There’s porn in the VCR: A Thanksgiving story

In 2000 my daughter was home from her college stint in Seattle and had decided to make Thanksgiving dinner for everyone. At that time, it was only Kate, Jill, Paul and I to put our knees under the table.

We’ve always been tight about the holidays and I bought the makings for dinner and Kate volunteered to cook her first Thanksgiving feast. Now when I say volunteered, she planned the whole thing from start to finish complete with a color-coded spreadsheet (which I still have).

I came into the kitchen and grabbed my ugly apron ready to do battle with the holiday culinary forces.

“What are you doing?” Kate said. “I’m making dinner and frankly, I don’t need your help.”

I was a little stunned after all I had made all those holiday meals happen. I made it work when we had no money for fancy food: sometimes we had breakfast for Thanksgiving, cereal at Christmas or pizza at Easter. We worked to make it fun and festive. The kids never complained.

Now I’d been shooed and I was peeved.

I made a couple feeble attempts to open a can of this or start water boiling for that but Kate made her position clear – clear out now.

Miffed and ruffled, I grabbed a 9 a.m. bottle of beer and went downstairs to where our “movie room.”

Actually it was just a basement but we had a ton of VHS tapes (DVDs were a LONG way off) and everyone had their own easy chair hand picked from a series of thrift stores. The basement had those tiny casement windows so creating a dark theater experience wasn’t a big deal. The ancient orange shag carpeting added to the experience.

The four chairs were an visual upholstery-clad nightmare but when things got tough, we splayed ourselves in those chairs and cheered our favorite movies: Star Wars episodes 5, 6, 7, Indiana Jones trilogy, the original Star Trek movies, Jaws, Tremors and a whole list of movies where people win after battling terrific odds. Those heroes helped us.

VHS tapes were fussy things and occasionally the tape inside the plastic case would get stuck and you’d pull out the plastic case with miles of tape still hooked inside the VCR. VCR’s cost about $100 and quickly became a status symbol. Video rental stores like Blockbuster catered to the cinematic whims of the public, everything from cartoons to porn.

I really couldn’t find much in the way of something to watch that morning and I swigged my beer and rummaged through the tape cabinet. Indy couldn’t assuage the betrayal and Captain Kirk couldn’t command my attention.

When all else fails, just see what’s in the VCR and go from there.

I turned on the TV and VCR and sat back. Maybe it would be a movie I’d forgotten about or something nostalgic Kate had rented from Blockbuster.

It wasn’t.

It was tits and ass. Thrusting gyrations accompanied lusty “ooohs!” and “aaaahs!”

A young couple pounded delight on the small screen and it took me a moment to realize what was going on. Guiltily, I grabbed the remote and turned the sound down.

I pulled the tape out of the VCR and looked at it. It was some play-on-words title and I’d seen this kind of thing before. My son and his friends used to like to sneak porn videos and alcohol into the basement long after everyone went to bed. Months earlier I’d turned on the VCR to Jill’s favorite movie at the time, “Thumbelina.” Only that time, the things “Thumbelina” was doing with her thumb would no doubt cause carpal tunnel syndrome. I threw that tape away.

Paul and his friends had quite the porn collection thanks to his friend’s uncle’s porn stash. Videos, pictures and magazines were all pilfered from the unsuspecting porn-lusting uncle. Paul made a brave attempt to file the images but I’d never been able to figure out out his system. “B” can stand for a lot of things in the porn world.

I’d been ejected from my kitchen and I couldn’t keep porn out of my house. I resigned myself with beer in hand and sat down to watch porn.

I had to admit the guy in the video was giving it the old college try. Stout and hung, he had a powerful energy and no doubt would go for a steak and beer after his day’s work.

She had big tits.

A few amused minutes later, my son Paul and his friend stampeded down the stairs after a pre-Thanksgiving sleep over.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Mom!” said his friend.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Mom!” said my 14-year-old son.

Their smiles became rather fixed as soon as they noticed what I was watching. Her tits waved hello in the boys’ general direction.

“WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING!” said Paul trying and failing to hide his guilt.

“Katie kicked me out of my kitchen and I took a beer and came down here and there’s porn in the VCR,” I said.

Both boys slid quietly up the stairs and I heard mumbling and then the back door shut.

Ten minutes later my late-sleeper 16-year-old daughter Jill hopped down the stairs.

“Happy Thanks… what the hell are you watching!” Jill said.

“Katie kicked me out of my kitchen and I took a beer and came down here and there’s porn in the VCR,” I said. “ Would you get me another beer?”

Jill didn’t linger and walked up the stairs with the same vigor she approached when ratting out her little brother.

She didn’t return with the beer.

A few minutes later, Kate came, plodding with slow, calculated footfalls, each step brimming with parental fatigue.

“I’m hearing some very disturbing stories coming out of the basement,” Kate said without looking at the TV.

“You kicked me out of my kitchen and I took a beer and came down here and there’s porn in the VCR,” I said.

Kate looked at the TV for a few moments and I expected her to grab the tape and hurl it into the trashy depths of the red Ace Hardware can outside.

The light of recognition came over her face and she said, “Oh, I’ve seen this one before. There’s a great credenza when they’re in the living room.”

Sure enough, the amorous couple had moved their sexual acrobatics to the living and Kate did a funny impression:

“There it is.”

“There it is.”

“There it is.”

She was right; the credenza was a beautiful hand-carved piece, antique and unique.

Nonplussed, she watched for a few moments.

“How in the hell do you know about this porn flick?” I asked my matriculated daughter, fresh from her stint in the University District in Seattle and a house full of male roommates.

“Mom, I lived with six guys in that house,” she said. “There was always porn in the VCR.”

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