“I think I’m constantly in a state of adjustment.” — Patti Smith
GO AND SIN NO MORE
Now, that’s more like it.
My soul has been cleansed by yesterday’s act of public contrition. Confession, you might call it, albeit a secular form of the holy Catholic rite. Isn’t that what the Internet and blogging are for? To bare one’s soul, to let the world know of one’s triumphs and foibles, to shout out to upward of a billion wired citizens of Earth what one ate for breakfast this morning?
Yes, I experienced catharsis by proclaiming to the Internet-connected inhabitants of this little blue dot that I should not have wished to pummel the faces of those two smug little shits whose lyrical ode to Rick Santorum has become a You Tube/Facebook sensation.
Looking For A Strong Man To Tell Them What To Do With Their Wombs
Confession. Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has, in fact, been 42 years since my last confession.
Yep, I did it last in my freshman year at Fenwick High School, all-boys at the time, a highly disciplined college prep school for which my parents scrimped and saved to pay the $675 annual tuition, at the time a princely sum.
They did it so I could spend my days around a better class of juveniles than the hoodlums whom I’d begun to join nightly behind the fieldhouse at Amundsen Park, where we smoked cigarettes, drank Boone’s Farm Apple Wine, and engaged in the occasional fistfight.
A mere two weeks after school had started in that September of 1970, my father and I attended the Father and Son Communion Breakfast. A confessional box was set up just outside the Boulevard Room where the Mass was to be held, a convenience for all those high-achievement daddy-os whose jobs were too demanding for them to get to confession earlier in the week.
My old man said, “Do you need to go to confession?” It was more an accusation than a question. I nodded yes and so he and I both got into line. We waited a few minutes for the bankers and real estate execs ahead of us to unburden themselves of the sin, presumably, of keeping Chicagoland the most segregated metropolitan area in the nation.
What my father had to confess I could not speculate. He worked all day at a cardboard box factory, came home after dark, ate dinner, donned his Bermuda shorts, slipped his socks just over his heels but left them on to keep his toes warm as he lay back in his recliner to watch the “Flip Wilson Show” or “Marcus Welby, MD.” Within 15 minutes he’d be snoring, his toasty toes pointed toward heaven.
Flip Wilson (As Geraldine) With Burt Reynolds
“Joe!” my mother would yell, eliciting from him an alarmed snort. “For chrissakes, I can’t even hear the TV!” At which point he’d stop snoring, shift in his chair, and promptly re-commence his apneal symphony within a minute or two.
What in Our Father’s name did he have to confess? I couldn’t know at the time; I would learn many years later.
A more compelling question was, What did I have to confess? I was a 14-year-old dweeb, wearing horn-rimmed glasses, having a slight problem with acne (concealed, or so I thought, by the pancake layer of Clearisil I wore on my face) and still a good five years away from my very first sexual experience — with another person, that is.
Fighting The Good Fight
Well, there you go — I could have confessed any or all of the several thousand times I’d engaged in self-pollution since my previous confession but, of course, I didn’t. How could I tell a priest that I touched myself?
(Lucky I was skittish about it — he might have interpreted such a confession as a come-on.)
“… And Then There Was The Time With The French Bread….”
All I remember is I told him some generic, made-up stuff — I disobeyed my parents and I lied three times. Yeah, that was my last confession.
Until yesterday. Phew. If I believed in god, I’d feel forgiven. If I believed I had a soul, I’d be certain it was spotless.
I believe in the Internet, though. I’ve got my Comcast broadband bill right here on my desk.
Forgive me, Page Viewers, for I have sinned.
YOU ARE HEREBY REMANDED BY THIS COURT TO THE CUSTODY OF….
The first time The Loved One and I ever passed Batchelor Middle School on Bloomington’s west side, I pointed at the facility and said, “Oh look, there’s a state prison.”
No joke. The two of us had to pass the joint by again yesterday, on the way to TLO’s friend’s house. It still looks like a correctional institution.
I ask you this: What sort of cruel school board would hire such a sadistic architect to design the grim, forbidding gulag that is the Batchelor Middle School?
From my own experience I know that the difference between dropping out and staying in school can hinge on the slightest factor. A mean teacher. An episode of harassment.
How about reporting every morning to a featureless concrete blockhouse set far back in a field as if to protect the surrounding environs from the inmates within?
I know if I were a Batchelor inmate, I could easily be walking toward the place one day and suddenly stop and say to myself, “Screw it.”
The culture of an entire society can change within a single lifetime. Want proof?
Check this vid.
Number 47 said to Number 3
You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see.
I sure would be delighted with your company
Come on and do the jailhouse rock with me.
It should be noted that as Elvis sings that fourth line, he’s thrusting his hips.
Jailhouse Rock, 1957: a movie scene for teenaged girls to swoon over.
Jailhouse Rock, 2012: incidental music for streaming gay porn