Musings of Navigating The Finite remainder of life from Porchville, with the hope of a glimpse of The Infinite

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Look For A Blue Box

The first thing I would like to establish is that to the best of my knowledge, I am of sound mind.  I am not senile, well not totally, and not yet.   I recently commented on a review of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens over in Goodreads.  In my comment, I stated that I was forced to read Great Expectations at least 137 times when I was in junior high and high school.  Every year, once again we suffered through Dickens' boring, stuffy and many worded account of Pip saving the escaped prisoner down in marshes, then being invited to Miss Havisham's broken down mansion where time had literally stopped on the hour of her wedding day when she was left at the altar, Pip having the hots for Estella, and becoming a gentleman with great expectations, and finally living the life of an over extended dandy in London.  Suddenly it occurred to me that I could not have possibly read Great Expectations 137 times.  As dumb as I was, I didn't flunk any grades so therefore I spent exactly 6 years in junior high and high school.  How can that be? Only 6 years!   So in a semi-honest accounting of Great Expectations, I was forced to read it more than once.  I would estimate three times, but it was at least twice.  The trouble is that the memories of reading  Great Expectations resides in "seems that" memory, as in:  "It seems that I read Great Expectations 137 times as a kid."

 Seems that memory has several variations:  I seemed to have... Surely I must have...When I was a kid, I....  Seems that memory is measured in half lives, not exactly like radioactive elements in which a half life is a fixed physical measurement, the amount of time that half the mass of the element will decay.   No, seems that half lives are psychological and are subject to Einsteins theory of relativity.  The easiest example I can provide is compare the amount of time you spent doing something you find  enjoyable, eating chocolate cake, watching re-runs of Gilligan's Island, having the last time you sat in the dentist's chair.  The passage of time in your mind is relative.  So it seems that I spent half my life in grade school.  It seems that I spent half my life working.  It seems that I spent half my life in the Air Force.  It seems that I spent half my life as a virgin.  None of these things are true, it just seems that way in my seems that memory.

For extra points, Bussman, what year is this?
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So it seems that I spent half my life in the dark ages of the Eisenhower Administration.  Sex did not exist during the Eisenhower Administration.  That was invented in 1968 by my generation, the baby boomers!  The most self indulgent generation known to history.  "Ha!" you say,  "Sextant, you fool, where do you think all those babies in the baby boom came from?"  Well hell everyone knows that.  The stork brought them.  There were storks all over the damned place during the Eisenhower Administration, on pickle jars, on diaper trucks, in department stores.   Ahh the 50s,  men were men, they saved the world from the fascists, and women were women, they riveted the planes and welded the tanks and ships that saved the world from the fascists.  Every one was wholesome, good, God fearing, men were dads and women were moms, and babies were brought by the stork.  Married couples on TV had separate single beds.  Indeed it was the stork.

Yet there were these troubling rumors.  There was this dirty game that big people played.  The man and the lady would take off all their clothes and the man would stick his thing in the lady's thing.  In one variation of this story, he would then fart.  There was even a horrible tale that this was where babies came from.  One kid said that he saw a picture of a baby sucking on a woman's kooty in his mother's magazine called Red Book.  That kid was full of shit, he claimed his uncle was Warren Spahn, and that his dad had a Thompson machine gun up in the attic that he brought back from the war.  But when we contemplated these stories, certain things didn't quite add up.  There were some reports from some kids of locked bedroom doors, rhythmic squeaking of bed springs, and muffled cries.   What was with those covers on the paperback books in the drug store?  They always had naked ladies on them.  You never got to see anything but their backs and a little bit of their bums, but they were naked and they had this look on their face...we never saw our mothers look that way.  Why were there girls and boys?  Why did women have kooties, but girls didn't.  Why did we have balls?  No body knew what they were for, except to hurt like hell if you got hit there by a baseball, and you got in trouble if you asked about them.  There was a lot of mystery during the Eisenhower Administration, and like most things, we young lads would discuss this with great curiosity and then move on to the really cool caterpillar that was on the tomato plant up in the garden, or go read a comic book.

Anyhow along with these wild stories, we kept on hearing about Kotex, usually in the form of some dumb book title joke like "The Red River Valley by the Kotex Kid."  We laughed at these jokes because it was important to not be a rube, but we didn't know why they were funny.  The Yellow River by I. P. Daily and The Cat's Revenge by Claude Balls made sense.  The Kotex Kid?   What the hell is that? Well it seems that I spent half my life wondering just what the hell is a Kotex and why these jokes were supposed to be funny.  We heard enough about them that we knew that girls needed them and it was something dirty.   Exactly what they were and why they were needed remained unknown.  So one day several us lads, set up a commission for the study of Kotex.  We theorized like theoretical physicists about what these things could be, and why they were so mysterious.  You would think that the easiest thing to do would be ask our parents.  Oh no, no, no!  You never approached your parents about dirty stuff.  They would get all nervous and start sputtering.  If you persisted, it was a dandy way to find yourself hooked up to some chores.   "A young man who has time to think about such things, has time to go weed the garden."  Oh hell no.  Parents were strictly off limits about anything dirty.  I think at one time we may have even stooped to ask a girl, but girls seemed to take great pride in them being smart and keeping us lads dumb, and there was always the chance that she would squeal to her mother and then there would be hell to pay.  It was best to keep our scientific investigations limited to the members of our inquiry board.

Look for a blue box with a white rose.
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So three of us lads on the Kotex Commission were up under the oak tree holding a theoretical discourse.  Along comes Billy, Warren Spahn's nephew, he was two years older than us and my dad called him a wisenheimer.  He was also the kid I did my naked dance for the girls when I was 7 years old under The Tough Old Tree of Treachery.  Now Billy was a natural born bullshitter, so we didn't always believe him.  That business about the baby sucking on the kooty had us laughing for weeks..."he thinks we are so dumb, like we will believe any of his bullshit.  Ha!"  So he asks about the topic of inquiry.  Kotex.  "Oh Kotex.  The Red River Valley by the Kotex Kid."  "Yeah, yeah, Billy, we heard that one,  but what the hell are they?"  "I don't know, ladies use them." "What for?"  "Don't know,  but look under your parent's bed.  They come in a big blue box with a white rose on it."

Billy puttered off to more interesting pursuits.  But now we had something concrete...a blue box with a white rose, either that or another one of Billy's bullshit stories.  OK so we all decided that we would each look under our parents' beds for the big blue box, and report our findings the next day.   It seemed that it had to be weeks before I finally had the house to myself.  My dad was at the bar,  my mother took my sister across the street for coffee with the neighbor lady.  I have about an hour!   I look under the bed.  Some shoes but no big blue box, grrrr, that Billy!  But wait what about the closet?    I look in and there were a bunch of shoe boxes piled up in the corner on the floor, quite a few actually sort of stacked like building blocks.  Hmmm!  So I carefully part the boxes.  A patch of blue!  My heart starts racing.  I carefully move the boxes out of the way remembering the order.  There it is, the blue box with the white rose just like Billy said!  Holy Shit! It says KOTEX!!!!  Right on the box!   How can they do that?  You can't put swear words on a box!  I pull the box out.  Fem-a-something napkins!  What the hell!   Holy shit again, they are made by Kimberly Clark!  Kimberly Clark makes Kleenex, not dirty stuff like Kotex.  The top of the box was ripped open.  I carefully peer in.  What the hell are those?  I reach in the box and pull one out.  It was a nondescript  cotton pad about 6 or 7 inches long, 3 inches wide and maybe an 1 1/2 inches thick, wrapped in a layer of gauze with an odd blue line, like from a fountain pen,  down the middle of it.  I stood there, my hands trembling with excitement.  I am holding a Kotex!  Holy shit!

It seems that I spent half my life in that house before I went in the military when I was 21, living  with a mother and sister.  I never once seen a Kotex go in or out of that house.  If it hadn't been for Billy's blue box, Kotex would have remained a purely theoretical object.  Of course by the time I got out of the service, Kotex was then advertised on television.  A young, attractive, athletic woman, wearing a pair of white short shorts, was always doing the most amazing splits with her legs.  Yet even then,  a young lad would not be able to discern what they were or their purpose.  He would only know that they were for those special days of the month and that you could remain fully active, even swim, which would then switch to the young woman with a white bathing suit diving into a pool "with confidence."   If the young lad was observant, he might deduce that this product had something to do with the nether regions from the camera angle and the ability to spread one's legs without embarrassment.  Embarrassment of what, who knows?

I don't know, it seems that I now spend half my life watching cartoon bears wipe their asses on TV and talk about enjoying the go, young English women talk about how fresh your bum feels, and sultry ladies discussing Viagra (and seeking medical attention for erections that last over four hours*), and his and her KY intimate lubricant.  I kind of long for some mystery in the world.  It seemed that I spent half my life during the Eisenhower Administration when such products did not exist, but it seems the other half of my life is now spent having them jammed in my face.  

Anyhow I give thanks that it seemed that I spent half my life during the fifties, when kids were still allowed to be kids.  We had our own societies, we had our own rules and laws, and we had a hell of a good time figuring out great mysteries like Kotex, kooties, and the dirty games that grownups played.

*Post Script: Erections lasting longer than 4 hours.  Have you ever wondered what they do for this condition?   I imagine doctors rushing in with some high tech crash cart, slapping electrodes on to the errant member.  "Clear!"  Zap!  "Oh thank God doctor, it was 3 hours, 59 minutes and 50 seconds!  You saved my life with 10 seconds to spare."   Hmmm, perhaps,  but actually it reminds me of a story that I seemed to have spent half my life hearing when I was a lad.  A young man goes in for a hernia operation.  They bring in a young candy striper to shave him for his surgery.  Well of course she has to move his pecker which is conveniently to the story, laying across the bulge in his groin.  At her touch, he naturally gets an erection.   The candy striper runs out of the room and comes back with the head nurse, always the head if the head nurse has nothing better to do than correct way ward hard ons.  The head nurse then sizes up the situation and applies a highly accurate two fingered karate chop to head of the young man's penis.  The erection immediately becomes flaccid, and the young man can not attain another erection for two weeks (always two weeks).   Actually I don't know what the big deal is, it seemed that I spent half my life, (well, OK,  two decades) with an erection from puberty at age 11 to well into my 30s.  


For everything that you ever wanted to know about sanitary napkins but were afraid to ask, check out this site:, Overview of sanitary napkins (menstrual pads) of past and present,
By Tranquilheart 

You have to admire Kimberly Clark for their social responsibility.  They provided helpful hints for picnics, dinner on a train, and remembering names:

VW Diaper Bus: The photo is labeled VW-62_63panel_diaper