The one about 6th grade and Afternoon Delight

I don’t particularly like listening to DJ led radio stations. They tend to be snarky 20-30 year olds trying desperately to seem relevant. On this morning, it was cold, so I stayed in my heated car while waiting for the bus. On the radio were some ZooCrewHeyWeAreHavingTheFunNow bunch of bozos talking about dirty songs that never actually say anything dirty. They focused mainly on songs from the 70’s; for some reason, the songs of that decade were a bit more subtle than today’s “I lick balls” lyrics*”.

I tuned out most of what they were saying until the song, “Afternoon Delight” was mentioned.

And the memory floodgates opened.

The year was 1977. I was 11 years old, enjoying my last year of being a kid before puberty jumped on my back and rode me like its bitch**.

My teacher that year was Mrs. Tarkington. I loved that woman. She seemed to innately understand hyperactive, wildly imaginative, fantasy prone Little Nik and channeled those energies into creative venues that kept me out of detention***.

I’ve always been what some people call “obsessive”; I prefer to call it “hyperfocused”. When I have an interest in something, it’s dive bomb into the deep end, baby! Back then, I think my interests were UFOS, Bigfoot, and the TV show, Man from Atlantis, where Patrick Duffy spent 95% of his time wet and in swimming trunks*.

Mrs. Tarkington let me run with my specialized learning programs. I created a club called The Monster Hunters and we submitted a cryptozoology exhibit to the science fair and she allowed me to put on a play called Hunting Bigfoot. Trent Ridley wore a parka and we hunted him by tracking him down thru his footprints cut out of construction paper. The play ended with me and two other kids dissecting Trent/Bigfoot and throwing construction paper organs over a bedsheet.

The woman, to put it bluntly, was a freaking saint.

How does this all relate to some softcore pop porn?

Sigh.

So, it is late in the school year and Mrs. Tarkington let us have a party. We all brought snacks and our own personal 45s* to play on the record player*.  It was the usual fare. Bay City Rollers screaming about Saturday Night. Barry Mainly droning on about Mandy.

And then there was “Afternoon Delight”. ****

After a few verses into the song, she had the weirdest look on her face.

She pulled the needle off the vinyl and said, “What do you all think this song is about?”

I had no idea. For me, the appeal of the song was its fun, swinging, easy to dance to rhythm.

I raised my hand and said, “Maybe something you like to do in the afternoon?”

A very tight grin crossed her face. I recognize that look now;she was holding in a laugh with every muscle of her face. “Oh. You think so?”

“You know,” I continued with all innocence. “Like eating ice cream?”

That’s all she could stand. She was laughing so hard, she could barely put the needle back on the record.

I remained completely unphased and completely convinced that the song was about eating a contraband bowl of ice cream before dinner.

Hand to God.

*Google it.

**That was the year they made the boys go outside and stand by a fence while the school nurse told us what to do if we started our periods. We were to raise our hands, go to the office and ask for a “pad”. I swear, I thought the “pad” was to write on. Which made me even more anxious because I didn’t know what they wanted me to write! Was I going to be punished?  No fricking clue.

*** And off medication. I would’ve never made it out of childhood now.

**** For those of you unfamiliar with this 70’s classic, here are the lyrics.

Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight

Gonna grab some afternoon delight

My motto’s always been “when it’s right, it’s right”

Why wait until the middle of a cold, dark night?

When everything’s a little clearer in the light of day

And we know the night is always gonna be here any way

[Pre-Chorus]

Thinkin’ of you’s workin’ up my appetite

Looking forward to a little afternoon delight

Rubbin’ sticks and stones together, make the sparks ignite

And the thought of lovin’ you is getting so exciting

[Chorus]

Sky rockets in flight

Afternoon delight

Afternoon delight

Afternoon delight

[Verse 2]

Started out this morning feeling so polite

I always thought a fish could not be caught who didn’t bite

But you’ve got some bait a waitin’ and I think I might

Like having a little afternoon delight

[Chorus]

Sky rockets in flight

Afternoon delight

Afternoon delight

Afternoon delight

[Bridge]

Please be waiting for me baby when I come around

We could make a lot of lovin’ ‘fore the sun goin’ down

[Chorus]

Thinkin’ of you’s workin’ up a’ appetite

Lookin’ forward to a little afternoon delight

Rubbin’ sticks and stones together make the sparks ignite

And the thought of lovin’ you is getting so exciting

[Outro]

Sky rockets in flight

Afternoon delight

Afternoon delight

Afternoon delight

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