Dam: (n) a barrier constructed to hold back water and raise its level
I am often surprised at my own conceit.
Perhaps some folks would not consider it conceit—to relate every word, subject and category in life to one’s own limited experience. Even though I know there is a great Hoover Dam, and these barriers are often constructed by busy beavers, and without the concrete which holds water where we want it, many human beings would never get a drink of water, I persist.
Yes, I am fully aware of all this information.
But when I hear the word “dam,” I think of necking.
Or coming as close as possible to “going all the way.”
In my small village, one had to be careful on Friday or Saturday night to choose where to make out with your girlfriend or boyfriend.
There were eyes everywhere.
And even though all the grownups in the town knew, on good authority, that boys and girls did things that made them become men and women, they still chose to put off that metamorphosis for as long as possible, for their particular caterpillars.
So we had to have someplace to go, to find out how far we could go before falling off the edge of the Earth.
The spot favored by nearly everyone was a little dam outside our town. It was about eight miles away, located on what we referred to as the Hoover Reservoir. (As I write this article, I have no idea why they named it Hoover or how it “reservoired.”)
It was an amazing place.
There was a little roadside park, and right next to it was another road that careened down into another large parking area, which overlooked the overflow to the dam. (Forgive me if I overused the word “over.”)
On Friday and Saturday nights—and for brave souls who could slip away any night of the week, for that matter—the very young drove to the location just as nightfall was peeking around the corner. There they parked their cars and commenced to give one another tonsillectomies, followed by physical exams and searches for moles and blemishes.
Now, let me explain that there were two types of people—those who were dating, who went to the dam to do things which might make them end up damned, and those who had no significant other and chose, because of their insignificance, to go to that parking spot near the water, and flash headlights, honk horns and even get out of the car to pound on the hood of smoochers, disrupting their pleasure.
It was a nasty practice.
We called it “bushwacking.”
Truthfully, the only people in the world who thought it was humorous or clever were the few pathetic souls that found themselves doing the ugly deed out of frustration for not being able to participate in the competition.
Many a day I defended bushwackers for their light-hearted effort to have fun.
That is, until I met someone who was willing to go to the dam place and kiss me until I couldn’t breathe. Then I was infuriated for the interruption.
Now, I realize, as I warned you at the beginning, that this outlook on the word “dam” is very myopic and certainly foretells of an egocentric mindset.
Yet since I have not lied to you up to this point, I cannot do so on this day.
The word “dam” does and always will remind me of either the pursuit of happiness with my nimble fingers or being a loser, honking my horn with a giddy revenge.