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In the summer of 1994, I was back home from my first year of college in Boston, and my parents graciously signed me up for some summer classes at Rutgers.
We were housed in a run-down L-shaped dorm building on George Street, with no air conditioning, and no phone lines save the one shared phone booth installed on each floor.
In the evenings, the humid air was throbbing with raging hormones, as it was with the hum of overworked electric fans. There was A, with the chiseled swimmer’s body, who hooked up with the slender mixed-race beauty M. And there was D, slightly older than the rest of us, on leave from the Navy with tattoos to prove it, who hooked up with J, the Korean girl with the contagious smile.
D told the best jokes.
He gathered us all around one evening, and not so much told as acted out the below:
There’s this young guy. He gets himself a girlfriend, and the two start to get pretty cozy. But he is nervous, not sure of what he’s doing, so he goes to his dad for advice.
“Dad,” he says, “can you give me some pointers, you know, with girls?”
“Son,” the father replies with a knowing look, “it’s all about timing, and a bit of practice. Let me show you.”
He takes out a handful of change from his pocket.
“Now, you take these nickels, you put them in your two front pockets, and when you’re walking down the street, or sitting in class, you thrust up and to the left, then up and to the right, and you say to yourself: ‘Nickel! Nickel!’ ”
The son eagerly goes off and practices this, all day.
“I think I got it, Dad,” he says when he comes home. “What else?”
“Ok, you take these two dimes, put them in your rear pockets, and when you’re watching TV, or lying in bed, you thrust back and to the left, then back and to the right, and you say to yourself: “Dime! Dime!”
“One more thing,” the father says, and pulls out a crisp dollar bill. “You put this down the front of your pants.” He does a double fist pump, and drives his hips forward. “Dollar!”
It’s Saturday night, the son is with his girl, and things are getting hot and heavy. He remembers what he’s been practicing, and he starts off, real slow at first, reciting in his head: “Nickel. Nickel. Dime. Dime. Dollar.”
There is a spark in the girl’s eyes, her lips part with yearning. “It’s working,” he thinks, and repeats a little faster: “Nickel. Nickel. Dime. Dime. Dollar!”
“Faster,” she whispers.He picks up the pace and speaks the words out loud this time:
“Nickel! Nickel! Dime! Dime! Dollar!”
“Faster!” she screams in the heat of passion.
“Nickel!! Nickel!! … oh screw this!” he says, whips her around on her stomach, takes her ponytails in a firm grasp, pulls back, and thrusts his core forward:
“Buck Thirty!! Buck Thirty!!”
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