Monday, September 07, 2009

Catholic School, Part 1

I decided that it's time for a bit of humor around this dump, so here is a piece I wrote some time ago.

* * * * *


[Wave. Wave wave. Wave.]

“Charles, put your hand down when I am speaking.”

“Yes, Sister.”

[2 minutes later. Wave wave. Wave. Wave wave wave. GIGANTIC WAVE!]

“Charles, I told you to put your hand down when I am speaking.”

“Yes, Sister.”

[2 more minutes later.]

“Alright, Charles, I am finished speaking.”

“Yes, Sister, I'm finished too [squish]. So what page are we on [squish]?”

It was a completely different story when a girl had to go to the bathroom. Wiggle one plump finger for a nanosecond, Sister would nod and smile (even when her back was turned to the room), and it was zooooom, out the door and down the hall to the can.

The girls, you see, had “needs” the boys didn’t have. For heaven’s sake, what “needs” did a bunch of goofy nine-year-old girls have? Mascara re-do? Training bra malfunction? A quick smoke? I suspect that Sister didn’t dare piss them off because every little girl was a candidate for the convent, a possible martyr if she was lucky as hell, and eventual sainthood.

But the boys? Since we were male, we were automatic perverts.


(This was the sixth-grade cloakroom, my favorite.)

“Charles, are you touching yourself down there?” Sister asked suspiciously, noting that my right hand was not on my desktop devoutly entwined with my left.

Of course I was. When I was a child I suffered from frequent attacks of itchy balls, and the only known cure was (and still is) to scratch them. But try to tell that to Sister Mary Godzillus or any of the dopey girls, all of whom looked at me as if I was both worm innards and a Protestant.

Charles, go to the cloakroom!

Going to the cloakroom was my favorite banishment, except in winter when thirty wet coats made it smell like essence of dead water buffalo. But even if it smelled bad, at least I could scratch in . . . blessed . . . peace. And switch all of the girls’ mittens around when I wasn’t scratching, picking, or fumbling with my static-cling underpants.

I spent so much time in various (eight) cloakrooms over (eight) years that I’m surprised I didn’t grow up to be a professional hatcheck girl in some hoity-toity gin mill:

“Ah, good evening, Bishop Torquemada! May I check your staff and sheep? Your bed of nails, perhaps? Your bingo cards for winners? Surely you don’t intend to wear that silly rat-hair rug all evening—Please allow me, your Bishopness, to check it for vermin . . .”

ADDENDUM, 09/09/09: Best comment, from Tiffin:

We had to hold up one finger for a pee, two fingers for a dump. Can you imagine making kids advertise what they were going to do in the bathroom like that? I always used to hold up 3, claiming I didn't know what was going to happen until I got there.


Wandering Coyote said...

Oooh, this is going to be a great series, I can just tell! So far, so great!

Robert the Skeptic said...

I was fortunate enough to not have to go to Catholic school... just Catechism on weekends or after school. There was no Catholic high school where I lived, so after 8th grade, all the kids schooled in the Catholic schools had to join us in public school.

They went nuts with their new found freedom, like they had been released from a pressure cooker after 8th grade. I was lucky to be through grade school. Shows what suppression can do to people.

I was lucky to be able to scratch wherever and whenever I needed. Now THAT is true expression of personal freedom.

St Jude said...

Before you say anything, I am working on it Charlie, honest! Being of the feminine persuasion I don't have the 'itchy sphericals' predicament. At school though I used to sit next to a boy who switched constantly between rummaging through his nasal passages or in his trousers. I used to howl with protest when the teacher would line us up and order us to hold hands with out desk partner when it was time for lunch.

Jimmy Bastard said...

I remember one particular sister who enjoyed jabbing her boney finger in my cheekbone until she drew blood. She would only stop when her victim produced ears.

I never cried... she never stopped.

PI said...

'It was a completely different story when a girl had to go to the bathroom.'
Vive girl power:)

Attila The Mom said...

LOL Did you ever get those itchy balls looked at?

Mary Witzl said...

Love this, Charlie. And there is nothing I enjoy so much as a good scratch. I went wild when I had the chickenpox.

Lady_Amanda said...

Hey Charlie,

I got a real kick out of this. I know you grew up in a rougher time of Catholic school. However, I can tell you the two times my parents tried to place me in Catholic school (first grade and sixth grade) back in the eighties it wasn't too pleasant either. I wonder how it is today. Having no kids yet so makes me wonder!

This was just so funny,

Charlie said...

WC: Don't get you hopes up too high, but thanks. I have another humorous incident and then a serious one.

ROBERT: My brother-in-law had Catechism like you did, but he still bitches about it. He has no idea how lucky he was.

ST JUDE: You truly are a saint. I'm willing to bet you were a thin girl, not eating lunch and all. I mean how could you after a horror story like that?

Collectively, boys are pigs.

JIMMY: That woman was truly sick, not unlike the ones who ran the Magdalene Launderies.

I can truthfully say that none of the Sisters I had were physical sadists.

Charlie said...

PAT: I don't dispute girl power and in fact I endorse it, but not when it comes to bathroom equality. "Equal rights for equal bathrooms!"—or something like that.

MOM: Bite my heiney on your way to the cloakroom.

MARY: A good scratch is one of those little pleasures in life that people seldom mention.

LA: I think that, nowadays, you have to be rich to go to Catholic school because they use lay teachers.

I'm glad that I could make you laugh.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

LOL! I read this to my husband both of us were laughing silly.
He said that man has talent - now don't let it go to your head. kk?
I went to Catholic school for 9 years as well so it was particularly meaningful to me.
Looking forward to part 2.

Tiffin said...

We had to hold up one finger for a pee, two fingers for a dump. Can you imagine making kids advertise what they were going to do in the bathroom like that? I always used to hold up 3, claiming I didn't know what was going to happen until I got there.

Stinkypaw said...

Glad you know the cure for that nasty itch!

Book Bird Dog said...

You've been tagged for the ABC meme! Click on my name to take you there!

Charlie said...

SHELLIE: I'm happy I was able to amuse you and JD, but don't worry—very little goes to my head.

TIFFIN: LOL! I'm not even going to try commenting on that one!

STINKY: You might consider passing that along to Mr. Stinky, just in case he hasn't tried it.

HARVEE: Thanks for the tag, but I don't do memes—I just don't have the time.

Anonymous said...

Tiffin: I assume the teachers wanted to know what they were risking by keeping you in your seat a while longer! In MY school 1 finger meant you were asking permission to get a cup of water from the dispenser in the entryway (One-room country school); 2 fingers meant you needed to leave the building to use the remote facilities (otherwise known as outhouses).

Kate said...

Brilliant post! Going to a Catholic school is certainly a character building experience lol I must blog about mine sometime.

We were allowed to use the loo as needed, but toilet paper was rationed. We had to ask for it and only got 3 sheets.

Charlie said...

LW3: Betcha didn't spend a lot of time out there smoking and hob-nobbing with the other girls in the dead of winter.

When, exactly, did indoor plumbing come to Pennsylvania?

KATE: 3 SHEETS!!! That's about the saddest (and sadist) thing I've ever heard!

Had it been me, I would have earned the moniker Poopy Pants long before he was invented.

Kate said...

lol And it wasn't even the good stuff! It was that crispy, shiny variety that's not even fit for purpose.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I wonder why those perverts were so interested in knowing whether you had to pee or poo? Did they dole out the appropriate amount of toilet paper on the way out or something?