I have lived a life of irony. As a child, I was traumatized by a sexual assault, and it left me afraid to be naked in the presence of others. It was a nightmare in junior high and high school. But even though the physical education showers at the end of every P.E. class were a nightmare dance of towels and hands strategically being flung about because of the other sweaty boys present with mocking eyes and cruel comments, I slowly conducted a personal war within myself to avoid becoming a nudist over the entire course of my teaching career. And then, when I retired, I lost that war. And I became a nudist. I am now a member of the AANR Southwest. And I have been to nudist parks more than once.
You know how practically everyone has that nightmare where they are suddenly at school, in front of the class, and completely naked? Yeah, I had that dream about being both a teacher and a student. I have to say, I eventually learned that all students and all teachers are basically mentally and emotionally naked in the classroom all the time. Students can’t control themselves enough to wear mental clothing. And teachers can’t effectively teach with such barriers in place. Of course, education could not go fully nude without a total restructuring of society and a re-training of all teachers and kids from a very early age.
I can use myself as an example of why “naked is funny.” There is a lot of humor in life that stems from our need to keep certain things secret and the inevitable moment when we fail to keep others from seeing and learning the naked truth.
The picture here is me as I imagine I would have looked naked at ten, showing you everything I was terrified of having girls see, especially the dangly bits that would wiggle and waggle as you walked about naked. I actually wrote a poem about walking about naked as a seventh grader with a wiggling wiener. I, of course, tore that poem up into pieces that I distributed to three different trash cans so nobody could tape it back together. I was aware even back then that I was destined to be one of the world’s worst poets.
I did enjoy being a naked child before I was assaulted. I liked to ride my bike naked at the Bingham Park Woods south of town. There was never anybody else there to bother me. Whether or not anyone ever saw me there, I do not know. Nobody ever said anything about knowing my secret. And after I was attacked, I was always too afraid to try it again.
But being seen naked in nature was not what worried me the most. That naked-in-school nightmare was the one that actually embarrassed me and exposed my dangly bits to girls who knew me.
In P.E. Class once when I was a sophomore in high school, we were standing in a circle on the wrestling mat while the two wrestlers were grappling each other. The girls’ P.E. Class was sitting in the bleachers supposedly listening to whatever the girls’ coach was rattling on about. Of course, we could see they were really all watching the boys wrestle. I was worried that if it got to be my turn, the boy I had to wrestle, being better than me and on the wrestling team, might wrestle my pants off as sometimes happens with certain takedowns. There were cheerleaders in the bleachers that day. Oh, Lord preserve me!
But Jerry Kornbluth and Tom Klotny had an intense match going on… and on and on and on… and the coach was watching them intently as they each countered the other so well that no points were being scored. It lasted long enough that I was in no danger of having to wrestle Nelson, the former State champ in the 110 weight class. So, I stupidly let my guard down.
Boob Eekleboy was a bully and weird-sense-of-humor aficionado. He also was lurking behind me without me being aware of it at all. He was older than me. He was bigger than me. He was weaker than me. (I beat him in a wrestling match the week before, giving him a need for revenge.) And he had an evil mind.
When he took hold of my gym shorts, he apparently got his fingers under the straps of the athletic supporter.
The time between my pants going down and my face turning red as I pulled them back up was probably only about seven seconds. But my dangly bits had been totally exposed. And somebody who might’ve been a cheerleader giggled and squealed about something. Of course, I had that secret trauma that I was suppressing that nearly destroyed me at the time.
My mental problems didn’t let me enjoy this big reveal in any way at the time. But looking back on it, I can see the humor in it. I can actually laugh at it now, gobs of time having healed most of what ailed me then. And I would learn from a third-hand source that one of the cheerleaders that saw it happen liked what she saw and told others about the liking.
So, naked can be funny. I have come to accept that long ago. And it would fuss up some of my novels because they were supposed to be humorous, and I may have planned on using the naked thing a lot.