exhibit i

When I was in summer camp (summer 1981 - maybe we ran into each other. oh wait. it just occurred to me that every story which begins, "when I was in summer camp…" usually ends with "and that's how I knew I was gay!" this whole deal is becoming, against my wishes, a self-fulfilling prophecy) I took swimming lessons twice a day. There was another camper, Shawn, who got me into this weird game in the indoor swimming pool. The pool was heavily chlorinated. I'm not sure why that's relevant, but you must trust that it is. It was so heavily chlorinated that it required goggles if you ever expected to open your eyes underwater.

Anyway, Shawn's game…Each day, after lessons, we had about 10 minutes of free swim. Shawn - a weak swimmer, as I recall - would hold himself up against the side wall of the pool while just sort of floating in the water, too deep to stand. I would stand directly across from Shawn, leaning against the wall on the opposite end of the pool. Then Shawn would toss me a pair of swimming goggles, I would place them over my eyes and dip beneath the surface. Invariably, I would see Shawn across the pool, his body submerged and head invisible, in some weird state of undress. You see, while I was dunking my head, per his instructions, he would do something like pull down the back of his bathing suit and show my his fish-belly white ass. Then I would come up for air, laughing and he'd yell something like "did you see it?! Did you see it?!!" and I'd give him a high sign or something and toss back the goggles. Now it was Shawn's turn to put his head underwater for a private ass-show hosted by me. It seemed really funny to me, honestly, and it probably was. However, one day Shawn escalated the drama by pulling a switch and bait and revealing a little wormy, pruned-up penis held between his index finger and thumb. This was extraordinarily funny to him but turned out not to be so funny for me. I didn't laugh as hard, threw the goggles back and inched my way along the wall back to the shallow end where other kids were playing, and never spoke of the "wiener" incident again.

I don't know what happened to Shawn. that's fine. I never really liked him anyway. he had a bum leg.

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all these words © 1999 todd levin.