the Bucky Four-Eyes Cotillion

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Holla back

My dad was the king of the shaggy-dog story. He could take a thirty-second joke and stretch it out for five minutes. It got to the point where he'd start and we'd all roll our eyes and beg him, "No, Dad, not the corn-borer joke again!" or "Please, no, not 'Leroy VanHoosiegickle knows everybody' again!" I'm sure our mortification and discomfort were all part of the fun for him, as evidenced by the fact that he never once stopped his drawn-out retelling in spite of our agonized pleading.

The man had a great sense of humor, except when it came to religion. You did not fuck with the Catholic church in his presence. I blame my grandmother for a lot of that attitude. What can I say about Nanny? The best example I can think of is that she sincerely believed the baby Jesus would never, ever have dirtied his diaper and inconvenienced Mary like that, even when my uncle Bob, a priest, tried to argue with her that he was a baby and that's what babies do. She just wasn't having it.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to bite your tongue when you're a Catholic-raised, smart-ass teenager who's lost all faith in the infallibility of the church? I'll tell you how hard it was: it was nigh unto impossible, and when the inevitable irreverent comment would slip out in Dad's presence, we'd be subjected to an immediate stony-faced and stern lecture about showing respect for God.

One of the biggest challenges for keeping my mouth shut was my Dad's peculiar little habit of greeting Jesus every time we passed a Catholic church. Seriously, and Squirl can back me up on this one, each and every time we drove past St. Patrick's, or any other franchise in the chain, Dad would say "Hello, Jesus." If there was a hat on his head, he doffed it while saying howdy to the Prince of Peace. We were not only expected to refrain from laughing about this; we would be scolded if we did not join him in this spiritual salutation.

Is this a common Catholic thing, or did that year in the seminary just seep a little too deeply into Dad's brain?

All I know is, Jesus never once said "Hello!" back to us, and in my book, that's just plain rude.

15 of you felt the overwhelming need to say somethin':

Anonymous Flying Mermaid said...

If it makes you feel any better, this here Jew cannot help yelping out, "THANK YOU, JESUS" every time a thunderous burp comes rolling though.

5:31 AM, July 15, 2008  
Blogger Squirl said...

The hello Jesus story is absolutely true. He could find a joke in anything except religion and all that meant to him.

And Dad could definitely take forever to tell a joke. I learned how not to tell a joke from watching him.
:-)

7:27 AM, July 15, 2008  
Anonymous Susie said...

This is so sweet. And odd. I've never known of anyone saying "hello" to Jesus like that.
And now I think I have my earworm for the day:

Jesus ain't no hollaback boy!

7:43 AM, July 15, 2008  
Blogger —J said...

Funny thing; my dad's a Baptist pastor, and I'm a Baptist*, and I make fun of the Catholic Church all the time. Making fun of Anglicans is right out.

*No, I don't know what I'm doing on this blog either.

12:00 PM, July 15, 2008  
Blogger eclectic said...

Actually, so long as you say it with the "HelloMoto" inflection, the whole "HelloJesus" thing might be very funny. To me. Evidently NOT to dad. Yet another reason I can't be trusted in polite company.

6:01 PM, July 15, 2008  
Anonymous Flying Mermaid said...

FYI, for Eclectic: I don't really trust anyone who can be trusted in polite company.

8:19 PM, July 15, 2008  
Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Yeesh. I'd hate to think about the slap-down I'd get (even from beyond) if he knew my boy calls one of his blankets (with a stuffed dog head on it) "God."

8:46 AM, July 16, 2008  
Blogger Bone Machine said...

Although my Hellbound choo-choo has gained speed in recent years, I am going to refrain from making a joke at this time.

Just ignore those Supersuckers videos on YPS!!. I don't know how they got upped.

11:37 AM, July 17, 2008  
Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Mermaid - Do you thank Jesus for your farts, too?

Squirl - Someday maybe I'll make a video demonstrating Dad's joketelling style, as a warning to future generations. Well, you know, when I have a video camera again.

Susie - It's my shit, it's my shit...

-J - You know you're going to hell for reading my site, right? Just so we're clear on that.

Eclectic - yup, pretty sure the "HelloMoto" inflection would have received no happy reaction from Dad. :)

Mermaid - my sentiments exactly. *BURRRRRRRRRRP*

CKelli - all I know is, he wasn't thrilled at all when we put the sheep on the roof of the nativity scene one year.

Bone - oh, come on. Hell can't be such a bad place if we're all going there together. Just let it fly!

2:31 PM, July 17, 2008  
Blogger Lynn said...

It's a common Catholic thing, Bucky. All kinds of unusual and uptight stuff.
Check it -
One day my Gramma made lunch for us all and my uncle came in and saw my Grampa eating meat. He looked at Gramma and asked, "Dad eats meat of Friday now?" Gramma froze like a statue and Grampa stopped chewing and shook his head. "It's your mother. She told me it's Thursday. She's trying to send me straight to hell."

I wonder if Gramma went to bingo after that. Heh.

10:38 PM, July 17, 2008  
Blogger Bone Machine said...

Do I get to wear the conductor's hat on the Hellbound choo-choo for a furlong or two?

12:48 PM, July 19, 2008  
Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Lynn - St. Paddy's day fell on a Friday during Lent a few years ago, and I remember some Cardinal coming out and giving Catholics "permission" to eat a little corned beef hash. So...first the rules only apply during Lent, and then they can be waived for what is, essentially, a drinking holiday? Those wacky Pope-lovers!

Bone - You can wear the conductor's hat AND shovel the coal if you want.

4:43 PM, July 19, 2008  
Blogger Bone Machine said...

I guess with the hat comes some level of responsibility. I thought maybe it was just the hat and tooting the horn, but oh hell no.

5:53 PM, July 19, 2008  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I may be an ordained minister (not Catholic, of course) but I do know where you are coming from, Ms. Bucky.

I've learned that one must take another's religion (or lack of religion) with a great big grain of salt and an (inner) smile. Otherwise, it can drive one crazy.

If your dad spent a year in a Catholic seminary, from what my friends who are Catholic priests tell me, his indoctrination in that first year lasts a lifetime and more.

10:32 PM, July 19, 2008  
Anonymous Maven said...

I've heard of Catholics referring to church attendance as "making a visit," however, I've never heard about the saying howdy to His Holiness.

5:04 PM, July 21, 2008  

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