Once upon a time I was twelve to fourteen years. I was beginning to figure out that girls weren’t really yucky and my hormones were raging wild. In those days, pornography wasn’t that hard to come by, since I was aware of a couple of store attendants that didn’t think of asking for an id to a teenager who was still a couple of years away from his first shave.

Growing up in a small to mid sized town implies that eventually everybody knows everybody, so the chances of running into someone familiar while asking for a Playboy to the person behind the counter were high. I would patiently wait until the store emptied of elderly ladies, clerical figures, etc and red-faced ask for the selection behind the counter. Pay the four bucks and run away.

I’m now in my mid to late twenties and, the light willing, will get married in a few of months. I no longer buy porn -- that’s what the Internet is for ;-) but recently I realized that the very same behavior of my smut-buying teen years were repeating the last time I went to a gaming store.

On a whim I was buying myself a Gameboy Advance. I circled the store a couple of time looking casually at the magazine shelves. Waited until the store was more or less empty and approached the salesman, bought the Gameboy, paid the hundred bucks and left in a hurry.

I even had an alibi in case I ran into someone familiar (for my godson, you see… he’ll be twelve this Friday).

I felt like I haven’t grown a bit, still ashamed, even though this time I had no reason to be so.

After reflecting on this occurrence, I went to a magazine store and bought the raunchiest magazine I could find (actually, a Hustler, it wasn’t much of a store). This was purely in the interest of science, mind you. I was able to keep a straight face thru the whole process.

I didn’t manage to run into anyone I knew, however, so, as an experiment, I’m trying to arrange an "accidental encounter" with my venerable aunt while exiting a porn video shop. I’ll report as soon as the results come in.

In the meantime, the Gameboy sits unused in a drawer of my desk. I guess I’ll buy some games in Amazon.com and have them delivered in a plain brown envelope.

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