Having nothing better to fondle at the moment, I am sitting here in my big, comfortable, black leather poppa chair, fondling some memories. For example: I remember standing in front of a class room packed with my peers, confessing to worshiping false Gods, disrespecting my parents, and murder. Suddenly, the word, “RICHARD” rang out loud and clear in the un-mistakable voice of my first communion teacher, Sister Mary Knucklebuster. Sister Knucklebuster represented the Roman Catholic Church in much the same way that General George Patton represented the United States Army. She was tall, and stern, and tough. And she was presiding over my class’s rehearsal for first confession. It was my turn to stand in front of the room, and recite the famous formula…”Bless me father for I have sinned.”
Please get the picture. I was 7 years old, and Sister suddenly realized that in order to come up for material to confess, I was going down The Moses Top Ten No-No List. That means after confessing to murder, which is #5, I was about to confess to adultery, and coveting my neighbor’s wife.
But just in the nick of time, her voice exploded from somewhere deep down in that Darth Vader veil. “RICHARD,” she said, “That will do. Just say your sin was disobeying your parents.” So that’s what I said in the rehearsal…and in all subsequent confessions…right up through high school. My reasoning being that whatever crime the devil might have made me commit with Jeanie, or Matilda, or Maureen, my parents would have said I shouldn’t do that. So I really was disobeying my parents when I went surfing on my newly discovered testosterone tsunamis into forbidden hormonal happiness.
Richard was my dad’s name. It’s a perfectly respectable name. But I prefer being called Dick for many reasons, not the least of which is that I get a kick out of watching some overly polite, politically correct and uptight people blush. As I mentioned before, “D’ as in Dick, has become the new ‘N’ word,” to some of the more uptight members of the Forces For Good In The Community, because they can’t get over one of the slang meanings of my name. I suspect that some of those people spend way too much of their spare time sitting in closets, pulling wings off flies, fondling their Jello, and drooling over old National Geographic magazines.
When I hear somebody call me “Richard,” I know I’m probably in trouble. I am Richard on my pilot’s license and my driver’s license, but Dick on my credit card. That has caused ID problems at major airports…most recently at Philadelphia International, when the Pimple Person doing the screening wouldn’t believe that Dick is a nickname for Richard. I reminded her that former Vice President Richard Cheney is often called Dick. But in typical Pimple Person fashion, she asked, “Who is Dick Cheney?
My Lady Wonder Wench, who like many Louie-Louie Generation women, is more deeply concerned with the limits of good taste than I am calls me, “Richard” when, like most Louie-Louie Generation guys, I occasionally try sneaking under one of those limits of good taste…like when I pick my teeth at the table…or un-avoidably emit some personal sound and fragrance. She had a rather observant parrot who picked up on the idea that anything nasty was a, “Richard.” Therefore he called anything that displeased him a, “Richard.” I caught him one day, sitting in his cage, spitting at our daughter’s kitten and calling her a, “Richard.”
Dick’s Details Quiz. All answers are in the current podcast.
1- Why is St. Patrick never mentioned at Yankee Stadium ?
2- Why is there so much screaming in New York City?
3- What happens when your mind is always in the gutter?
Dick’s Details. They take your mind off your mind.
Sister Mary Knucklebuster might have had some rather blunt comments about the people in the the story from the Night Connections 2 personal audio cd that’s in the current podcast. It’s called, Painting, Pottery, and Passion.
I wonder how the woman in the story kept herself from slipping out into the hall to watch what her husband and her friend were doing. After all, maybe nothing was going on at all. And her marriage…did this night turn up the heat in her marriage, or did all that heat blow it away. And could she stay friends with her friend after a night like that ? Would you ? Painting, Pottery and Passion is from the Night Connections 2 personal audio cd. If you like it, you can just keep the current podcast. Or if you want a fresh copy, just download it from the Night Connections 2 icon on the home page.
A Saint Gregory’s alumni magazine came in today’s mail. There was a picture of Sister Mary Knucklebuster on the obituary page. I almost didn’t recognize her. That wasn’t her real name of course…it was just a nasty name a bunch of snotty kids called her behind her back a long time ago. The name under the picture wasn’t her real name either. Nuns real names are taken from them when they join the convent. I wonder…who were you…really…Sister Mary Knucklebuster.
Whoever you were…thank you…for all the memories…and for making my confessions so simple…and less embarrassing all those teen age years ago. Actually…come to think of it…just thank you. Thank you…whoever you were…for your life.