For proof that the Internet brings people together, see this (one of my all time favourite) 2005 Ask Metafilter Post that asked: “Did you, as a kid, find Porn in the Woods?” To which hundreds of Mefites responded “YES!” Similar web communities have tackled this same issue (also, a hilarious David Sedaris essay). It seems a that hundreds of kids have shared this communal experience; finding a secret cache of porn mildewing in the wood, behind an out of the way dumpster or under the occasional bridge.
To wit, this is exactly where I found my first ever porn stash, as a seven year old let loose with other seven years olds in rural Moose Jaw Saskatchewan. My comrades and I would bike around aimlessly, playing in construction sites and looking for treasure. And treasure we did find, in the form of a stack of 1970’s era Playboys, rotting away under a giant tree stump in a treed area, just waiting to be found by children. Burned in my memory was four little kids, not sure what they were looking at, but knowing instantly that they shouldn’t have been looking at it, dividing up the few mags that hadn’t decayed too badly. All was good in life for a week or two, with these magazines being the highest form of schoolyard capital, until (predictably) one of my friends was caught with one by his mom, and was grounded for a month. The rest of us, fearing the same consequences, ritualistically ripped up the magazines and let the pieces blow away in the wind.
This all comes up because yesterday, on a walk with Jane and my son, found… porn in the woods. Well, kind of. We were walking through Henderson Lake yesterday afternoon, a man-made lake with a walking path around it that is generally “DESTINATION LETHBRIDGE.” We were walking over this bridge, when something shiny catches my eye:
Kind of a bad photo, but what you are looking at (the red bits) are a handful of pornographic DVD’s (one with the title “Spring Chickens”) that had been… ritualistically snapped up and thrown under the bridge. My son, not knowing what he was looking at (or pretending not to), wanted desperately to be allowed to go “investigate further,” to which I had to say no.
This brought up so many questions to ponder:
1. What is behind the porn in the woods phenomenon?
To which I can can think of two possible answers:
- To keep pornography hidden in an area that it won’t be found easily, so that it can be used in an accessible, but private surroundings
- To dispose of pornography in an area that will not point to one person (i.e. disposing of it in the garbage can out back).
Will the internet age slow (or eliminate) the porn in the woods phenomenon?
- Yes. It is easy for kids to access pornography with the Internet.
- Kids aren’t even allowed to play outside in the woods anyways.
Which means that we will no longer have stories like these:
Has anyone noticed that smell forest porn always has? Kind of musty, but unlike any other kind of smell in the world. It always smells exactly the same. The forest porn smell….
I will never forget the smell of rained on porn mags that have been dried up. For me, it’s the smell of porn.
What’s f–ked up though, is that to this day, my brain associates the smell of ferns with porn. No lie. We hid our rescued stash in a small cave that was hidden by a blanket of ferns.
What I found the most interesting in our discovery yesterday was the way that these dvd’s were disposed of – in a well travelled area, but out of the way enough that most people would not have discovered the stash. Also – with seven or eight destroyed DVD’s, one was noticeably unharmed. Perhaps an homage to a childhood experience lost to a digital age?