When I became a young man my father sat me down. He said, Son, you’re all grown up, it’s time you looked around and noticed the world and all the people in it. He was sitting at his desk in his office. On the wall behind him was a giant framed picture of Natalie Wood. The picture was signed. It said, in big blue cursive streaks, To Jim, With All My Love, Natalie. My father’s name is not Jim. I asked him if Natalie Wood really signed the picture and he said, It doesn’t matter whether or not she really signed it. He said, What matters is that you go out and find your own thing to obsess about. My father did not put his arm around me as he walked me out of his office, but he did tell me that a man is nothing without something to obsess over. Because my father was a very successful man I took his words to heart, and the very next day, as I was being driven to school by my driver, Lester, I noticed a billboard I hadn’t noticed before. On the billboard was a woman sitting on a white horse. She was not wearing any clothes, but she wasn’t naked because her long blonde hair was covering her breasts. The title of the movie was Bolero, and underneath the title it said, An Adventure In Extasy. I asked Lester who the woman was and he told me her name was Bo Derek. When I get home from school later that day I told my father that I was obsessed with Bo Derek. He commended me on my choice. Even though it was a school night my father said it was okay for me to go to the movies. I told Lester to drive me to Century City. I told him to buy me a ticket, buy me some Milk Duds and a large Coke, walk me into the theater, leave as soon as the movie started and wait for me in the car. Somewhere during the middle of the movie, when Bo Derek vows to bring the Toreador’s gored manhood back from the dead, I knew my life had changed forever. I had Lester take me back to the movie theater the next night and the night after that and the next five nights in a row. The movie was pulled from the theater after a week and I did not see it again until about six months later when my father obtained a pirated VHS tape of Bolero for me to watch in the comfort of my own room. In the interim I covered the walls of my room with posters of Bo Derek and wrote her a series of letters (my father knew someone who knew someone and found out the address of the ranch in Malibu where Bo Derek lived with her ‘husband’) in which I subtly courted Bo Derek and asked her if she would like to go on a date with me to Gladstone’s 4 Fish Restaurant. I told her I would pick her up and drop her off and all about Lester and how the scene in Bolero where she has honey poured all over her torso was probably my favorite scene ever along with the scene in The Soldier when Ken Wahl drives a red Porsche Carrera over the Berlin Wall and into East Germany so he can confront the Russkies and tell them that if they go ahead with their plan to nuke the Ghawar oil fields in Saudi Arabia then Moscow will, in turn, be kaputtski thanks to some strategically aimed ICBM missiles The Soldier (Wahl) has managed to take hostage. Bo Derek never answered the letters, which made me think maybe my father had the wrong address, so I had Lester drive me out to Malibu. After Lester threw me over the electrified fence I made my way to the main house and came to a back door, which is where I saw Bo Derek for real, in the flesh. She was not naked, but she was wearing a white caftan just like the one she wore in “10.” It was see-through and I couldn’t stop staring. If you think Bo Derek cuts a ravishing figure on the silver screen then let me tell you, in person she is nothing short of a mythological creature. She looked like she had been sculpted out of slightly melted butter. The security guard who found me told the police that I was totally agog, slack-jawed, and not responding to their requests to please leave at once, or else. I would be lying to you if I said my father was mad at me. Yes, he was mad at Lester, and duly terminated his employment, but I received no punishment. My father saw the entire escapade as a kind of baptism. He sat behind his desk and told me that I couldn’t really consider myself an adult until I had a court-ordered injunction to stay at least one hundred yards away from a beautiful woman, and now that I had, he was proud to call me his son. While he was telling me this he noticed that I was staring too long at the picture of Natalie Wood, so he got up from his chair and tried to cover it with his body, which, to me, at least, seemed like an exercise in futility considering how big the picture was. Then he looked back at me and said, Hey, what are you doing, don’t look at her, she’s mine, she’s mine, she’s mine, all mine.
An Adventure In Extasy