All Catholics Are Right Handed
Posted by LOTGK on October 14, 2007
A little back story on my trials and tribulations battling Catholic nuns in the 1960′s. As you know, I went to a Catholic grade school. In first grade, we learned how to print the alphabet and then to print words with big blue pencils. I remember the nuns getting this strange device that held 6 pieces of chalk in some sort of metal and wood handle and she would make perfect straight lines, six at a time across the entire chalk board. Then, one by one, each student, (inmate) would be asked to go to the blackboard, (Actually, the boards were green) and print their full name and address on the board. My writing was just atrocious.
No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t stay within the lines. The nuns would get frustrated with this and scold me and warn that I better improve lest I want to go and see the principal. What was she going to do? Help me with my printing? DOUBT IT!
Anyway, the days turned into weeks and my writing skills did not improve and the inevitable phone call to my parents was now reality. My parents were called about the “problem” and was suggested they take me to a “Specialist” to work on my writing skills.
My parents pulled out my kindergarten papers and and compared them to what I was doing in first grade and noticed that indeed my writing had gotten worse. My dad asked bluntly if I was screwing up on purpose, (He knew I was a troublemaker) and I told him that no, I wasn’t. I was really trying hard. I didn’t want the nuns yelling at me because I couldn’t stay inside the perfectly drawn chalk lines. I wanted them yelling at me for something fun I did to piss them off.
At this time, I asked my dad a question about Catholics. I asked dad why Catholics are only right handed. He looked puzzled and inquired why I would ask such a question. I proceeded to explain that on my first day of school the nuns showed everyone how to print the alphabet with our big blue pencils. Then they asked every child to print their name on the black board.
When I picked up the chalk and started printing my name with my left hand, the nuns said to only use my right hand. Sister Charlotte said that all Catholics are right handed and that this training would be invaluable when I went to second grade and learned to write instead of print. For in writing, I would have to tilt my paper and my letters, and I needed to be right handed to do so. What the hell did I know? I was freakin six years old.
My dad was silent. He looked lost. He asked me to repeat what I just said. He then asked if I was lying to him. One thing I learned at a very early age was to never lie to my father. He didn’t like that. I tried a few lies on him before and my punishment was swift and precise. Remind me to tell you about the belt episode at a later blog entry.
Well, my mother was called in to the living room and I repeated the story to her. I was then handed a pencil and paper and asked to print my name and address. With my left hand, I did pretty darn good. With my right, it was awful. I was then told to go get lost and play with my brothers.
My father drove me to school the next day and dropped me off at the front door. He said he had some business with the principal and he would see me when I got home from school. Although I didn’t hear the conversation my father had with Sister Eileen, I could well imagine it. I don’t think it was much of a conversation anyway, more of a, look here, there is how its going to be from now on sister conversation….My father was very persuasive.
Anyway, from that day forward, all Catholics were right handed, except for me, who apparently had special dispensation from the Pope letting me print left handed. All the children gasped as I walked up to the black board and actually printed using my left hand. Some thought I wasn’t really Catholic. I believe this may have been the birth of my loathsome attitude towards the nuns as they would now belittle every little nuance of my printing. I believe they were mad that I was left handed.
Funny thing is though, that yes I was left handed, but also right handed. In third grade, I switched writing back to right handed. I hated getting that lead all over my hands as I dragged my pencil over the paper writing. I was afraid of the lead after my brother Jack told me that I could die from lead poisoning if to much pencil dust got onto my skin. Damn him.
The nuns now had a chip on their shoulders, and I was just the kid to knock it off time and time again. They would never see it coming, they were expecting it from the right and I attacked from the left……
LURKING ON THE GRASSY KNOLL