I realized I haven’t done one of these in over eight months!
If you’re not familiar with my series “Paris-Ochial,” these are tales of my time at a Catholic high school as a Protestant.
I think maybe twice during high school they made us go to confession. This was a new concept for me. Sure I had seen confessions in action movies, but it was always the protagonist confessing a sin to a shadowed priest in a darkened booth with that sliding cheese grater wall thing. But then the priest would say something, and the hero would recognize the voice. It was the bad guy trying to kill him! A shootout would happen next and holy water would spill.
Oh, that’s another thing. We had these little birdbaths inside each classroom. About the size of an ashtray except bolted to the way. I don’t think anything was in them most of the time, but I think it was supposed to be for holy water. I heard holy water is merely Dasani that the parish buys wholesale at Costco. Then the priest takes a mouthful, swishes it around in his cheeks and then spits back in the bottle. Presto! Holy water.
Okay, I didn’t so much hear that as make it up.
Our school marched us into confession, which was this chapel on campus behind the audiotorium stage. I remember they burned some patchuli and took the lights down to a romantic dim. There was nothing romantic to me about sitting in a room with a hundred dudes.
The biggest bummer was that they don’t let non-Catholics into the booth. It’s against their religion, I guess. Not that I would have wanted to go. I wasn’t totally sure what “sin” meant except if you offed a dude, and I didn’t even have an arch-nemesis or a gun. I watched Wings reruns and played guitar by myself.
So not only did I have to sit in this chapel in the dark, I couldn’t even go outside to smoke. They didn’t allow that either, by the way. Lots of rules!
The priests passed around a list of sins (nope – not kidding) in case your shame needed a jump start. Most of which didn’t apply to me. Lots of stuff about impure this and that, not being respectful to parents, etc. All nonsense in my book. But, hey, I’m not Catholic.
The one that stopped me was…
- Deliberately caused male climax outside of normal sexual intercourse?
I didn’t even understand it for a moment. Then I realized what they meant. You have to tell priests when you work the wang? I’m no psychologist, but I’m guessing that violates standard privacy boundaries. Plus, I only had ONE date in all of high school! My self-esteem was not exactly through the roof. I’m supposed to feel bad about the dates I took with myself? Well I guess you could make the sin argument if I was the star quarterback with chicks hanging all over me.
Father Flannigan, I… I touched myself in an impure way this past Tuesday.
Is this Chet Harksville III, master of the high school gridiron and all county passing yards champion?
It is I.
Why are you spanking it when I see both Debbie Sue and Sally Ann wanting to ride that jock, jock?
Ooh, you really think so?
Dude, they told me that in confession. Sssshh! Ha!
(they hive five through the grate)
Say a few Our Fathers for being such a numbskull! Hey, you know what my favorite football play is?
The Hail Mary?
Shit! I guess that joke was pretty obvious. Hey – you keep it up and long, okay? Laters.
– fin –
Seriously, I didn’t know touching oneself was a sin. Therefore I sort of chucked the whole idea of confession. I couldn’t go anyway, and I had a therapist would would basically do the same thing, but instead of forgiving me and assigning me homework would just stare blankly and charge my parents $100 per hour.