No Balls: A Story of 8th Grade Sunday School
Let Us Pray...
These wonderful creations, your children, are fixin’ to enter a dark place filled with Satan and his many temptations. Please guide them as they create their goals for their upcomin’ four years of high school. Be with them and take care of them, inspirin’ each of ‘em to hold fast to Your holy word, your sacred teachings, and what they have learned in the past week. We pray in the name of you, our most merciful Father, whose love will endureth forever,
My head went up, trying to hide the smirk across my face. The other four former 8th grades and I looked as Mrs. Maggie May as she scurried across the Sunday school room to get more materials. As she flitted about the room looking for what I could only assume was another new- testament-color-by-numbers, I glanced at the calendar in the corner with it’s tauntingly late date. “August 24th,” I thought. “It’s hard to believe that’s tomorrow. “The day I finally begin high school. The day I can...”
“Children I found them!” exclaimed Ms. Maggie May as she waved around a cardboard box, interrupting my thoughts. “I bought all these ‘specially for y’all!” Box in hand, Mrs. Maggie May began to distribute the contents to each of us; surprisingly, not one crayon was placed before me. Instead, Mrs. Maggie May gave us each a moderately expensive looking pen, like the kind you would get as an unwelcome gift along with a matching pencil.
“These are ‘promise pens’” she said in her holiest voice. Each of these has a bible verse on it which will remind you of God’s promises to you, and his eternal love for your being. This way, when you’re being forced to write up some essay based on the lies of some satanically inspired figure like Charles Darwin, you can look at this pen and remember the truth. Why don’t we each go around and read the verse on each of our pens?”
Tracy Nelson, the teacher’s favorite began before anyone else had the chance to volunteer. “Proverbs 3:5” she started, as she looked down at the pen. “Oh wait, I don’t need to read this, I know it from memory,” she said with the smuggest smile I’ve ever seen. “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean NOT on your own understanding.”
“Oh, very good Tracy, very good. Who’s next?” she said looking around the room. Nobody wanted to read their pen. Finally she called for Jack to read his, which would have been fine if Jack weren’t so embarrassed by his speech impediment.
“Go on, Jack,” no one here will judge you. You know I never judge. People who judge are such bad people. You know I would never judge you. Now please, read your verse.”
Jack looked at Ms. Maggie May helplessly, at the floor, and at the pen. Then, he began “Jeh...wi...miah twenty...nine...eh-w-eh-ven. Fo-we I know the pwans... I have fo-we...you. Pwans to pwospuh...you...and not to...haw-m you.”
“Plans to give you hope and a future! Yes!” said Mrs. Maggie, trying to finish up the awkward declamation as quickly as possible. “Alex, you’re next.”
At this point, I had been looking down at my pen for quite some time trying to figure out what to do about its inscription. It didn’t seem like a verse that should be engraved into a pen. So after the millionth awkward pause of the class, I told her
“I don’t think I should read this. I think there’s a mistake.”
“A mistake? What kind of a mistake? Does your pen not have a bible verse written on it?”
“No, it does Mrs. Maggie May, ma’am, it’s just...I don’t feel good reading this out loud.”
“Oh, that’s just butterflies, chil’(d). I presume the devil may have something to do with it”
“I still don’t want to read what’s written on this pen.”
“Nonsense dear” she said looking a little more serious. “The entire bible is God’s holy word. Read it.” she said with a deadpan stare that could have turned me to stone.
I looked at the pen, then looked back at her. Then I looked at the crucifix on the wall and realized just how much I empathized with Jesus at this moment. After a rush of self-pity I began:
The Word of the Lord...?
“D….D….Deut….Dueteronomy 23:1” I began, staring at my teacher, hoping she’d stop me when she realized what I was about to read. I knew this verse; I suppose she did not.
“No man”...I started, hoping she would please tell me to stop. She still did not. Finally, with a large sigh, I began “No man who has had his testicles crushed or his penis cut off may enter the presence of God.”
Mrs. Maggie May’s jaw hit the floor. It lay there next to Tracy’s. The other two boys in my class tried to restrain their laughter.
“Their, what, cut off?” demanded Miss Maggie after a long period of silence.
“Testicles…” she said as if rolling the word around in her mouth.
“Testicles, testicles, testicles…”
“How dare you use such vulgar language in my Sunday School class!?”
“Ma’am, you told me to read what was on the pen, and I did.”
“Well, that can’t be right” she said, angrily snatching the pen away from me.
“Oh of course” she said, shooting me an angry look. This says “Test-I-Cleese”. He must be some kind of ancient Roman hero the writer was referencing for his audience. You know, the Israelites were subject to the Romans for quite some time during the…”
“Not yet” I told her.
“What do you mean, not yet?” she asked me, looking annoyed.
“This is from the Old Testament, the Rome didn’t even exist at this point. Besides, there’s not a Roman hero named “Test-i-Cleese”. This says testicles.
“Alex, I will have you know I am the teacher of this class, and there is simply no way the bible would contain the word...’testicles’ in it. That just cannot be.
“But it can! The bible is the most politically incorrect book ever written!”
“It is not, it is the foundation of our society! And you are disrupting my class by spreading...disgusting words of the devil!” she said, almost as hotly as the hell she protected us from.
“Anyone with a normal frame of mind right now would realize that written on this pen is the word testicles! And you know what else it says?
“Don’t you DARE, Alex” she said as if she were holding a gun.
“Penis.” I spoke in a calm tone.
“You stop it! The bible doesn’t talk about…anything like that! Come out of him Satan!” she said, trying to exercise my common sense from me.
I’d had enough. “Penis! PENIS! PEEEENISSS!” I yelled. In a fit of rage I stormed toward the exit, fed up with bowdlerized Christianity. As my furor hit a crescendo, I flung myself around in the doorway to face the speechless room. Looking up to the heavens, fervor seeped from my pours as I declared my message. "PENIS! SO SAYETH THE LORD!"