Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Lose the Evidence!

Though many who know me don't believe it, I do have incriminating evidence of past ... well, not misbehavior exactly. I was too goody-two-shoes for that. Past something. The trouble is, I have no idea where any of it is.

It began with my 16th birthday and a copy of the Kama Sutra (I could swear it was this edition!), courtesy of some of my smart-ass friends in high school. They thought it would be funny because I was such a prude. (And allow this prudish pot to call those prudish and NERDY kettles black.) It was. And I was. And I hid it in my band locker until the end of the year, at which point I panicked - note that it never occurred to me to throw the book out! - and hid it waaaaaay back in my window seat where my mother would never find it. How would I explain having such a thing? (It never occurred to me that the truth might work, either.)

So fast forward a good 11 years, and the truth is that that little book has been missing ever since. I even mentioned it to my mother - when they were remodeling their home, including my old bedroom. I was a little worried it might still be there in the window seat, only hiding when I was looking for it to remove it. We laughed about it, and she's never found it. (And she's probably forgot we had the conversation, will find it tomorrow, and call me demanding an explanation.) For all I know, it's hidden behind the false back of some band locker, pleasing generations of horny high school students, or one of my siblings stole it, or it's still floating around my mother's house. Just don't have a clue.

But that pales in comparison to the dirty letter. I was quasi-dating this guy who fancied himself a poet during my first couple years in college, and it was long-distance, so he sent me cards and letters. Mostly sappy crappy stuff, but one time he decided to try his hand at writing something - um - sexy, I guess. Sorta. It was pretty tame as those things go (prudes dating the prudes here), but really kinda painfully, romance-novel-y bad. And he could neither spell nor punctuate, which was the real reason I broke it off. Anyway, the letter was SO horrific (and if I remember correctly, he sent it to me at work so I opened it in an office) that I was just mortified and I panicked. I think I stuck it in a book somewhere so my officemates wouldn't see it. I then forgot about it. Ran across it months later while going through textbooks but - here's the killer part - I have no recollection of whether I destroyed it or whether I put it back in the book ... which means I probably put it back in the book. Which means that either my husband will run across it in 10 years and wonder why I'm saving this poorly-punctuated amateur attempt at romance novel writing, or else that some ex-student of my alma mater is hoarding it against the day I run for office.

And then there was the guy I dated who sent me notes every day. Harmless and sweet, nothing trashy, but every day. I'm sure there were sixty or seventy of them, just one or two lines each. A sort of neolithic version of IMs or e-mails. I remember that when I moved out that year, I tossed the whole lot of them in a box.

I have no idea what box.

Now, when those turn up in another two or three years, my husband will rightfully be irate. Now, keeping two or five or ten sweet, innocent notes from bygone boyfriends is one thing. Keeping an entire series of sixty looks a little ... obsessive.

"Eyebrows, dear," asks Mr. McGee, "Are you still hung up on this guy? You saved SIXTY letters from him!"

"Oh, no - it's just that I lost them, so I couldn't throw them out!" I would reply.

And we won't even discuss a couple of raunchy gag gifts from some close girlfriends for my bridal shower, which are probably in a half-unpacked box that I shoved under the guest bed, just right for the cats to go fishing in when guests are sleeping in said guest bed. Nothing like a little humiliation to go with your side of "I'm not Martha Stewart anyway" housekeeping!

I've lost other things as well, but those tend not to be incriminating, just puzzling. I'm still curious how an entire paper shredder disappeared during my move, and I'm a little bit looking for this cute purse I haven't seen in six years. But the real triumphs of 13 moves, 4 states, and 2 countries in 8 years are the embarassing personal artifacts that have wandered off and may - or may not - still be in my possession.

These problems could have largely been avoided if I had done what normal people do when they're embarassed by something raunchy or tasteless: throw it out. But no, I have to squirrel it away and hide it even from myself, and then forget what I did with it.

In the future, though, when I'm given something too embarassing to throw out, I shall at least store it in a box marked "embarassing stuff" so I know where to find it later. Or so the movers can have a laugh at my expense. Whichever.

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