Holidays of any kind–religious or secular–are simply not my thing. Too much fuss for my Highly Sensitive Person self and enough disturbing memories to just want to stay home alone and do something productive like blog or watch reruns of Mr. Ed, who was a very wise horse, indeed.
Just to convince you that I’m not making this stuff up (at least the disturbing memories part), here’s a snippet from my memoir. This actually happened to me when I was about 11 or 12 on Good Friday, before Easter.
During the tortuous Catholic celebration leading up to Easter, I attended the interminable Stations of the Cross. This very solemn ritual was held on Friday of Holy Week. It was called Holy Week because Good Friday lasted about a week. If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is. On the Good Friday in question, instead of feeling pious or sad for Jesus for having to carry his own cross, I felt the need to go to the bathroom. I’d had an egg salad sandwich for lunch before going to church. There should be a rule against egg salad before church. Slipping out of the pew to find a bathroom never crossed my mind. Did churches even have bathrooms? It seemed unholy to pee or poop in church.
I felt rumbling in my belly, then lower. Squirming to prevent an explosion only got me looks of disapproval from Mémé [my grandmother] and Mom. Soon Pépé [my step-grandfather] and my sisters were taking an interest in the developments. Holding in the amassing gas was agonizing, but letting it out was inconceivable. I’d rather be taken out on a stretcher with a burst intestine than fart in church.
But of course physiology won out over dignity, and out came a long, loud, send-me-to-Hell-for-sure fart. During a moment of silent prayer. Any physical relief I felt was overshadowed by my unspeakable embarrassment and the foul odor that was surging up like a tiny mushroom cloud. There was no hiding who’d done it. I blushed a divine shade of cardinal red from scalp to sole; Judgment Day was upon me, and it wasn’t looking (or smelling) very good. While everyone else in the church did their best to overlook my noxious, broken-muffler, butt noise, my family felt obliged to react.
“Lorna!” Mom and Mémé whispered in unified mortification.
“Lorna!” Pépé and my sisters whispered in wonder and with a touch of respect.
To seal my wickedness, laughter bubbled up uncontrollably in me. It was just like the smelly fart. It was as if Beelzebub himself were possessing me. I was his foul instrument, and there was no stopping my blasphemous laughter. I bowed my head so no one could tell if my heaving shoulders were evidence of sobs for Jesus’ suffering or devil-possessed fart-giggles. I tried to look reverent, but my reputation was forevermore soiled.
My underpants were, too.
Have a Happy Easter and go easy on the eggs. Trust me on that one!