Most days it would be my Mom or my Dad who picked up the mail at home. But it was Saturday and that meant no school and I was there when the mail came. I walked to the mailbox, not really as an innocent but in no way ready for what waited for me there. I love mail, as my friend Tim would tell you, a mail day is like Christmas day. So when I opened the box and saw a stack of mail inside I was pretty excited. It was my last year of high school and almost graduation time so these great little envelopes were arriving from family and friends of my parents with cards and cash. I love cards and cash.
I started through the stack and a couple of the card-shaped envelopes had my name on them but it was a long, business envelope that caught my attention. The return address in the upper right hand corner of the otherwise plain, white envelope made me forget the cards and even the cash.
That’s what it said, with a little address information that indicated the envelope started it’s journey in Indiana.
Naked City, Indiana.
I looked around to make sure none of the neighbours were watching and that my parent’s weren’t looking down from the family room window and right there in the middle of my front yard I learned all about Naked City. Naked City, Indiana.
A very nice business type letter began the info session by thanking me for my recent inquiries about a visit to Naked City. Naked City, Indiana. I’d done some stupid things and looked at some porn before but I did not have any recollection of sending away for the latest on Naked City. The letter explained all that Naked City had to offer and then invited me to look through the enclosed “latest newsletter” and see for myself what I was missing by not already being at Naked City.
I pulled the black and white glossy newsletter from behind the letter and saw right away that Naked City was not an idle boast or cheap marketing ploy. They had pictures from the recent “Nude Olympics” which I had no idea were even held annually let alone right next door in Indiana. One of the pictures included with the article was of one of the guys in the high jump competition and let’s just say he wasn’t going to clear the bar. There was the line up from the “Miss Naked City” competition held recently. Pictures from the recent “Ice Cream Social” and a shot of the Giant Ladies Leg Sundial.
My first thought in my just becoming a Christian brain was, “Thank you God that I got the mail today.” This was exactly the kind of mail I think my mom lived in fear of finding in the box one day and having to get my dad to “have the talk” with me.
My second thought in my just becoming a Christian brain was, “This is outrageous! How can they just mail these dirty pictures out to people? I’m gonna do something about this!!!”
My next thought came from the still un-redeemed portion of my brain. “Cool, free porn.”
I marched in the house with the offensive material in my hand and did the first thing I could think of: I called my Baptist friend Shellie who didn’t go to movies, didn’t dance and only used Christian swear words like “Stink!” when she slammed her finger in a door by accident. I reached her at home and related the disgusting, horrible, shocking, evil from the pits of hell description of what I’d just received in the mail.
I expected shock, outrage, a commitment to march with me to protest at the local postal office branch. What I didn’t expect was the silence from her end of the phone.
The sort of silence you realize isn’t really silence it’s just the really big, pregnant pause (though I’m not sure an unmarried Baptist girl would even have a pregnant pause) before something big.
Then nervous laughter, then big laughter, then a minute of calming herself down.
“Oh Brian,” she said, “I had no idea they’d send you something with pictures…”
My brain was having a hard time catching up. I recognized she’d just said something really important there but I wasn’t quite able to put it all together.
She kept going. “I saw this ad…in the paper…and I sent your address into them …for information as…a joke! I never thought they’d send something like that…” The dots represent uncontrollable laughter.
My Baptist friend who was the most Christian person I knew had porn sent to me. My brain was catching up now but it was struggling to accept the facts. And then all my righteous indignation melted away and I looked at the newsletter again and started laughing. Intended as an enticement to visit the community the un-retouched photos of the denizens of Naked City weren’t all that appealing. In some cases even the un-redeemed parts of my brain begged me to look away like it did whenever I spotted my old, heavy-set and hairy neighbour mowing his yard in his Speedo and flip-flops.
In light of this revelation I did the only rational thing I could think of.
I forwarded the envelope on to her.