An Age of Confusion

Be forewarned, this entry contains words of a sexually explicit nature. If such things offend you, I advise against reading it.

Korman King was a natural born leader. I don’t think it is entirely necessary to be born into the role, but it does help. Learning leadership skills for someone who didn’t find it natural, as I did, was difficult. It was akin to learning how to play the guitar. Some people, like Eddie Van Halen, simply start playing by ear from childhood and sound angelic. Others, like me, take lessons and practice for more than eight years and still sound demonic.

I lost my circle of friends in elementary school due to a botched experiment my guidance counselor, Mr. Covington, attempted with me there. He did manage to elevate my social level, though, but not as high as he had expected to. I didn’t accept the individuals he proposed to be my friends, nor did they accept me. Instead, I was left to find new friends. I turned to those who were closest to me, some of the members of my Sunday school class. Korman King was chief among them.

Some memorable happenings with Korman during that confusing time of puberty were not very complimentary, to either Korman or me. Korman was the leader of our group, so he basically chose what we would do and when we would do it. This didn’t always work out to be such a smart thing, dictatorship rarely is. However, I cannot remember a time when Korman ever put us in serious jeopardy. He was, after all, a natural born leader.

I feel that I was closer to Korman than the others, if for a brief time only. You see, my parents adored him and often invited him along with us to social gatherings. In the country where (and when) we lived, it wasn’t unusual for people to leave their doors unlocked. Such was the case with my family. However, this isn’t to say that visitors shouldn’t knock on the door before they come into a house. That is just common courtesy, but something that Korman apparently missed out on in Etiquette 101. Korman was notorious for simply walking in our house, when he came to visit. This lasted even through high school, though his visits at that time were less frequent.

Korman went with us on a trip to Disneyland. I admit that I was jealous, seeing all the attention my parents were giving him at my expense. It was nauseating, the way they pointed out his many strengths and asked me why I couldn’t be more like him. I yelled at him a few times on that trip. Still, we managed to have a good time.

In particular, I remember that it was the first year of the Space Mountain ride and we had to wait in line for almost three hours. I thought that was bad, at the time, but years later I waited in a line for Universal Studios’ Jurassic Park ride for over five hours! (That was with my son, Cameron, during one of his rare visitations after his mother and I got a divorce.) As we finally got into the ride, we were put in the front of ride. It resembled some sort of space ship, with a control panel mockup in front of us. Behind us sat several Japanese tourists.

During the ride, Korman instigated a little game of us pretending to be the ride operators. I went along with it, pretending to push buttons on the control panel decal at the helm. Korman barked out orders like a spaceship captain and I responded as his first mate. A few times, as the ride soared through the manufactured mountain, we would hit a sharp turn and the Japanese couple seated behind us grabbed our shoulders and shook their heads to the contrary. When the ride stopped, the tourists jumped out and clapped for us. They had fallen for our trickery. They even took pictures with us, as if we were some great celebrities they had met up with. It was a happy experience.

One evening, Korman slept over at my house. We were sleeping in the same bed. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary there, but in the middle of the night Korman began rubbing his penis up and down my leg. I don’t know if he was having a dream or not, but I hope so. He kept doing it for a long time and I pretended to be asleep. I could feel that it was erect, but I still acted as though I was deep in slumber. I never talked about it with him.

It was Korman who introduced me to the act of masturbation. He and his stepbrother, Steve Clingenpeel, had gone with me on an overnight hike up nearby Adams Canyon. At the end of the canyon is a beautiful 40-foot waterfall. Shortly before that is a camping area. We put our sleeping bags down under a lean-to that someone had built in the camping area. It was so old that it was covered in vines and moss.

We lay on the sleeping bags and talked. Korman asked me if I had ever masturbated. I replied that I had not. So he and Steve showed me how to do it, using tube socks. I had heard of masturbation before, during another overnight get-together. That time it was with my cousin, Brad Walters, and his sister, Natalie. They were both quite knowledgeable about the subject at an early age. But, this was the first time I had ever seen it. I didn’t join in with them, but later tried it on my own at home. Being a typical male, I was hooked on it from the beginning.

Speaking of masturbation, I just remembered a funny story about something that happened years later while I was a missionary. Elder Church, a member of my MTC district, came out of an interview with President Bangerter. They were both laughing. I asked what was so funny. He said, “The Pres asked me if I had a problem with masturbation and I said, ‘Nope, it works every time!’”

I don’t want to dwell on the subject of sex while I’m writing about my friend Korman King, as there was so much more to him than just that. But, let me get the last reference out of the way – French kissing. Korman was the first person I’d seen French kissing. I don’t remember the specifics of the event, just the visual of seeing him doing it with Beth Dahlstedt outside of a bowling alley in broad daylight. I had never seen anyone tongue-kissing before and it was interesting to me.

So, I guess I have to thank Korman for opening up a world of sexuality to me. I’m certain that if he had not done it, someone else would have. But he was my friend, and he was there to show me some of the ropes. Although he led the way, he didn’t take the whole sex experience as far as I did. He towed the line and stayed on the straight-and-narrow, whilst I ventured into “forbidden territory” and sowed a lot of wild oats. I enjoyed most of it and have a good attitude towards things of a sexual nature. I believe that I have Korman to thank for part of that. If it weren’t for him, I might have grown up even more confused than I did. What a tragedy that would have been!

It was good to have someone around who was my own age (we’re a little more than a month apart in age) and going through the same things I was. In fact, it is always comforting to know that I am not the only one who thinks about certain things. I feel that if everyone were more open to their feelings, the world would be a much better place. Sadly, most people live behind a curtain of deceit and choose to portray themselves as someone they are not.

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