Them Catholics sure know how to make themselves miserable, let me tell you. I know, ’cause I used to work with one. Fred Murphy, that was his name, he used to work down in the supply cage, only decent guy in the whole department. Everybody on the shop floor knew to go to Freddy if you needed something, ’cause he’d actually listen to you and do whatever he could to help. Maybe he couldn’t always fix your problem, but he’d go to bat for you every time. I never knew anybody who didn’t like Freddy, except maybe the old fart who used to run the supply cage like it was his kingdom and we were the serfs. Anyway, ol’ Fred was a good guy.
Now we were all second shifters back then, including Fred, and somehow or other we started up a Friday morning bowling league. Might have been Mel Gordon’s idea, he was a pretty good bowler before his heart attack. The rest of us were just in it for a good time, you know? Couple of beers, some greasy food, who cared about the score? It was a great way to unwind before the last shift of the week, and you knew the weekend was on the other side. Fred was kind of a quiet guy, not pushy at all, and it took awhile before someone thought to ask him to join our league, since it was all guys from the floor. But once he joined us, he never missed a Friday, not so long as the league lasted. Read More
What do Bugs Bunny, taking a bath, and a precocious vocabulary have in common?
This is a cautionary tale, a story of how ignorance and the nuances of language can combine with coincidence to convey an unintended message of a mortifying caliber. It is the true account of a boy who was unaware that the unpleasantness confronting him was a consequence of his own actions, for he knew not what he was doing. Thankfully he remained in this state of immaturity for several years, allowing his fragile psyche to recover from the staggering truth when, at last, the individual links merged into an undeniable chain of events.
To appreciate the predicament fully, we must begin in the middle. Our protagonist – let’s call him, say, Bobby – is a quiet second grader at a Catholic elementary school. He is in the class of one Miss M., a teacher beloved by most students and yet prone to a certain foulness of mood when crossed. It is the very same Miss M. who once made a spectacle of her displeasure with Bobby’s older brother (whom we shall call B.J.) and the sloppiness of his desk by dumping B.J.’s accumulated possessions onto the floor before his peers. B.J. stood there stunned and uncomprehending, wondering why Miss M. did not simply order him to clean out his desk rather than unleashing her pent-up fury. But Bobby does not know about this darker side of his instructor, nor can he conceive that he is about to similarly provoke her ire. Read More