Yesterday I was sitting among 10 other mothers (and one dad!) at the School Community Council meeting when the topic turned to porn and the danger it poses to our children and I might have just then slid off of my chair to hide underneath the table. Because yesterday the conversation on my podcast spiraled from my children’s piano performances to my sex toys and masturbation and the porn subscription I just signed up for. Hi, Mom!
YOU GUYS. Utah has a goddam coalition against pornography AND THEY THINK IT IS A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS.
I REPEAT: THEY THINK PORN IS A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS.
Forget opioids and teen suicide—suicide is now the leading cause of death for Utah kids ages 11 to 17. Let’s focus on DANGEROUS BOOBIES.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s some scary shit out there that should not be out there. And kids shouldn’t be looking at porn THIS IS COMMON SENSE. And if you’ve got a crippling addiction to it maybe treat it like you would any other addiction. But come on. Let adults have their porn, for crying out loud. And yeah, I talk about it openly on my podcast because I’m sure I mentioned it somewhere here at some point that I did not masturbate until I was 36 years old. THIRTY-SIX. Sorry for all the capitalization. The public health crisis porn is making me do it.
Six years prior to that initial attempt a friend had encouraged me to try it knowing that I’d grown up thinking it was a sin not unlike murder. In fact, one of the general authorities of the LDS Church wrote this crazy talk in 1976 about the transgression of masturbation and told boys that their bodies possess a little factory, “one designed to produce the product that can generate life.” And that this little factory can sometimes manufacture an oversupply of this substance. BUT DON’T WORRY, KIDS! The Lord provided a way for it to take care of itself. It’s called a wet dream and you’re gonna wake up in a puddle of your own goo. Thanks, Lord, for planning ahead.
A LITTLE FACTORY.
Here’s your public health crisis: talking to adolescent boys about sex as if they are three years old.
Also, no, I am not going to tell you where I subscribe to porn. Just google “tasteful porn” and have a fun half hour with yourself.
Before I got to the point in the ramble, though, about this specific part of my sexual history (Hi, Dad!) I recapped the week I’d had with my kids that included piano federation. Both girls had to play two solo pieces in front of judges, pieces they’d been practicing for months, and I call Marlo “that little motherfucker” as I’m telling my cohost what happened. Because she puts me through hell when she practices piano—she writhes and complains that her earlobes are burning and sometimes just throws her body across the room—but my girls will grow up knowing that we have to do hard things in life. Piano practice is one of them. In the name of Jesus Coldplay Chris Martin Christ, amen.
In the days leading up to federation as she practiced those pieces she kept messing up and forgetting notes and just butchered them over and over again. And I was like, OH WELL. There really was nothing else I could do at that point, I was stretched so thin already. So I took a few moments to look at some tasteful porn and relax.
On Saturday morning after she handed her music to the judges and announced her pieces, she adjusted the bench and sat down at the piano. I was sitting across from her and could see her face over the top of the piano, and before she put her fingers on the keys the expression on her face completely transformed. And in that split second I thought to myself, “That little motherfucker.” Because it was a knowing smirk—almost as if she were laughing to herself—and it said, “I am about to rock your goddamn world.”
She played both pieces better than she’s ever played them, and she didn’t just play them. She performed them. She was on stage and it was riveting to behold. Every time she played a staccato note she’d swing her arm up off the note into the air in a gorgeous, dramatic arc. And very much like Leta, Marlo feels the music with her body. She plays music with her body. So guess what? SHE DOESN’T GET TO QUIT. The end. Where’s my public health crisis porn.
If you want to hear how Leta played you can listen to the episode, but we recorded the podcast before I learned their scores. I’d asked their teacher during the week if she’d heard anything yet, because my mother and I were both super nervous given how much stress Leta in particular has been under recently. And then on Wednesday night their teacher texted me and said: “You can tell your mom both girls got superiors from all three judges.”
I normally wait to let them find out their scores when they go to piano practice during the week, but since they didn’t have practice this week I told them that night and I was a horrible, awful, unforgivable monster. Because I called them into the living room to have a talk and I made it seem like I was about to tell them that we were all going to die. In a fire.
“What, what happened?” Leta begged when she saw my pained expression.
“It’s just…” I bit my lower lip for effect. “I don’t know how to tell you both this. Just know that we’ll be okay. We’ll get through this. I promise.” And then I pretended like I was going to cry.
You guys, I am a terrible actor. I have zero poker face, but those two kids genuinely thought that maybe we were going to end up homeless or that maybe Little Caesar’s was going to go out of business. They were freaking out.
“Mom…” Marlo put her arm around Leta as though holding onto her would help her with the impact of the news.
I sniffled, turned my face away from them and said, “I got a message today… and… and it’s just… it’s just that the the two of you… the two of you can’t… both of you got superiors from all three judges.”
You may have heard the deafening shrieks coming from the direction of Salt Lake City on Wednesday—I have yet to regain my hearing—and after the initial shock wore off they both tackled me off of the couch onto the floor in one a giant hug. And then Marlo… she started crying right there in my arms. She wept. She cried and cried and cried.
“I really did it?” she said through her tears. And a part of me was like OH HELL NO, MICK JAGGER. YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, YOU KNOWING SMIRKER. But I set that part of myself aside and just held her and repeated over and over again, “You really did it. You really did it.”
I got the official scoring papers last night, took a photo of the first page of Marlo’s packet and sent it to my mother with this message:
“THIS IS WORTH THE SACRIFICE. THIS.”
This week’s podcast also marked the hard launch of our Patreon campaign where you can throw in a couple of bucks a month if you enjoy listening to the two of us complain about being privileged assholes, the cost of a cup of coffee a month to help us cover production expenses. We love our audio guy, Ryan, who is a perfectionist and isn’t charging us nearly what he’s worth. But this would help us all stay in business and enable us to bring on guests like my mother and Leta who is BEGGING to be on the show and if/when she is I promise not to bring up tasteful porn. Only the public health crisis kind.