Once when I was in fifth grade I went on a trip from New York City
to North Carolina
. I was with about fifteen other boys; we were an after-school sports group. Essentially, since we went to school in Manhattan
, our parents had decided we didn't get nearly enough physical activity during the day and had banded to together to hire a couple of the school phys ed
teachers to take us to Central Park
after school and run us ragged for two or three hours twice a week. Softball
, touch football
, whatever; just as long as we got home exhausted.
Sacrilege? I'm getting there.
Anyway, one of the teachers thought it'd be fun to take some of us to visit his mom in Greensboro, NC over spring break. We could play the local Little League team (no Little League in Manhattan), hang out, and most importantly, not sit around at home all week and annoy our parents. They all thought that was an incredible idea and showered this intelligent man with cash, figuring that since they'd trusted him and his colleague to handle us in Central Park trying actively to tackle each other for a couple of years, now, a week in North Carolina would be cake.
The trip was awesome. We stayed with his mom, indeed; he taught us how to chew, and we bombed around in this enormous green Dodge van. We saw Raiders of the Lost Ark. We lost to the Little League hard at softball, and kicked their asses in the unscheduled exchange of views after the game resulting over a disagreement over their assumption that formalized razzing of the batter involving said batter's mom was acceptable during the game.
I'm getting to the profane, calm down.
One thing we did on the Sunday we were there was to go to Church. He was a God-fearin' man. Not in an evangelical sense; but he was at home, now, and his Mom was for sure not going to let a chance to show these heathen New Yorkers how the Lord was really meant to be appreciated pass by. So off we all went to Church early that morning. We even managed to not fidget much. And because his mom had managed to not explain to the rev'rend that in fact of the fifteen of us only three were even Christian, I suddenly found myself up in front of the congregation, on my knees, mouth open, waitin' to receive th' body 'n blood of Jesus Christ (superstar).
So I did.
The wafer tasted a lot like a credit card. Don't ask me why I knew what a credit card tasted like. I was in fifth grade, okay? But at the last minute, something flashed down deep inside my Jewish New York self, and when the priest wasn't looking, I took the wafer off my tongue and stuffed it in my shirt pocket.
Nobody saw me.
So I felt I hadn't really committed any act which was all that hideous. I did have the drops of wine put on my tongue, but I felt that the act of actually removing the wafer showed penance to whatever God might exist; a sign of secular contrition, if you will. The desire to show simple politeness to another being and his friends by not insulting their habits.
That abolished any sense of impropriety and guilt.
Then, thirty minutes later, we were at the waffle house, having breakfast, and suddenly the upbringing I'd been given snapped back into place. What the fuck was I doing bending to someone else's idea of propriety? For that matter, what the fuck was I doing bending to my own?
I reached out, looked defiantly up at the God of my fathers and the God of my hosts, placed the wafer in between two slices of bacon and had me a Jesus and Bacon Sandwich.
It was fucking delicious.