Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Condom Keychain

A Version of a Planned Parenthood Condom Keychain

I'm not sure why my posts have been stuck in my middle school past lately. Maybe because I'm getting older, or maybe because those are friends that for the most part I've lost communication with. Shoulder shrugging and what not. For example I'm recalling that back in middle school, at least twice a month on Tuesdays, we had what was referred to as "Restructuring Days." On Restructure Days classes got out about an hour or two earlier than usual. Me and my friends would make plans to walk into town, eat pizza and waste away quarters playing one of the many iterations of Street Fighter 2. You know, Street Fighter 2 Champion Edition, Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Super Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter 2 No Mames. We were eighth graders, so we felt really big and independent because we were allowed to leave campus early and roam around town, plus we were going to be in high school the following year, so we felt special by default.

On one of those Restructuring Days I was roaming around with my Philipino friend Mario. We were sitting by the Fox Theatre just talking . . . what the fuck did we talk about?! What could a couple of teenagers talk about besides video games and girls? Well yeah we might've also talked about looking forward to high school and the academic rigors it was going to offer, so that we might challenge ourselves and excel once we arrived at college. But meh, nonetheless we sat there talking, when some guy approached us, and started up a conversation. He was older, possibly in his 20's. He wore slacks, and a dress shirt, possibly even a faux-leather jacket if I can recall correctly. I guess you could say he was a nineties version of a hipster, before the hipster became what it is today. He asked how old we were, to which we responded 14 and 15. He asked what grade we were in, we told him we were eighth graders, but were going to be in high school the following year. Once hearing our age & grade he asked if we were sexually active. Mario and I kinda became a bit uncomfortable, but we still giggled like teenage middle school girls, and replied no. We probably shoulda gotten up and walked away by that point, because for all we knew this guy was a pedophile approaching a couple of eighth graders and asking them about their sexual activity. But I guess our parents didn't teach us not to talk to strangers, plus we were going to be in high school the following year, so we were invincible n'shit. Anyhow, we told 90's Hipster we weren't sexually active. To which he told us that's good, and he went on to tell us that we needed to wary of STD's and AIDS. Once giving his sex education street seminar, he took out a couple of cards, handed them to us, and explained what they were. Apparently he worked/volunteered for Planned Parenthood, and they were trying to promote safe sex by getting teens to come to their clinic to pick up condoms to avoid getting an STD and/or teen pregnancy. Now here's the crafty part, the card was in essence a coupon, redeemable for a keychain that carried a condom in it. 90's Hipster gave it to us, and was like "Alright, cool guys. Be safe, enjoy the rest of your day, cool. Cool." Because you know, using the word "cool" excessively in conversation was cool back in the 90's. Cool.

Me and Mario thought it was the fucken coolest thing at the time. So we made plans to go pick up our Condom Keychains the next Restructure Day. The following restructure day arrives and we're walking our happy asses to the Planned Parenthood. We're not even half the distance to the place when one of my high school-aged cousins from my mom's side of the family spots me and pulls over. "Hey, what are you doing? You cutting class?" I explained to him a the Restructure Day, even though we didn't know what the fuck the school was restructuring. Besides it's not like my cousin would've ratted me out if I was cutting. We told him we were headed to Planned Parenthood. I could tell he was a bit taken aback, but he offered us a ride. There was a good-looking high school girl in the car with him, and knowing him, I'm sure he'd just finished dicking her down, but maybe I'm giving him too much credit. Eventually he got curious and he asked why we were going to Planned Parenthood. I didn't know how to explain 90's Hipster and the street talk on sex he had with us, so I just handed him the card. He looked at the card, chuckled, showed it to the girl in the passenger seat, who also in turn cackled, he handed it back to us, and asked if we wanted him to wait for us. We said we were cool. Seeing that we were going to get condoms probably made him and the girl in the passenger seat horny, and she probably felt the need to puss him down, but who knows, we didn't care, we just wanted our Condom Keychain.

Mario and I entered the clinic, and we were visibly embarrassed and uncomfortable, as we looked around. Luckily it must have been non-peak hours because there weren't many people there gawking at us thinking, "Wow, these kids become sexually active at a younger age." The receptionist looked at us, smiled, and asked, "Can I help you?" We stood there for a moment looking at each other again not knowing how to explain 90's Hipster, nor that he gave us a coupon redeemable for a Condom Keychain. So again, I let my actions speak for me by handing her my card, at which point, Mario did the same. She looked at the cards, and said "Oh, okay." She walked off, and a short moment later she returned with our Condom Keychains, we thanked her and walked out of there, all smiles. The cool thing was that the keychains had a two panel comic strip on them. It was a guy looking upward, as it began to rain. The second panel was him being covered by a condom covering the entirety of his body, to protect himself from the rain. Simple, short, yet funny, and educational. I can't remember if there were words in the 2 panel comic strip, but I'm sure they were along the lines of "Protect Yourself." But even without words the strip was informative on it's own, no explanation necessary. When you looked behind the keychain ornament, the condom itself was in a see-through compartment that slid out. It was like getting a new toy that you couldn't stop playing with, or a video game that you couldn't walk away from, just because it was new. Mario and I walked around the rest of the day sliding out the condom, pulling it out, placing it back, sliding it back into place; we seriously were being entertained by a fucken Condom Keychain. My dad used to tell us they were so poor they only got entertainment from rolling a tire down a hill and hitting it with sticks. I'd probably tell my kids that in my day we didn't have all these fancy electronic whose-its and whats-its; all we had to entertain ourselves we as a condom in a keychain, which we aptly referred to as the Condom Keychain.

Nonetheless, Mario and I were able to contain our excitement that day, and we took our new toy to school the following day to show it off. Big fucken mistake. During recess our classmates were cracking up and having a ball with it, because they thought the little comic strip was funny, but also because as teens that age we were dumbasses and we all still laughed at the word "fart" when spoken out loud. So they thought it was cool, there was the random shit-talker here and there saying we weren't even going to use them, nor did we know how to use them, but I'd shrug my shoulders knowing they were jealous that they weren't approached by a condom fairy when they were out and about on the Restructure Day. I even let a friend borrow the keychain and he went about acting as if he was cool by association with the Condom Keychain. Possessing it made him feel as if he had some type of unbridled popularity, or respect, because for teenagers it's not about power, we think in terms of popularity. By the end of the day, I lost track of my Condom Keychain. When I inquired about it, it was no where to be found, no one knew where it had gone off to. someone had stolen it. It never resurfaced, which ever one of my classmates jacked it, kept and it remained his/her little secret; thats where the "big fucken mistake" line comes in. In our haste & excitement to bring our Condom Keychain to school to show & tell our friends about our encounter with the 90's Hipster and our journey to obtain our treasure, we didn't think about the risks involved around our friends. So I ended up with only a day of ownership of my Condom Keychain, until someone else took possession of it. I hope whoever has it, and if they did use the condom, used it after it's expiration date, so that it might have broken, and I hope they impregnated a beastly woman that would make the Great Goblin from The Hobbit look pretty. And I hope he also ended up with a litter of wee children that are a crossbreed between Goblin, Troll, Orc, and Canadian. Too many Lord of the Rings References *sniff* #GeekO. (I refuse to pull a Golem and call my Condom Keychain "my precious," because it's too obvious)
I Hope The Douche That Stole My Condom Keychain Impregnated a Woman That Looks Like the Pic Above

By the time we got to high school I didn't really see Mario around much. He dropped out after a couple of years. I never ran into another Condom Fairy that was offering coupons for another Condom Keychain. However, when I go back home and I hang out with one of my friends I grew up with, we'll reminisce about those days, and we'll crack up about the whole Condom Keychain thing, but then we'll go somber, because for that one moment it was a nice little trinket to have, and it would be even better to have it still and bring it out as we talk and remember those days and the way we used to think. It was just a cool thing to have, the lesson behind it - safe sex - was lost on a couple of teenage boys, we were content on just having an item that represented sex, a word we laughed about because we hadn't experienced it, and because we were teenage boys. I remember going to a Planned Parenthood to get a check up, and as I waited for my name to be called, a couple of teenage boys walked out with a couple of brown paper bags, they were pulling out the contents which were condoms, and they giggled and said some nonsense, which reminded me of me and Mario. We were exactly like those dumbasses, except we Condom Keychains, not a whack ass brown lunch bag filled cheap condoms. Our cheap condom was encased by a cool ass keychain.

So I guess moral of the story is have safe sex, and don't trust the people around you with your Condom Keychain.

. . . Also what the fuck was a Restructuring Day?! What the fuck were the teachers restructuring?! I still don't know. Another great mystery.

An Interesting Article On Planned Parenthood And Condom Keychains

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