Friday, April 2, 2010

Memories of The Utter Despair Sunday School


Good Friday brings back the awful memories of THE FUTURIST!'s young days of religious orientation at The Utter Despair Episcopal Church. THE YOUNG FUTURIST! attended church each Sunday with family, as is the custom of good moral upbringing by one's elders. Eventually, this led to THE YOUNG FUTURIST!'s Holy Confirmation, a pre-teen version of baptism without the H2O immersion, though this story of the past will relate in a way to a soaking of sorts.

The ritual included a group of well-dressed boys who paraded from the bowels of the church basement, down the church aisle and then stood at the altar for the lengthy recital of religious mumbo jumbo read by the parish pastor and then a not so serious form of the Catholic Communion ritual. The ritual involved all the boys kneeling before a be-robed minister who said some Bible stage reading and offered a bland cracker and then another odd male in a dress allowed one sip of Gallo Bros. wine to each participant. THE YOUNG FUTURIST! remembers the room reeking of floral scents and cologne and perfume from the over-dressed audience.

The worst part of this whole process was right before the ceremony. THE YOUNG FUTURIST! stood in the waiting line of boys waiting to ascend the basement staircase. While he waited, he chatted briefly with a young friend who was ahead of him in the line. Behind THE YOUNG FUTURIST! was some snickering boys who, he sensed, were up to no good ... they had a small paper cup of water from a water cooler that they were dousing their fingers in and flicking beads of moisture at each other. Suddenly, THE YOUNG FUTURIST! felt a tug at his white dress shirt collar and then the sensation of liquid water falling its way down his back. One of the hooligans had decided to pour the water down his back. THE YOUNG FUTURIST!'s friend saw it happen, but said nothing ... he had witnessed the entire act of sadism. The wetness permeated THE YOUNG FUTURIST!'s shirt back and the only thing hiding the obvious stain of water was his JC PENNEY Young Gentleman's sport coat. Stress and despair hit THE YOUNG FUTURIST! in radiating waves combined with anger and embarrassment. Why did they do this? Why did his friend not warn him or defend him? Why was he doing this insane ritual? Why? THE FUTURIST! went through the entire ceremony with a wet back and heard giggles throughout. The church pastor told the boys to quiet down and made a stern face, but smiled afterwards with that "such wonderful young lads in their golden youth" look.

THE YOUNG FUTURIST! sat down in the pew with his parents after the ritual and felt his shirt stick to his sport coat and whimpered. They stood to sing psalms ... they heard more Bible verses and lessons. They left. THE YOUNG FUTURIST! told his parents what had happened and they were angered and dismayed. They especially were upset it was one of the Church Deacon's sons who had perpetrated this dastardly deed. They understood THE YOUNG FUTURIST!'s refusal to attend church anymore. Some of the meanest people he had ever met were at church. It was the last time he attended a religious institution on Sunday for his own betterment of his soul.

Now, you may ask is the significance of the picture above?

It is from the only thing THE FUTURIST! remembers fondly from church.

It is a book he found secreted in a Sunday School book shelf.

It was called J. CHRIST: GOD'S PRIVATE EYE.

THE FUTURIST! remembers these wonderful hard boiled lines:

"I'LL SHOOT FIRST AND RAISE YOU FROM THE DEAD LATER, SMART GUY!"

"EAT OF MY FLESH, DRINK OF MY BLOOD AND TASTE THIS KNUCKLE SANDWICH!"

"LISTEN, DOLL, LET'S NOT TALK ABOUT CHANGING THAT WATER INTO WINE ...
LET'S TALK ABOUT CHANGING IT INTO A MANHATTAN WITH A TWIST"

4 comments:

Eoin said...

On the bright side you saved a lot of money and time by never going to church. I only stopped going a few months ago after ten solid years of wasting my Sunday mornings.

THE FUTURIST! said...

Eoin:

THE FUTURIST! is not alone.

Robert said...

I hated church too and thankfully gave it up years ago. I used to be an alter boy yes, but that was only to get out of school for a couple hours during the week.

Also, I WANT THAT BOOK!

Dara said...

Such a sad tale!