At my Catholic school in the 1960′s, there was what the nuns called “Special talent day.” Basically, talent day was a thinly disguised ruse run by the nuns to gather what special skill sets each child possessed outside of the norm. (Apparently if a nuclear war broke out, the nuns wanted to know what students to save to guarantee survival and what students to leave behind)
One morning, Sister Mary Francis announced to the class that the upcoming Friday would be special talent day. On Friday, each student would be asked (Told) to go to the front of the class and reveal what special talent they possessed. My mind wandered to the league of super heroes, and what super power I would like to have. Flying would be ultra cool but invisibility would always win out to my perverted mind. (Walking into the girls locker room without being seen, how cool would that be?)
Anyway, Friday came slowly and child by child was called to the front of the class for their special talent. One nun brown noser student sang. (Let there be peace, a religious tune, go figure)
One student, Kevin, danced an authentic Irish jig. It was hilarious. He was the original Michael Flatley, Riverdance king.
One girl, brought in drawings and paintings she drew. I have to admit, they were pretty good for a 3rd grader.
A couple of students performed gymnastics, a few flips, jumps and leaps. I was secretly hoping for them to fall or crash into the nun. None of them did. (Damn!)
Some played musical instruments. The drums, guitar, clarinet, and one played the flute-o-phone. It was going to be difficult to follow this diverse group of talent.
My name was called next. I was just your normal everyday Joe. I had no special talents. God knows I couldn’t sing, dance, or play an instrument. At that moment I wish I had given this assignment a little more thought before now. Then it dawned on me. I remembered back in first grade, when we all learned how to print with big boy and big girl pencils. I would use that lesson to my advantage. I was going to dazzle the students and impress the hell out of the nuns.
I confidently walked to the black board, took a piece of chalk in my right hand and asked a student to say aloud any sentence that came to their mind. I immediately wrote it down on the black board. Now here is the special talent. I then switched the chalk to my left hand and wrote the same sentence underneath the one I wrote with my right hand. The writing looked identical.
Time for a little back story. In the 1960′s, at Catholic grade school, all students were considered right handed. From day one in first grade, the nuns instructed us in right handed printing only. I was left handed and was having problems with my writing. I wasn’t really ambidextrous, but no one needed to know that. See this link for the back story. All Catholics Are Right Handed
Gasps were heard from the kids seated in class. It was a show stopper folks. No one including the nuns ever saw someone that could write left and right handed. Sister Mary Francis stopped and asked me where I learned how to do that trick, to write left handed. I told her the trick was to learn to write right handed and that she was looking at a real life left handed Catholic.
Special Talent day was over for me that day as I was sent to wait in the principal’s office.
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LURKING ON THE GRASSY KNOLL