Celebrities literally caught with their pants down have a universal allure. That naked truth became absurdly clear a few years back during an office-hours kitchen screening of that infamous "stolen" Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee video.
Fifteen- and 30-second snippets were making the Internet rounds, but the spectacle couldn't yet be freely downloaded in full for a private pondering. Fortunately, an intrepid workmate lass, bless her soul, managed to snare a VHS copy.
The assembled motley crew of ladies and gents, ripe with mixed political bents yet united in a communal carnal curiosity overriding any compunctions about outing ourselves to coworkers as giddy consumers of smut, made for a pop-cultural event of admittedly dubious distinction.
Yet now, strangely, as the most recent Internet-leaked celebrity sex tape - the Paris Hilton "night vision" debacle - hits the local rental racks, visitors to my pad often request a squint at some good old-fashioned photos of a couple of complete unknowns doing the do.
The pics in question came to light after some roughhousing-gone-wrong destroyed a wall, exposing a time capsule tucked away in there. Labatt 50 stubbies, a machete, a few vintage trashy $2 paperbacks and some ladies' drawers were found among other sundry items.
Being a man of the people, I told two friends of this rare find, and they in turn - well, you get the picture.
But now it's become other people's favourite party trick to call for the evidence of this alleged photographic misadventure - entirely for the edification of the uninitiated in attendance, of course. And such was the case again recently while I was kicking it in an ancient trio that hadn't congregated in a despicable number of years.
"So ya showed him the pictures, right?" queries Lynne, who lives in town. Actually, no.
I fetch the filth, kept far my personal effects of that nature, and Lynne relieves me of it, deftly shuffling the deck of photos for proper presentation to the perplexed road-tripping Chauncy.
As an artisan, he's at first intrigued by the fully clothed couple's big-hair, time-warped look.
"These are really cool. They look like paintings," he says. But then the honeymoon abruptly ends. "What the hell is this?"
Well, buddy, that's a bird's-eye view of the bird's own hirsute bird as her stoner fella dives her down. And the next shot is his rubbed-raw bulbous pecker (a condition easily explained by the next pictures).
Lynne, still laughing her lovely ass off, offers, "You can have so much fun with a Polaroid. But I got rid of all mine."
"Damn, you should have let me keep 'em for you," I truly lament.
"Maybe," she says, "but I did it right and burned 'em up in case something ever happens to me."
I confess to having provided a safe house for many a folk's private pic stash over the years, and she, without hesitation, demands to see what I'm packing. But there's no way.
"I wouldn't have let anyone look at yours, if you hadn't so selfishly torched them," I chastise her.
Chauncy counters that I contradict myself, a fact confirmed by the porno proof-positive still in his hands. I beg to differ, explaining that I owe these people nothing in their fornicating folly.
And Lynne volleys that it ain't even porn anyhow, "just pictures of people having sex, never intending for anyone else to see" - even if their dirty moments in lust were washed at a Family Photo outlet.
We're all nostalgic, full of booze and bawdy mirth, all the while wondering what the conspicuously captured duo might be up to now. The consensus is some form of online action.
After my pals clear out, I'm inclined to dust off my own photo archives but fear that indulging in them, as opposed to our earlier whimsical observation of the anatomical interactions of strangers, may stir dormant obsessions with love lost, shots popped and balls dropped.
Trying to do something more productive, I spark up my computer, only to be rocked by an out-of-the-blue salacious salutation from a long-lost friend: "I wish I had a 'nice' picture to attach to this naughty e-mail, but I don't have my equipment here yet...."
I'm quick to the vaults, fishing out a favourite shot of her before settling back in for a wild read.