When I was a kid in Catholic grade school, my teachers were nuns. They taught us many interesting things. Such as the supposed reason for the legend of the mermaid. It seems delusional ancient mariners mistook manatees for mermaids. It was pretty easy for an upstate NY kid to buy that theory. I’d never seen a manatee before.
Once I did see a picture of a manatee, though, the obvious thought came into my little pea sized brain. Dude, how long have you been at sea? For those who don’t know what a manatee looks like, its a huge swelled up bloated walrus looking thing with, admittedly, a big flipper on the end. That is one ugly mermaid!
The nuns at my Catholic grade school caused me some grief over their term for the restroom as well. In our old school, the restrooms were located in the basement. Therefore, the polite term for using the restroom was, “I have to go to the basement.” Naturally, I thought this is what everyone said. It wasn’t long before I figured it out.
I was playing with friends, wandering the neighborhood, when nature called my name. Several of my friends confessed they needed to find some facilities as well. We knocked on the door of a friendly neighbor. I asked to use the basement, like a polite little Catholic school girl. When I told the neighbor what I wished to use the basement for, she politely declined, with a confused look on her face. I can only imagine what she thought of this strange little girl who wanted to go to the bathroom on her basement floor.
We all know Catholic nuns and priests take a vow of celibacy. Maybe that’s why they’re all so bitter and cranky. All I know is, my favorite nun and priest in Catholic school (the ones that actually acted like human beings) were found to be having a love affair and later kicked out. I guess that doesn’t say too much for the vow of celibacy. All the grumpy ones were keeping their vows.
The nuns at our Catholic school were very concerned with starving children in other countries. Nothing wrong with that, right? How about the one that stood by the garbage can pulling out bread scraps to feed them. “Don’t you know there are starving children in Africa?”, she would exclaim as she extracted each piece. My feeling was, if they were that hungry, they could have it. Now I wonder, was she actually shipping those scraps to Africa or eating them herself? I hope she had a little dog or something.
I learned many valuable things in Catholic grade school, but I also came away with some crazy misconceptions. So if you went to my Catholic grade school, be careful out there. Don’t go mistaking manatees for mermaids, peeing in peoples basements, taking vows of celibacy or pulling scraps of bread out of the garbage to send to Africa. People might get the wrong idea about you.