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Leave Playboy Magazines in the Woods


The Internet is a wonderful invention. Collectors and archivists can communicate, sharing knowledge and experience. Great literature from every epoch of every continent waits for anyone to click, read, and absorb. Also, you can go to this website where a dude paints his nuts to look like John Lennon and farts "Imagine".

But there's a dark side to the Internet. For all the ways it's brought us together, it's forever obliterated an important connection in our lives; a rite of passage that is crucial for our nation's future and, indeed, the future of the world.

(The preceding paragraph is available in the "How To Set Up A Funny Comedy Premise With A Mock Portentous Lead-In" Writer's Kit, available at most hardware stores.)

What is this dark side? Is it the proliferation of pop-ups? The surplus of spam? This other website where a dude paints his nuts to look like Kenny Rogers but can't quite fart "The Gambler"?

None of the above.

Internet porn.

It must be stopped.

Now, wait. There's nothing wrong with porn. In fact, without porn, specifically the February 1970 issue of Cavalier, Nixon would have launched nukes at Cuba. But that's a longer story, and Oliver Stone currently owns the rights.

I'm talking about the fact that today, most American boys of below-buying-porn age are easily able to get their pornography, especially downloads from the superlative site, by simply clicking a button.

What they should be doing, what every American youth should be doing, is finding discarded Playboys in the woods.

That's how I did it, and look how I turned out. Sitting in a dirty bathing suit in my office at 2pm on a Thursday, writing a comedy piece for some obscure literary journal. Later, to reward myself for a job well done, I'll masturbate to some internet porn.

You know why I know how to delay gratification? Or how I know how to hunt for, track down, and uncover the truly twisted porn sites that tickle my fancy? It's because of the older kids, the adults, back in my Virginia suburb, discarding their old Playboys in the wooded area behind our development. Or leaving them in abandoned forts when the summer ended, for us younger kids to find, and hide, and treasure.

To this day, the smell of mildew and pine leaves makes me erect. That's why I can't ever visit my grandma at Christmas. But that's a column I'm writing for The Atlantic Monthly.

We must buy copies of Playboy and leave them in the woods for the next generation. Like Johnny Pervertseeds, a found Playboy will help grow a healthy entrepreneurial stock of young men. Because a found Playboy, when you're eleven and twelve, is currency. It can be traded for goods and services. It can be bartered for more Playboys, and then, once your stock has risen, be traded for luxuries. In my day, three Playboys, especially the year-end Sex in the Cinema and Playmate Review issues, could be traded for Atari games and fireworks.

Bartering discarded Playboys is the bedrock of our market economy. And I don't know if you've looked around, but our economy is teetering. If the connection between [No discarded Playboys} and [being on the verge of Armageddon] isn't clear to you now, it never will be.

Duty now for the future. Buy a stack of Playboys. Wander the woods and forests of this great country. Drop them for children to find. Unless you want your kids to wander a blasted landscape of marauders and mutants. And what will they be searching for? Gasoline? Water?


Patton Oswalt is a writer/actor/comedian/producer/asthmatic who lives in Burbank, California.