When I was in high school, there were two Joanna Smiths, a fact which is only relevant when I divulge that, today, I received a Facebook request from Joanna Smith, and not knowing which one it was, I was thusly confronted with the critical decision to accept or deny said request.
Joanna Smith the first, the bronze-legged cheerleader with the piercing brown eyes and unbelievably perfect breasts, the type of breasts one could stare at for hours imagining one’s head nestled up against them to feel the comforting yet absurdly tantalizing sensuality of the female form, the type which formed a protective barrier for her implausibly sexy stomach adorned with that little belly button ring that I imagined spending my afternoons trapped inside, and also provided shade over that tiny space between her legs which tortured and tormented many a high school freshman when she was thrown in the air after the football team scored a touchdown and one could catch a glimpse of that off-limits area and yet still harbor dreams of conquering that mountain.
On the other side, the other side of Joanna Smith the first, lie the two perfectly-formed mountains with the vertical horizon that dropped into a canyon of imagination and ambition, an asset which garnered her attention from the entire student body and more than half the teaching staff, and led to rumors of lunchtime trysts with Mr. Spading, the history teacher with the pedophiliac’s eye, and Mrs. Tuncher, a 1960’s hippie whose concept of free love branched out to lesbians, farm animals – only limited only to those with four legs – and the occasional administrative orgy that no faculty member on campus would ever admit to, and of course Joanna, the undeniably attractive cheerleader who would bring out Mrs. Tuncher”s burst of feminist energy, and perhaps allow her to express her rather masculine compulsion for dominance.
Joanna Smith the first thought I was adorable, allowing me the impracticable belief that I might sleep with…. kiss….nay, engage in more than a cursory acquaintanceship with her, though to be honest she was the reason I spent many extra hours in the downstairs bathroom while my parents prepared dinner, an admission I smile about as I stare at the computer screen wondering whether to press accept or deny, and how quickly I should move my hand if I do decide to press the button. Oftentimes, Joanna Smith the first would lift that beautiful upper lip, as though tugged from heaven, and point her inverted index finger at me with a little wiggle, the suggestive gesture of approach, and I’d coolly, meaning trying to stay calm and composed but feeling the intense lust of a teenager struck with the awful hormonal imbalance of puberty, wander over to her and let her squeeze me against those aforementioned unbelievably perfect breasts, gleefully looking out the corner of my eye to see if Wendy Simmons, the other hot cheerleader for whom I also maintained a stiff penchant, might notice and become slightly jealous with the side-possibilty/benefit of her taking corrective action to thwart that emotion. Other times, Joanna Smith the first would stroll up behind me, place her hand on my ass and with the brush of her hair across my face and the smell of her sweet perfume thrilling my nose, pass by me with a firm pat and a “Hi cute boy!”
My memories of Joanna Smith the first come back to me in little beads of sweat, at once making me hot and sticky but too, cooling me with the remembrance of evaporating love. For a moment, I sit back in my leather chair, deciding whether to give that button a firm pat to once again hear that “Hi cute boy,” from the unconventional intimacy of cyberspace.
Joanna Smith the second, the dyed black hair, jet-black tank-top, black-black jeans, blacker-black cape wearing Goth-cum-Satan worshipping individualist, though with an obvious sense of conformity, because really, the moment one claims to be setting a trend is the same moment one becomes part of a group, represented the flip side of the accept/deny request decision. During one student assembly, Joanna Smith the second grabbed ahold of my hand as we were entering the auditorium, then smiled with a bloody tongue as she leaned in and licked my cheek, smearing the red liquid across my face, and then, as she walked away, smiled with a single raised eyebrow, as though lifting the blinds to her interior wickedness.
On another occasion, I can remember her relaxing under the bleachers at one of our high school soccer games, and while others might have presumed she was performing some voodoo spell upon our opponents, several times I caught her staring right at me, the silver point of her black hunting knife aimed at my head, as she squinted and screwed her face up into a twisted knot, mirroring the gesture with her hand and making me feel as if I’d just been stabbed and gutted by Lucifer himself.
Still, the unsettling memory, which endures most distressingly, is Joanna Smith the second in the school parking lot, or rather, in the back seat of my car which was parked in the school parking lot. On my way home to study, I entered the front seat of my vehicle and tossed my books into the back seat and heard a loud “Oof!” Turning, I saw Joanna Smith the second, her black-black jeans lying on my back seat, her jet-black tank-top hanging out the window, and that scary blacker-black cape, tightly-knotted around her throat as she pulled on the ends, and stuck her tongue out at me and screamed “Come take me now, come take me now, c’mon quickly!” this as she lifted her legs onto the headrests of my front seats and exposed her womanhood to me, the densely-wooded forest of hell beckoning me to enter her fiery den. Once again, I sit back in my leather chair, choosing whether to thrust forward and allow myself to enter Joanna Smith the Second’s life from the anonymous sanctuary of cyberspace.
Confronted with the accept/deny choice, I pondered the options with equanimity, measuring the pull of desire against the possibility of imminent death. Hovering above the keyboard, my hand began to shake, as though a victim of some ouija magic, and I felt Joanna Smith the second take control of my body. I recoiled and looked down, at the slight rise now protruding from my groin as I succumbed to the compulsion of Joanna Smith the first. The button was merely inches away and I could not act. For a brief moment, I felt like every American, asked to pull the voting lever but completely oblivious to the facts, and without time nor energy to educate oneself. Then I pulled my hand back from the computer. My choice was obvious. I’d leave Joanna Smith the first or Joanna Smith the second, dangling, basking in the glow of un-acceptance, left in the frustrated rejection of denial, a fitting tribute to how I felt during my own high school years, and a corollary for the entire Facebook community.