|Blogging Like I've Never Blogged Before|
Friday, November 07, 2003
I was envious of the freedom they seemed to have. To me, as a child, freedom meant being able to rip one in church, without fear of eternal damnation.
As you can probably tell by some things I've said occasionally, I no longer fear the wrath of God. I have a feeling He is way cooler than my church made Him out to be. A big part of the reason I stopped going to church was that it just made me feel like shit. My mother would always tell me that church was supposed to make you feel good about yourself, it was sort of a cleansing for the week. Somewhere along the line my church started recruiting these bitter old priests. Everyone knows these guys, not necessarily as priests, but you know them. Everyone had an old man in their family, whether it was a grandpa, or a random uncle of your mom's, that was just grumpy as hell. A real dick. He'd just sit in a chair and not say or do anything fun. As a kid, you get used to old people falling over themselves to say how cute you are or pull a quarter from behind your ear. So when you get one of these guys (a Grump-pa), it's always kind of shocking. I had one, I forget his name, who was just a bastard. He was my mother's uncle and no one liked this guy. At his funeral, there wasn't a tear to be found. It was more like, "Hey, what are you gonna do?" Everyone shrugged, said a prayer, then caught up with family members and told them they'd see 'em at the next wedding or funeral.
Anyway, all of the priests at my church were like that. Old, grumpy, pissed off, hateful, spiteful -- just plain old mean. When I was very young, in my First Holy Communion days, we had cool priests. They would talk to us about football, they were funny, they were nice, they'd jerk me off after CCD. Zing! Honestly, though, they were good people. The priest who was at my Communion was one of the nicest guys I've ever met. Father John. I was heartbroken when he left our church. He came back once to visit and it was like Jesus had returned. A few years later, he died of cancer. That began my dislike for church. Then they brought in the old guys. The bad guys. Everything priests should not be.
There was one who would just get up there and mumble and grumble about how we are all eventually going to die of AIDS or some shit. He wasn't a good speaker. It was this boring death speech every week about how awful the world is. It was occasionally hard to understand what he was saying, but he made sure to enunciate the good words. You'd be like, "Where is he going with this? What was that sentence?" Then he'd drop in something about the evils of temptation and the path to hell that the kids of America were currently on. Thanks, father! Way to kick off my week! I'd go home and watch football and start thinking about ways in which the sport is evil and me cheering for the 49ers was somehow going to send me to Satan.
There was another priest who was downright frightening. Big, loud, mad as hell, and he wasn't going to take it anymore. Father Keating. He would kind of talk quietly, then all of the sudden, just go BOOM on some key words. In case you were sleeping, he made sure to yell the word "DAMNATION!" to wake your heathen ass up.
I have a special place in my heart for this priest. Father Keating once came in to the restaurant where I was a busboy. Steak & Ale was the restaurant. He was there very late one night for dinner by himself. That made me kind of sad to see him eating all alone. People eating by themselves in sit-down full service restaurants is always somewhat sad. Maybe I was wrong about the old guy, I thought. Granted he did nothing other than come in for dinner by himself, but I thought maybe there was a nice guy behind the big bad priest act. Well, he's not really alone, I guess. He's got Jesus on his side. But still, it was a pathetic picture.
It was late in the evening and he was last guest in the restaurant. I was cleaning off some tables on one side of the room, and all the way on the other side, quite far from me, was Papa Keating eating his salmon. As I was placing a plate in to my busboy tub, I heard "WAITER!!!" This echoed in to the cockles of my being. It boomed and rattled around my head and body for a moment. I was stunned. What could he want from me? What did I do? Did he recognize me from church and noticed that I wasn't paying attention last Sunday? I'm not even a waiter. I'm just a busboy!
I nervously approached the priest, never being this close to him before without him giving me The Body of Christ. Oh man, this is nerve racking. He's so large. The booth he is sitting in looks completely full, even though it's just him. He still seems taller than me, even though he's sitting down. Come on Mike, put your balls on and just talk to him. It's probably nothing. Why are you so scared of this guy? He's just a priest. He can't be bad. Priests are not mean people. Just ask him what he needs. Gulp.
"Hi Father (good start -- he'll know that you go to church). Can I help you?"
He starts talking to me in exactly the same tone he would if he was standing on the altar. Quiet at first, just building to an explosion. I know it's coming.
"I asked the girl for tartar sauce. She still has not brought me tartar sauce. Can you go and get me some TARTAR SAUCE!?!?!"
Shaking and sweating and wanting to run I say, "Yeah, sure, no problem."
I run back to the kitchen. "Jaime, the priest needs tartar sauce."
Jaime, his waitress, "the girl", looks more nervous than I. She really is shaking. She looks like she's about to cry.
"I know. I know he does. We don't have any. It was eighty sixed."
She was apparently freaking out in the kitchen for about five minutes trying to figure out what to do, how to tell the priest that there was no tartar sauce. Then I came in.
"Can you please go tell him?"
"What?!!?! No way! I'm just a busboy."
"Please please please. He's going to kill me. He already hates me."
"He isn't very fond of me either. I just told him that getting him tartar sauce was 'no problem'. This is, however, a fucking problem."
I think I probably did go tell him, being the pushover that I am. Over I was pushed. But I must have blocked it out. I have a vague memory of telling him, then getting a lecture about how important tartar sauce is to him, but it's not a clear memory.
Lucky for me, my repressed memory concerning a priest is about tartar sauce, and has nothing to do with fondling.