Sunday, February 09, 2014

Good things, bad things.

Good Thing. I confess I am now reading Alice Munro stories. I bought one of her books awhile ago and I think I mentioned here that I just couldn’t get into her writing. Well now this has changed. I finished another book awhile ago and because I had a collection of Munro stories, I picked it up and tried reading again. Somehow I got hooked. I can see why she became so popular. I am not thoroughly convinced she deserved the Nobel prize, but that is just my opinion.
Good Thing. The winter Olympics are on and I am enjoying them. I watch bits and pieces on the Internet. I like speedskating. The energy of those athletes is incredible. I also watched some luge events. I am amazed at how they can speed down that course on a couple of steel runners. I thought the opening ceremonies were boring ,..but I did like the way the torch lighting took place.
Bad Thing. I covered a fundraising dinner last week for a group of men raising awareness of sexual abuse of boys. It was uncomfortable to see two grown men, my age, telling their stories of what happened to them … it drove them to alcoholism, drugs and to the verge of suicide. Both men were sobbing with tears rolling down their cheeks.
It reminded me of an uncomfortable incident when I was a boy. I was an altar boy. The priest, who I thought was an okay guy, was always getting me to stay after mass to sweep the chapel or help put things away. I was good with that because he always gave me a quarter or two. My parents were okay with it because I was helping Father do chores. I guess they saw it as something good, because I was not really a good kid.
I was always getting into schoolyard fights and generally raising hell. I even began smoking when I was ten, stealing cigarettes from my parents.
So one summer night, Father invited me to his officer quarters … this was on the base at RCAF Downsview. He said he was moving or something, and needed help packing boxes. So I went. Once I was there, we did a few chores and then Father asked the strangest question to me. I was 12 or 13 at the time.
“Have you heard the word c**ksucker?” he asked.
Okay, so I am a bit shocked, but I answer “Yes Father. That’s a bad word.”
Suddenly something I had been told was making sense. One of the other altar boys, named Eddie, told me that Father had stroked his crotch one day. I thought that was the weirdest thing Eddie had ever said, and so I stopped talking to him.
But anyway, back to Father.
He said “Do you know what a c**cksucker does? Do you know what the word means?”
Okay, I thought, play innocent here. “No Father,” I said.
Then I thought if he tries to stroke my crotch, I am going to punch him. There is no way this pudgy old f**cker is going to touch me.
I was like that as a kid. Thanks to my Dad, I knew how to take a beating. I was a better than average scrapper for a kid that age. I guess I was angry.
So in those few micro-seconds that Father was staring at me, I figured I am going to punch him in the throat and the second punch will be in the nose and then I will run. A punch in the throat is always a shock punch because no one expects it and it hurts like hell. The punch in the nose always bleeds. There is blood and mucus going into your nose and mouth, making it hard to breathe,  and your eyes water making it hard to see.
For some reason Father didn’t ask me any more questions. And nothing happened. Maybe he sensed he had gone too far. Either way, I never said anything to anyone. Certainly not to my friends. And certainly not to any adults. This was stuff people just didn’t talk about. Besides, who would have believed me?

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