I’ve always considered myself a decent artist. When I was a kid, I could draw pictures of family members, superheroes, or just about anything I stared at long enough, and I’d flex my artistic ability by making Christmas portraits for grandmas or pet drawings for teachers. All was well until I hit puberty and decided to use my talent for degenerate purposes.
You see, I was in love with a supermodel named Kathy. Only, Ms. Ireland did not love me back. I know this because to my knowledge, she never posed nude for anything but my imaginative day dreams, despite all the stars I wished upon. Solution? Draw her likeness, sans bikini. So I did. It was lovely and quite realistic with the exception of the massive 70s bush I thought all women packed in their bloomers. Upon completion, I called a meeting of neighborhood boys, and like birds in arrow formation, rode our bikes to the corner video store to mass produce my masterpiece via copy machine. One of the boys’ older brothers was a clerk there, and after feeding several dimes into the copier, I ceremoniously presented the older boy with a warm duplicate. But instead of approving of my gift, he tensed and regarded the reproduction nervously, and through tight lips, he mumbled, “Yule effed thor engine alumass.” I leaned closer and turned my head to hear him. “You left the original, dumbass!” I turned desperately to the machine, not ten feet away, and already a woman was closing its hood and holding Kathy’s portrait before her raised eyebrows. She looked at me and delicately extended the paper as though it were a real piece of art, and she didn’t want it creased. “Here you go,” she said kindly. “I don’t need one.” For the first time in my life, my entire body heated with the most tragic of self-inflicted humiliation, and when I reach out, my chubby and hairless arms were painted red. The woman’s tiny daughter peeped around from behind her mother’s huge purse as I shamefully claimed the filthy illustration. My throat involuntarily gulped to relieve its dry condition, and I thanked her with a timid and prepubescent grunt.
I wasn’t in trouble, of course. She wasn’t my mother, but she was an adult, and she was a she. I had clumsily revealed a dark and deeply rooted male motivation to a female outsider. She saw my secrets on that paper as clearly as if she’d seen me step out of a shower, naked and shriveled. Had a man found the picture, I’d like to think he’d have patted me knowingly on the shoulder and said, “Son, be more careful next time.” Instead, I got a woman who was visibly disoriented, alarmed, and sobered in one expression. It was a significant moment in my young life, and I never drew a naked celebrity again.*
*Unless you count the Disney porn flip-book of ’94, in which Goofy smears peanut butter on his perineum, sets up an 8mm, and whistles for Pluto.