One of the most quietly thrilling episodes of my teenaged life…okay, stop right there. Let me assure before continuing that this story won’t get icky. Okay? I was in eighth or ninth grade, about 14 or 15, and I hadn’t done a damn thing with a girl. No flirtations to speak of, no dates…nothing. Nudie magazines were the extent of it. It was 9:30 pm on a Friday night (or so I recall — it might have been a Thursday), and a friend and I had walked a couple of miles to the home of a cheerleader who was going out with a jock-type dude we were friendly with. The names of my friend, the jock and the cheerleader were Jack, Chip and Pam.

It was a surreptitious arrangement so Jack and I didn’t knock on the front door but waited for Chip outside of a basement den room on the side of the home. I remember we were playing around with Pam’s dog for a bit. It was a coolish evening. We were wearing sweaters or fall jackets…something like that. As as the hour began to approach 10 pm, we began to wonder what was up. Chip had told Jack he’d meet us at Pam’s home around 9:30 or 9:45.

Then through a window we saw Chip and Pam come down into the den and start heavily making out as they stood face to face — one of those “goodbye, see ya tomorrow in class” farewells. We were immediately intrigued, of course, and decided against tapping on the window. And then they got into some fondling, unbuttonings, unzippings and the like. I had never seen anyone unzip or unbutton anything, and I’m telling you that my pulse was beating harder and faster than during any subsequent moment of intimacy that has happened in my entire life.

Yes, what we were doing was creepy but this wasn’t “peeping” — we were waiting for a friend and decided not to butt in when we realized what was happening. We would have been spoiling a tender moment so…you know, it was excusable. I remember that Jack was petting the dog in order to keep him quiet, but the dog eventually let go with a whine and all of a sudden Pam’s head whipped in our direction….busted!

Why am I telling this story? Because I’ve never told it before and because I’ll never forget it.

Three years ago I told a story that Jack Klugman passed along once on a talk show. (It might have been The Dick Cavett Show.) It was late at night and Klugman’s wife was trying on different evening outfits as he sat nearby in their living room. She was wearing no underwear, he said, so every time she took off a dress she was Venus di Milo. And she wasn’t far from a large living room window. As he sat there Klugman thought to himself, “Gee, I wish I was across the street with a pair of binoculars.”