Picture this. You're at the club, cutie from across the room is giving you the eyes, there's an instant connection. DJ fades in Ginuwine's "Pony," that smooth bass line hits the speakers, you connect with cutie, and magic happens.

Okay, now picture all of that again except this time you're 12.

This "club," called Tepee for some reason, was a rec center for Collinsville, IL middle schoolers. The upstairs was the dance floor and the downstairs was the game room. Kind of like The Emporium from "Dazed and Confused" meets The Foot hangout from Ninja Turtles. The idea was to keep kids off the streets but we just brought the streets to them. There were fist fights every week, pre-teens dry humped upstairs like a hoard of pimple-faced hormone clusters, and a girl once had to be rushed to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. Kids huffed glue, as you do, and sniffed spray paint from a paper bag.

It was quite poetic, like Collinsville's own cultural allegory. Did you know that REM's Michael Stipe is from Collinsville? No one does, because he doesn't tell anyone.

I had a Tepee romance once. Her name was Erin. I'm sure we did the white people dance to "Pony" because they played it every. fucking. weekend, but there was also some good slow dances to Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing." A month later she DUMPED ME! The nerve. Joke's on her though. She has a husband and a family and I'm writing this post inside Sky Harbor Terminal 4.

Is Tepee still there? I don't know, is there a cure for herpes? The same logic will get you the same answer.

Update: Oh my god it's still there and I feel weird just looking at its Facebook page.