December 04, 2002

The Whole Gruesome Story

I was placed into the service of the Penguin People at the tender age of four. Those of you not familiar with the Catholic faith may think the Penguin a faithful servant of society, whose only purpose is to instill proper virtue in those entrusted to their care. Personally, I think the only reason they still survive is our parents had to suffer under these zealots, and by God, so will we. I in turn was destined to marry a Good Catholic Girl and continue the cycle ad nauseum. Catholic parents being of course good Catholics (and under the implied threat of eternal damnation if they resist), send their unsuspecting and innocent children to parochial grade school in the feeble hope that things have changed since they were forced to attend.

I have few memories of my years attending St Cecilia of the Blessed Wounds, and many years of therapy since have failed to unearth the whole gruesome story. I have occasional flashbacks of standing in front of my peers performing various degrading acts as punishment for being normal. These atrocities included having to stand in place for most of a day with candy canes up my nose and in my ears because I had the audacity to attempt to sneak a bite of Christmas candy during class. I still shudder when I see one of those once cheery symbols of holiday cheer, and have the overpowering urge to grab them from the mouths of babes in an attempt to save them from the lurking Penguins who live to traumatize the young. On a somewhat related note, it was only in 8th grade I found out that brass rulers were not only for rapping knuckles ( I still carry the scars) and in fact served a useful purpose in the real world.


As I said when I started this tale of woe, I've been guaranteed eternal damnation since I was seven years old. It all started one wintry day as the Penguins were duckwalking us down to the Church for mandatory morning services. The school was located on the top of a steep hill and the Church at the bottom (in what I would have thought to be total contradiction of all that is logical and/or holy). Connecting the two was a ramp large enough to accomodate the occassional hearses and limos for those whose total contributions allowed having their coffins brought in the front door in the event of their eventual demise. The classes were always arranged in formation with the smaller children in the front rows, and marched in reverse order, eighth grade to first, down the ramp and into the Church. The Penguins would follow each class and take notes on deportment for future discipline. Our penguin, Sister Mary Clarabelle, was a peculiar speciman, in that she was actually wider than she was tall. Due to the many ways in which she daily flaunted physics by simply walking, it was inevitable that she would one day need hip replacement surgery. I would dare not to this day assign her refusal to use a cane, thereby accusing her of the sin of Vanity, as the reason for the eventual curse of eternal damnation I now bear. It was her habit (as in common practice vice penguin suit) to grab the shoulder of the nearest child as support when she felt it necessary. I would normally march towards the front of the class, but had that year experienced a sudden growth spurt, which eventually placed me in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We were just beginning our daily descent to services. The ramp was icy and the sudden surprise of a large heavy Penguin hand landing on my shoulder set the stage for disaster. I swear to this day my reaction was simply a reflex and unintentional. I flinched and spun around to see just what had attached itself to me, and the next thing I saw (and can still see clearly if I only close my eyes) was Sister Clarabelle sliding past me and picking up speed. She bowled her way thru three grades, scattering unsuspecting children into the snowbanks as she went, letting out an Unholy Howling as she accelerated towards the grotto of the Blessed Virgin unfortunately located directly in her path. The splintering sounds as she hit heralded the breaking of both the Virgin's and Sister Mary Clarabelle's right arms, ensuring that virginity was not their only common virtue. The other Penguins gathered around her as she lay at the Mother's feet, and one abruptly left the group to approach me. I was dragged trembling into the presence of Sister Mary Clarabelle, only to hear the words, "You're going to rot in hell for this, kid!" uttered in deranged, sepulchur tones. Knowing the curse of the Penguin People follows you to and beyond the grave, I have reconciled myself to my Eventual Fate, and have lived my life accordingly.

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at December 4, 2002 06:51 PM