Sunday, August 12, 2007

Streaks of Memory

Yesterday, my wife decided to have an impromptu garage sale. Among the many lost “treasures’ hidden in boxes there was my college yearbook from my freshman year. I transferred out right after that year and have relatively few connections to that single year spent in the Southwest. I’ve only stayed in touch with one classmate, my roommate from that year. Otherwise, I probably haven’t seen anyone from my time there in more than twenty years. A few weeks ago, I had one of those six degrees of separation moments. My daughter played on a volleyball team with another girl who has a relatively unusual last name. We were talking to another parent who was describing this girl’s father. Lo and behold, he was someone I went to college with there that year. I didn’t know him well at all and doubt that he’d remember me. We were in a class together. He was a very outgoing fellow, happened to be unusually tall, and talked to all the attractive women in the class quite freely, something I was way too shy to attempt.

Anyway, I see the yearbook sitting out of the box in our garage and reflexively look up my daughter’s friend’s father in the index. Out pops…and I mean so literally, three pages and two photos from a time when mass streaking was a popular activity. If you’re not a baby boomer, “streaking” was sort of the mob event of its time or a version of some of the pictures on done live. Basically, you and hundreds of your friends would take off all your clothes then walk down some major thoroughfare. It was usually done at night and at least at this school a broad cross-section of the student body participated.

It generally wasn’t sexual and it was an interesting bonding experience. Btw, I never participated. Streakers could be the nerdiest guys in the dorm, the jocks, foreign-exchange students, the popular females, and any males or females who fell between those groups. It actually had sort of a bonding effect similar to fraternity initiations. While there were some folk who freelanced their streaking, the mass events may have been done that way because it was more or less impossible for whoever was in charge to identify and discipline say two hundred and fifty naked people.

So, there was a picture of my daughter’s friend’s father walking naked down a major street in a major city with various anatomical details on display. There was also a similar picture of him involving a dog, beer glasses, and a basketball. In addition, there was a “senior message” type page which included multiple uses of the term “wasted”.

My daughter made me scan one of the photos. My wife saw the first one and said “You can’t let her send that.”

My daughter scanned them anyway and e-mailed them to her friend where they may or may not be circulating across the east coast. It’s too late now, but maybe I shouldn’t have let my daughter see them. Once she did, it was inevitable that she’d send them off to her friend. Who could resist?

I’d totally forgotten about the “streaking” phenomenon. I don’t know if daughter’s friend’s father had as well. Although our daughters were good friends, we someone never did see one another during the season (long story). I only figured out that he was the same guy who had been in my history class on the last day of their season playing together. I imagine if he had forgotten, he’ll remember now.

In the same year, I forged a press pass to see Richard Nixon talk to reporters at the height of Watergate, there was also this outbreak of naked people running through the library, marching down Main Street at night, and trying to get served in the dining hall. The next time I hear someone my age tell their kid that “You must be crazy to put compromising pictures of yourself up on”, I’m going to have to smile.



At 8/15/2007 07:19:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

You're a rebel in your own right Chancelucky.

At 8/15/2007 08:48:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

But a clothed one :}

At 8/18/2007 07:39:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

I was going to say 'small mercies' but that might be rude.

At 8/18/2007 09:02:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Mmmmm.....maybe that's why I wasn't willing to go streaking.


Post a Comment

<< Home