Thursday, February 16, 2006

I guess it's safe to go back into the water now.

Peter Benchley, the author best known for the novel "Jaws" died on Sunday.

I only ever read the book once, and wasn't overwhelmingly thrilled with it, but it was the first book that I read that contained sexual references that I understood (I read Stephen King's "Cujo" in the third grade, but the one scene that involved a character masturbating went completely over my head).

In the Jaws scene, the wife of one character is meeting with another character for lunch. It's someone she feels an attraction to, and in her head, she fantasizes a little about him and about -- if memory serves me correctly -- slipping off her panties so she can masturbate while driving home. She then imagines that she'd end up in a car accident, dead, panty-less, the legs of her corpse spread wide, her vagina, "glistening wet, yawning open for the world to see."

Okay, I'm not 100% certain that's an exact quote. But if it's off, it's not off by much. I don't know why those words have stuck in brain for all these years, but they have. That sentence had a profound impact on my hormone-adled adolescent brain.

Thanks, Peter Benchley, for introducing me to sex in literature, and in your own small way setting me down a path where I would eventually write a series of short stories about a stalker who talks about masturbation far, far too often.

Rest in peace.

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