Sunday, November 30, 2008

~‘World of Men’
My childhood was a virtual cornucopia
of sexually deviant acts. Well,
that’s what you’d like to think.
How else to explain your perception of my
inherent depravity?
But naw…
It was all Opie and Andy Griffith.
All Huck Finn and Mark Twain.
All Haley Mills and Pollyanna.
That is except for haircuts.

Getting a haircut was perverse in the
worst possible way.
Not the actual act of getting a haircut per se,
though it goes without saying that
there was a brutal indoctrination involved when
those shears passed over your head.
Yea, your style options equated to
crew-cut, crew-cut, or on the rare occasion,
‘Cause there weren’t no F’in way that
my dad’s son was gonna be no goll dang
long haired hippy and… um… sorry.
That was scarred Freudian psyche issue number two.
Let’s stay with the psycho trauma hiding behind
door number one, shall we?
Erotomania of the reprobate sort.

But now listen:
none of this soiled sanity occurred in the barber’s chair.
No. Though you fell beneath his blade of
follicular annihilation,
there was sanctuary to be found
in the swank leather upholstery
of that chromed pneumatic highchair.

Quite the opposite of
what was to be encountered
while awaiting your cranium buzz.
This was no beauty parlor.
This was a barber shop.
A mid Sixties barbershop.
Testosterone haven from all things estrogen.
And there while you awaited your
total world domination haircut,
there was an assortment of magazines to be perused.

Mainly mammary festooned
misogynous lust of bust
manly masturbatory
pulp pumping literature.
Just the sort of stuff an eight year old boy
needs to get his mind right
when it comes to acquiring an appreciation of
the delicate sex.

Considering men were incessantly motivated
to visit the barber shop whether their
noggins needed it or not,
it’s no wonder their hair remained so short.
Now I imagine you’ve got visions of stacks
of Playboys, Penthouse and Hustler,
you know, gynecological study material, but no.
Something altogether different here.

There at the barber shop
you encountered magazines such as
‘Stag’, ‘Inside Detective’ and
‘World of Men’.
And these… um… wait. Here.
Let me throw out a tether and
pull you into my mind.
Oh, not the red-light salacious cesspool
that’s there right now but rather,
the mind I possessed when I was all of eight years.

There we sit at the end of a bench.
There we glance down at the heap of magazines.
There at the top, a copy of ‘World of Men’.
There on its cover… ***

I am not making this up.
This is not fiction.
This is a particular boy’s memory
of one graphically painted illustration.

There is a swimming pool with diving board.
There are girls with skimpy bikinis.
Wait… there’s more. Much more.
There are Bikers.
Bikers with swastikas.
Swastikas on their sleeves.
Swastikas on their Nazi Biker helmets.
Swastikas tattooed upon their bared chests.
And there at the edge of the pool, you find
one maniacal Biker ripping open
bag after bag after bag of lye
and pouring it into the water.
Water which is now pure acid.
There on the diving board
yet another crazed Biker has carried
a screaming girl to its end, and
there she hangs mid-air…
mid-scream… mid… impending.

And you are eight years old.
And you like Walt Disney cartoons.
You’re particularly fond of Goofy
and the antics of his dog Pluto.
They… They were funny.
Slapstick funny. Painfully funny.
Semi-nude girls
being thrown into acid
by Nazi Bikers.

The barber could have left a gun
there on that end table.
A syringe full of heroin or crank.
A stack of rusty razorblades.
But no…
It was just the latest copy of
‘World of Men’.
There it remains in my brain,
and now in yours as well.

©08 Jack Hubbell

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