Miller High School did not have Sex Education listed in the curriculum in the 1940's and 1950's. If it had existed, I can't imagine which teacher would have been assigned to teach the forbidden subject. In my teens, you learned about reproduction from your friends, and if you were overheard using the "F" word, your parents still reached for the Life Boy soap to wash out your dirty mouth.
Boys in those days might not brag that they had "gone all the way"," but having a condom in your billfold was proof that you may have, or at least you were ready. Buying prophylactics, as my employer at the Rexall Drug Store called them, could be an embarrassing ordeal for an adult, and unheard of for a teenage boy.
It was in this small town, old-fashioned atmosphere that I found myself in a unique position. I was checking in stock at the drug store when I discovered two packages of Trojan prophylactics stuck together, and the invoice only called for one. My mind raced at the possibilities of this situation, and I made the decision any teenage boy would make at the time. I took the gross of rubbers! Within a week, the word was out, and I became the unofficial condom distributor of Miller High.
I doubt if I prevented any unwanted pregnancies, but I gave a lot of teenage boys a status symbol that was worth its weight in gold, until discovered by their moms. At that time, the little latex disk became the biggest thing in their life, and moms wanted answers to questions which turned a boy's face red.
I don't know what the shelf life of a condom might be, but I do know the biggest percentage of those I flooded the school with rotted, unused in billfolds, until they were too discolored to brag about.
My downfall came when my girlfriend, at the time, found the Trojan box in the glove compartment of my car. She ended our romance by saying, "It wouldn't be so bad, but over half of them are missing." I wish I could have lived up to the reputation that her imagination created.
I threw away the remaining latex trouble-causers.
© 2001 Maurice D. Karst
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