TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Not An Angel…But Honest, And I Learned My Lesson(s)

There ought to be some restriction on unsolicited friend requests on Facebook. In the past two months, I’ve been getting a friend request every other day from different females. Per my custom, I click on their home page to see who these persons are. Most of the time, the requests are legitimate … but recently, the porno universe has been seeking me out, and I don’t like it.

The profile picture looks like your typical young woman. But when I click on the home page, I can see right away that most of them are gymnasts — photographed doing things with men I never thought possible. It’s just crass garbage that has no place, except in a course in perversion.

My procedure when I’ve found one of the naughties is to reject the request, mark it as spam, and then go a step further: I block them.

Facebook has a little app that suggests friends for you. Most of these, too, are legitimate, but among them are many porno people. Seems to me that Facebook could figure out how to stop the use of its product by those who should have no access.

Just think. If requests like that are coming to someone like me, I’d guess that more youthful Facebook users are being deluged. That’s not a good picture for young men with raging hormones.

It reminds me of my youth and how the times have changed. I’m Catholic and attended Catholic grade schools and high schools.

Back in the the late 1940s, an entity known as The Legion of Decency was working its way through our system. They rated the movies as R, “don’t go;” X, “if you go, you will go to hell;” and F for “family rated.” (I’m not sure if F was the letter they used, but that’s how I recollect it.)

One sunny day, an early-grade-school classmate and I decided to do some research on what were called, back in the day, “dirty books.” In those days, that kind of content was so scarce that the Sears catalog was a draw for young men who wanted to see scantily clad gals (nowadays, what we’d consider fully covered).

Well, Mr. Goldberg of Goldberg Drug in Grand Forks was a friend of the family, a very nice man I knew through my dad. My friend and I entered his store, and —having no idea what or where the “dirty books” were located — just wandered around. We assumed, I guess, that they’d just jump out at us. No one told us that the reason we didn’t see said books was because they were behind the counter, out of sight, for only adults to purchase.

The good Mr. Goldberg came over to us, smiling, and asked if he could help us. We smiled back and asked him where the “dirty books” were. I can remember it like it happened yesterday. While my friend wisely got the hell out of there, Mr. Goldberg grabbed me by the collar, took me to the telephone, and he dialed (yes, I said “dialed”) the phone and got my dad on the line.

He told Dad what happened. Since his drugstore was only a block from my father’s office, he marched me to the door, told me to behave and ordered me to go to straight over there.

Since I hadn’t seen any magazines, I had no idea what the fuss was all about. I was just on a mission to discover the naughty magazines and report back to our nun, who I presumed would just march downtown and remove them. Ha, what a doofus I was.

Dad’s drop-dead, good-looking secretary cross-examined me first. (Dad had very good eyesight.) When I told her what happened, she started laughing so hard that she could hardly tell Dad I was there.

Then, I entered Dad’s office. Up until now, the whole problem was still a mystery to me. Dad didn’t make it any easier. He explained the kinds of things were in those magazines. All I could think after that was “who the hell would pay to see pictures of naked women?” (Shows my youth, huh?)

Dad promised he wouldn’t tell Mom, who would have grounded me till I was 21, and he honored his pledge.

It wasn’t long after that I was walking through Woolworth’s Dime Store and noticed a little square key chain. It consisted of a number of blocks that you could take apart. If you were smart — I wasn’t — you could reassemble them. Without thinking, I put it in my pocket without paying for it, and again went up to Dad’s office to hook a ride home with him.

While sitting at his desk waiting, I took the damned thing out and got it apart, but had no idea how to reassemble it. Dad came to the rescue and immediately put it back together.

That’s when the trouble started. I could be sneaky back then, but to this day, I cannot tell a lie if I’m looking at the person. My then-lawyer father asked me where I got it, since it looked brand-new.

I said, “Woolworth’s.”

Then he asked what I used to pay for it. That was my undoing. I couldn’t think of a single excuse, a lie, anything at all. I just panicked and told him the truth.

Once again, I had the opportunity to meet another of Dad’s friends, the store manager. He called him and told him his son wanted to see him. Then he put the phone down.

I thought Dad himself was going to turn me in. No such luck. With a shrug and a grin, he said, “Go over there, ask for the manager and return the item. Be sure to tell him how you obtained it.”

For a child, that was pure torture. When I found him, the only reason I didn’t pee my pants was because I was crying too hard. I finally got the words out, I think. The manager told me that mistakes happen, and not to do it again. Needless to say it didn’t happen again.

Once again, Dad saved my life by not telling Mom.

The upcoming Independence Day reminds me of many events more fun to read about than to experience.

On a certain Fourth of July, one of my male relatives and his very large family friend purchased a firework rocket. Back in the day, those damned things could power a missile to the moon. They really had range and kick — nothing to mess around with.

Well, said relative and friend aimed the rocket down Seward Avenue and lit it. Unfortunately, it went true and straight right into the window of a neighbor’s car, where it promptly blew up.

No fool me, I ran into the backyard as fast as I could and didn’t go back out front until the adults in the neighborhood figured out what had happened. I never learned what damage, if any, was done to that car — but said relative assured me that my life would be shortened if I ever told anyone what I had seen.

Remember, these events happened in another life. I was no angel, but I was honest, and I did learn from my mistakes.

Hope you all have a happy Fourth! Play safe. Amen.

4 thoughts on “TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Not An Angel…But Honest, And I Learned My Lesson(s)”

  • Ted Quanrud June 30, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    It was a different world and a different time, Tom. When I grew up in Bismarck, one of my parents’ closest friends was the juvenile commissioner, Col. Ingomar Marcus Oseth, a seemingly stern individual with a very distinguished military career. The colonel warned me as a child that if I ever appeared in his court, he would not throw the book at me, but would break it over my head. I believed him and consequently led a relatively misdemeanor-free youth. On the other hand, he served me my first martini when I was all of 14. I have spent a subsequent half-century looking for a martini as good as the first one.

  • Larry Gauper June 30, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Absolutely excellent, Tom! More young parents and their offspring need to read the personal examples you cite. Thanks – well written!

  • Kathleen B Cunningham July 4, 2016 at 12:36 am

    oh my now I know why your dad and my mom got along so well 🙂 they both could keep secrets

  • Judge Thomas A. Davies (retired) July 6, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    Thank God for that 🙂


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