I spent some time in the car this weekend going to and from Maine. If you think the radio sucks these days in general, try driving through Sanford, Maine. If your radio happens to be on, say, 99.7 FM in Massachusetts, and you were to press the scan-up button, you’d probably land on something like 100.3. Not in Maine. ONE scan up from 99.7 and you’ll cycle up past the max and somehow land back around where you started. While this dead-zone scan is exciting, it’s even more exciting when every other radio station is religious talk radio. TONS of Jesus talk. There are even radio stations like Positive 89.3 FM where all they play are Jesus songs and give biblical advice. Somewhere around Lewiston, I had a religious flashback and found myself back at Saint Paul’s Church wondering how I ever ended up in CCD.

CCD. Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. 

I had to Google what CCD meant a few moments ago. Nobody knows what CCD actually stands for and I imagine there’s a reason for that. CCD sounds a little like a fun camp. If some kid got wind of the real name–Confraternity of Christian Doctrine–he’d piss his pants and not get out of his mother’s car in the parking lot. It sounds real serious and when you get to the nuts and bolts of the whole program, it IS serious!

But why was I there? Not having talked to my parents about it–EVER–I imagine it was for the sole purpose to expose us kids to the tenants of Catholicism. It was a church prep-course and my mom wanted to make sure we all had a good Jesus foundation. But come on. How many of these parents actually wanted this? You’d have to imagine it was a 2 hour babysitting service for most of them. Were the moms drinking wine while we learned about the Eucharist? This was all pre-molestation stuff, so parents had to think their kids had the best, free babysitters in town. The other crew of parents in my nice, suburban town probably just wanted to look good for the other parents. Did you want to be the parent that DIDN’T send their kid to CCD? Maybe the other parents would talk. Maybe rumors would go around that you were horrible people. Maybe even…atheists? 

Looking back, CCD was funny because no kid really had any clue what they were doing there. It was as much a social experiment than it was a way to learn about God. We’d break up into these classes and every so often there would be crazy events. One event, and I’ll never forget this, was the FAMINE.

A freaking FAMINE for kids. We all worked towards this special day where we were not allowed to eat for 36 hours. Surely, it was designed to teach us some humility and for fat kids to lose weight but is this appropriate for developing children? Nevermind the health risks of a famine, but did any of us have any possible clue to how it related to a greater purpose? A HUNGER STRIKE FOR GOD? I was at an age where I couldn’t even ride my bike without parental supervision.

There was another special event that I got chosen for like Jonas in The Giver. Father Al, the priest at St. Paul’s, chose me for the Washing of the Feet. On Holy Thursday, I was to have my FEET WASHED in ceremonial ritual. How fucking strange is that for a kid? The conversation must have been surreal.

You’ve been chosen to have your feet washed.

Thank you. For what?

It’s a gesture relating to Jesus’ profound humility.

Somebody is going to wash my feet?

Yes.

Why?

It’s a gesture relating to Jesus’ profound humility.

What does ‘humility’ mean?

I’m going to wash your fucking feet, Scott. On Thursday.

The funny thing about CCD is that the questions the kids asked, that seemed so ridiculous to the adult teachers, are ACTUALLY the questions that people should ask today:

How can Jesus and God be the same person? The Holy Spirit is a person, too?

I took a class called the Trinity in college and we’d ask the same damn questions. And yet, CCD still introduces concepts like a tri-personal God to kids who just want to play soccer all day long. It was a wonderful time, CCD. When we got a little older, we’d wait in the parking lot, with all the kids, like it was a dance. I’d be checking out those Catholic girls and just when I was ready to make a move, they’d ring that damn bell and I’d be reminded that I was probably going to hell for eyeing that girl’s flannel skirt. 

Listen, I’m not here to offend any Catholics because this is The Tub. And everybody knows that the biggest and best hot tub was devised by Catholics and I’d never, ever, undermine that type of contribution. If they only knew how to use it correctly, though.