassment if the topic ever arose today.
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Note: The original title for this post was "Grandpa porn," but I changed it because I feared no one would read it with that title.
* ...and it cost 1/5 of what my tiny place here did, ugh.