by ANDREW HICKS
1. In first grade, I’m not even 6 years old when the teacher instructs us to speak in tongues. Like it’s a class exercise or something — we just finished our simple addition, now it’s time to talk in tongues. There was a whole room of small children and a middle-aged lady producing spiritual babble on cue. Can’t vouch for the other kids, but I faked it to fit in. Just said random Italian-sounding words. I only remember this happening once. It should seem obvious to both believers or non-believers that you don’t simply tell a kid to have the Holy Spirit come upon him and get spiritually overtaken on demand.
2. Our school cafeteria had the world’s best pretzels with cheese and ice cream sandwiches made from soft, Subway-sized chocolate-chip cookies. You could get a pretzel with cheese AND ice cream sandwich for 75 cents. My health never stood a chance.
3. When I was a sophomore or so, the school booked veteran session guitarist turned Christian solo musician Mike Deasy to perform in chapel for the junior high and high school. They took up a love offering among students to help cover Deasy’s travel and performance expenses, but there wasn’t much love offered, I suppose because everyone was holding onto their cash to buy ice cream sandwiches with. We were all reprimanded by a teacher a few days later, who said she was taking up a collection to mail Deasy a check or something. Keep in mind, this guy had played with the Beach Boys, Byrds, Joe Cocker, Jackson 5, Billy Joel, Little Richard, Elvis, Simon and Garfunkel and Frank Sinatra.
4. We read Shakespeare from a Christian textbook that changed Lady Macbeth’s line, “Out, out, damned spot!” to, “Out, out, foul spot!”
5. At one point, two of the school administrators who ranked higher than our principal interrogated the entire high school one person at a time. We were brought into a downstairs room I’d never seen before to be asked if we were users of alcohol, marijuana, tobacco or smokeless tobacco, or if we knew of anyone who did. It was like a vice version of McCarthyism.
6. I remember my science teacher publicly embarrassing a female student and sending her to the office because the cameltoe in her acid-wash jeans was “showing all your nooks and crannies.” I’m still strangely aroused by acid-wash cameltoe to this day.
7. The entire high school is ushered into the underground tunnel connecting the school to the church for an emergency meeting. By candlelight, in somber tones, a teacher tells us, “Today, [the science teacher] was arrested by the state of Missouri for refusing to teach evolution in her classroom.” A few gasps are heard and tears are shed before it’s revealed to just be a simulation of end-times chaos or something.
8. I am told to go to Hollywood and write more wholesome movies like Sister Act.
9. Before the drama teacher arrived to class, we’d have one student stand guard at the door while the rest of us snuck a peek at pay-per-play UHF music video channel The Box on the TV/VCR AV cart combo. Nine times out of ten, Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” would be playing on The Box. Forbidden fruit, indeed!