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» Churches, temples and holy places

I went to a Catholic school
But it was really one of those nominally Catholic schools that took on the RC prefix sometime in the 60s, probably as an attempt to keep brown people out.

By my time it was hard to tell the difference between us and any other non-denominational, bog-standard comprehensive. There were a few masses, a little more overtly religious stuff in the assemblies than most schools, but by-and-large the staff and pupils were Godless heathens, or at least, pretty secular.

In fact, it was my RE teacher who turned me on to atheism. He was a self-professed Catholic himself, but his various answers to Life's Big Questions (I could never decide if they were egregiously stupid or ingeniously subversive) made it clear to me that nobody with a faith could possibly be described as a rational person.

Here's an example- one day he was discussing baptism in other cultures, and he got talking about those who criticise Catholics for baptizing infants (freedom of choice etc.). His defence of the Catholic way was to suggest that people who don't raise their children to share their faith are like "the idiots who let their kids pick their own football team to support". As I say, I could never work out if he was trying to point out the arbitrary and superficial nature of organised religion, or if he was actually just an idiot.


One day a Bishop arrived. He had an Italian accent and turned up in full costume with an entourage. I had no idea who he was, and from the sheepish reactions of the staff, neither did they. The pupils had had no warning of this, and I suspect that it had been sprung on the school. So the headmaster summons the whole school into the hall for an epic, sprawling, endless mass that seemed to go on for fucking ever.

By an hour or two in, most pupils were so bored that we had lost all sense of fake-civility and were beginning to chatter, giggle, pass notes, and generally pushed our luck to stave off boredom. Suddenly, the Bishop stopped the sermon, banged his fist on the table, and began ranting about how we were the worst, most awful people he had ever encountered. He was livid with rage, shouting, hurling insults, with us stunned into silence. The teachers looked like they wanted the ground to swallow them up - the headmaster just sat there with his head in his hands.

But we weren't even half way through - and unfortunately, the rigorous bollocking we had all just received had heightened the tension in the room, to the point where not giggling at the slightest thing had become a herculean effort. So there were 2000 odd children, all trying their darnedest not to laugh, with a ridiculously dressed, red-faced old man, with this crazy accent, condemning us all to a hell that hardly any of us actually believed in.

To make matters worse, some of us were carbuncular teenagers of the male variety, and nearly every phrase we heard was to our ears crammed full of the most lurid unintentional double entendres imaginable. It was unbearable. I remember at one point during a hymn I was actually lying on the floor underneath my seat, rolling with laughter, tears streaming from my eyes, hoping that I could let out all the giggles before the hymn stopped. And it just went on and on and on, the Bishop getting more and more disillusioned as time wore on, until finally, the eucharist.

Knowing that the end was finally in sight, we had all settled down a bit. People were lining up for their bit of cheap wine and crackers that some believe actually transformed into the flesh and blood of their Lord Jesus Christ. All was going fine. You could tell the Bishop just wanted out by this point, so for the first time that day we were all singing from the same hymn sheet, so to speak.

And then Michael Langford spat out his wafer. Into his hand. To look at. And the Bishop saw him do it. I have literally (*literally*) never seen anybody go so fucking bat-shit mental in my life. It was like we'd broken his mind and he'd finally snapped any remaining tether with the real world. First, he started pumping his fists in the air, and did a little spinning jump. His face seemed to contain every drop of blood in his body, but he was just too angry to yell, and started making these bizarre 'eep eep' noises. And the room erupted into uncontrollable laughter.

We laughed and laughed. The sound completely drowned out the raging, ranting, red-faced Bishop. The worse we felt about it, the funnier it got, and by the time the laughter subsided - the Bishop and his entourage were gone, leaving us with a sad, broken headmaster who barely could summon the spirit to tell us off.

As far as I can remember, there were absolutely no consequences for this, and the staff never spoke of it again. Although from that point onwards, for some reason, I have always found masses really, really funny.
(Fri 2nd Sep 2011, 16:36, More)

» Drunk Parents

That rug's just a piece of tut anyway
My dad's more of a weed smoker than a drinker. Like me, he's got quite a low tolerance for alcohol and tends to get plastered rather quickly. He's a pretty good drunk though, and usually he's lots of fun to be around.

However, this wasn't one of those times.

I must have been 16 or so, it was a school night and I was fast asleep in bed. Around midnight, my dad comes in totally shitfaced, waking up everyone in the house with his singing, stumbling into every conceivable obstacle, breaking random things and loudly shouting his apologies up the stairs.

So I roll over, wrap my pillow around my ears and try to get back to sleep. Downstairs it sounds like he's either trying to cook something or trying to break every cooking implement in the kitchen. I feel much gratitude when I hear my mum getting out of bed and grumpily traipsing downstairs. She manages to shut him up, push him upstairs and get him to bed. Apart from the intermittent sound of his giggling and my mum's shushing, all is peaceful enough to get back to sleep, and I drift off.

Next thing I know, someone is noisily opening my bedroom door. I open my eyes to see my dad standing in the doorway, swaying from side, in his boxer shorts.
"Dad?" I venture, sleepily,
"Hello son!" he beams. Then he takes two steps forward into the middle of the room, pulls out his cock, and proceeds to start pissing on the little rug in front of my bed.
"What the fuck are you doing?" I yell.
"Nothing, I'm fine, calm down" he says, making eye contact and everything.
"You fucking bastard. You fucking bastard. I'll fucking kill you. Mum! MUM! Dad's pissing on my bedroom floor!" I scream, not seeing the funny side in the least. I am now standing on my bed, yelling and calling my dad a fucking wanker.

My mum walks up behind him, smirking a little, but obviously pretty pissed off. By this time, my dad has finished his piss, and is standing in the middle of the room smiling like an idiot and wondering why everyone seems so tense. My mum grabs him and drags him back to his bedroom.
"What were you doing? You've pissed all over Levi's rug!" she says
"That rug's just a piece of tut anyway" I hear him mumble.

For some reason, he loves telling this story to people. It comes up every Christmas, and he always gets me to tell the last bit, where he says "that rug's just a piece of tut". That's his favourite bit.

I didn't see the funny side until after my dad had gone back to bed, and I had gone downstairs for a nice calming cup of tea (while my mum, bless her, scrubbed my dad's piss from my bedroom floor). I was sat at the kitchen table, and once my nerves were less frayed, I started chuckling to myself. I laughed and laughed, until I realised my dad had heard me and was laughing along from his bed. I stopped laughing, and my dad shouted downstairs "see - I knew it was funny."

(Fri 25th Feb 2011, 16:06, More)

» I'm glad nobody saw me

Chemical turns boy to soap
Christ, I still feel awful about this.

Many moons ago, I was a 15 year old schoolboy and a bit of a twat.

It was a boring chemistry lesson, and the teacher was prepping us for an experiment.

"This chemical" he explained "will dissolve flesh and turn it to soap." I have no idea what chemical this was. Perhaps some of you who realised that science is in fact awesomely interesting while still at school will know what I'm talking about. "Be very careful with it. If you get some on your skin, wash it off immediately. NO MESSING ABOUT!" he bellowed, letting out a little whistle from between is teeth, just like he did every time he pronounced the letter "T" too emphatically.

So there I was, bored out of my pubescent mind, with a little eyedropper full of flesh-burning fluid in my hand.

So I point it at my friend Matt. Right in his face.

“Don’t be a twat Levi” said my friend Zac. He was a really nice guy. I guffaw idiotically and point it right at Matt’s eye. No reaction from Matt, who had obviously decided to ignore my stupidity. No reaction from anyone. So, for some terrible reason, I gave the eyedropper a little squeeze, and watched as the little squirt of burny, nasty chemical flew straight into Matt’s open eye.

My heart hit my stomach, then my throat, then started drumming out a slow death march in my brain. Fuck. Fuck. In these few milliseconds I had already watched myself being arrested, put on trial and sent to the worst kind of prison. I was imagining Matt’s stricken parents, a lifetime of guilt and regret… Fuck. Fuck.

Matt immediately shoved his head under the tap and was washing his eyes out with some urgency. The teacher noticed Matt bent into the sink, and blew his fucking top.

“I HOPE THAT’S NOT WHAT I THINK IT IS!” He yelled, whistling his tees.

I stood there frozen. Zac was looking at me like I was the most massive cunt of them all. The rest of the class began to turn around, expecting to see the most exciting event of the school year unfold before their eyes. Matt pulls his head out of the sink.

“No sir” he says. ”I accidentally got some ink in my eye. I’m fine”

Do they still use ink cartridges in schools? I wonder. Anyway, I digress.

To say I felt relieved would be a massive overstatement. I think I actually felt a little worse than if I’d been caught bang to rights. I barely slept that night, convinced that Matt’s eye would soapify and drop out, and that I would be promptly arrested in the morning.

When the Sword of Damocles never fell, I gradually stopped worrying and started to forget about it. The only two people who saw me do it were Zac and Matt, who were nice enough to never mention it again. I reckon if the teacher had seen I’d have been expelled there and then, and rightly so.

I’d like to think that this experience made me a better person, especially Matt’s laudable knee-jerk kindness and forgiveness. But for purely selfish reasons, I’m glad no one else saw me.

Apologies for length, lack of funnies, being a massive dick etc.
(Tue 1st Feb 2011, 16:53, More)

» Shoplifting

My Life as a Thief
I can distinctly remember many times when I have felt that terrible, guilty night time dread that is the consequence of juvenile crime. Although, I can only really recall a few episodes of childhood larceny.

It was one summer in the early 90s, and i must have been ten years old or so. I had befriended James, an enthrallingly charming if slow-witted thug whose family owned much of the farmland surrounding my home town. We spent our days enjoying the sort of marvellous childhood adventures that would send today's parents into a blind panic; exploring the fields and local villages, camping out in the woods, building fires, treehouses and rope-swings, firing air-rifles, catching and breeding wild mice, torturing and killing animals- good wholesome stuff now sepia-tinted with nostalgia.

James gave me a flick-knife that I always carried round with me 'for protection'. Hmm. That bit seems a little less romantic. As does the early introduction to sluttish girls, pornography and booze. James also introduced me to shoplifting, which was very easy to do with one of us cute whippersnappers distracting the shopkeep and the other filling his pockets with sweets, crisps, chocolate, Pogs (remember Pogs?), dinosaur trading cards, magazine freebies and cans of coke.

One day, coming back to the farmhouse after a particularly successful haul, we find James' mum in the kitchen. She is eating a packet of Walker's cheese and onion crisps and is very pleased to see her rapscallion son and his polite, nervy friend. Now- most of you should remember when Walker's ran that promotion of putting little blue sachets of real money or vouchers in with your crisps. Yes? Good. Well- James' mum offers me a crisp, and as I stuff my grubby paw into the packet, I feel that unmistakable square of blue plastic. She hadn't noticed it. Quick as a flash, I palm it expertly and cover my crime by taking a big handful of that disgusting potato snack.
"Cheeky." She says. She doesn't know the half of it.

I sneak off to the toilet to examine my spoils, an lo and behold, within the shiny sachet is a real five pound note. I remind the reader that in those days five pounds could purchase more chocolate than could be eaten in one sitting. A truly wonderful windfall for a ten year old child.

Soon I am excitedly telling James about my exploits, showing him the note, and expecting waves of approval and appreciation from my mentor in crime. His brow darkens. His fists clench. He snatches the fiver and proceeds to give me the beating of my life. He takes my sweets and Pogs and leaves me as a bruised and bloody pulp in the chicken barn.
"Nobody steals from my Mum." He says.

My days as a thief were over.

That is, until last week, when I started this temp job in the office that I am sitting in right now. I haven't done a lick of work since I got here, and have instead been reading b3ta every day from nine till half five. I don't think I'll be caught, either.

This is my first post. I hope you enjoyed it, because my contract doesn't end for another three weeks. L x
(Tue 15th Jan 2008, 11:31, More)

» What nonsense did you believe in as a kid?

Everyone at school told me he wasn't real, but I was having none of it. I remember being 10 years old, lying in my bed and thinking:

"That's preposterous - as if every adult in the world is involved in some immense conspiracy! Do they take you into a special room as an adult and debrief you? Do they let you in on it and teach you how to start faking the existence of Santa? Why would they do such a thing? How would it even get started? Why wouldn't they take the credit for themselves? Santa MUST be real. It's the only rational explanation."

My parents must have been awesome liars.
(Wed 18th Jan 2012, 15:36, More)
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