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Excerpt: 'Requiem For A Paper Bag'

Seth Rogen.
Tammie Arroyo / AP
Seth Rogen.

Note: There is language in this excerpt some readers may find offensive.

A Tree Grows in Vancouver: Part I

I WAS ELEVEN YEARS OLD. Sure, I'd seen a Playboy before, and even Playboy had blown my mind. But I'd never seen anything hardcore — to any degree — before this particular day.

For some strange reason, my mom had signed me up to do a play in Chinatown, and I'd arrived early to the rehearsal. While I was waiting, I decided to take a little stroll around the Yun Sat-sen Gardens, which is this amazing Asian garden in Vancouver — it's actually in a pretty dangerous neighborhood, but I didn't know that at eleven. So I was walking around, killing time, when I noticed a magazine lying mashed and crumpled on the ground. I moved closer and saw body parts — naked body parts. Holy shit! Even from one tiny glimpse, I could tell it was more explicit than anything I'd ever seen in my life.

I kept walking — literally, I didn't even slow my pace. But when I reached the end of the block, something drew me back. I turned and walked by the magazine again, just to get one more glance. And then again. I began circling the thing like a shark — stealing little peeks at the pages on the ground. It had been raining all week so the magazine wasn't just crumpled, it was soaking wet, too. I walked by it a fourth time and then, trying to act casual, bent down and snatched it up. It was just a big wet sopping mess; I shoved the whole thing in my jacket pocket. I didn't look at it, just shoved it in there and went to my play rehearsal. Every ten or twenty minutes throughout the rehearsal, I sneaked over to my jacket to make sure that the hot, wet clump was still inside.

That night I went home and spread the magazine carefully on a towel to dry out. Then I stared. I couldn't believe what I was looking at. It all seemed much more surgical than I'd ever imagined it would be. I mean, I saw the insides of body parts I had never even seen the outside of before. I was shocked at how explicit it was. "They're just showing people having sex!" At that age sex is such an unattainable Holy Grail. To see it nonchalantly plastered all over this magazine was unbelievable to me. I used to look at these pages constantly. I don't even think I jacked off at that point — I would go to my room and just stare.

You may not believe this, but I still look at porno from time to time. As you know, they have ads towards the back of porno magazines for phone-sex lines and shit like that. That original porno mag was so waterlogged, the ad pages in the back were, for the most part, the only ones undamaged enough to see. Well, I held onto that magazine for a very long time. Even after I got real porno — movies and whatnot — I still held onto that original find. I'm sure at some point my mom found the thing and threw it away. But believe me when I tell you this: there are literally the same exact ads in the back of magazines today as the ones in that soggy porno magazine I found fifteen years ago. Trust me, I'm an expert.

Excerpted from Requiem For A Paper Bag, published by Simon & Schuster

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Seth Rogen