I'd heard he was JFK's favorite spy and that intrigued me.That, and the notion he was 'licensed to kill'. I was eleven, in the throes of puberty, and looking to screw everything I could: pillow cases, wet towels, makeup jars, apple pie, or any object that was viscous and malleable. There's something about a young man's concupiscence that sears indelible sights and smells into his brain. I can still taste every city block in the Manhattan of my youth: the musty candy counters, the pizza parlors, drug stores, magazine racks and news stands. Reading has always been a multi-sensory experience, then, and now. I remember the distinct visceral mellows of an Ian Fleming paperback, an Archie and Veronica comic, a Famous Monsters cover, and, above all, the single greatest eidetic orgy ever to pour from two glossy covers, Hugh Hefner's Playboy.
The year was 1961. Kennedy was in the White House, James Bond on the movie marquee, and Hugh Hefner in the drug stores. My own playboy father would send me postcards from St. Moritz where he would spend his winters skiing with the jet set and European glitterati. Stateside, we'd spend our summers with him in the Hamptons where we rode horseback and water skied from our neighbor Oleg Cassini's speed boat. My father, typically in the company of an international beauty, embodied this perfectly hedonic message; the war hero's message, the president's message, James Bond's message, Hugh Hefner's message: live large, save the world, and sleep with as many beautiful women as possible. It was a message I would take to heart through the countless adventures of my mind, and in the eventuating adulthood hurtling towards me.