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I, Traci Skene, am not a Catholic. I don't even
play one on TV. Nevertheless, I have a
boner...er, uh...bone to pick with the
Catholic Church and if I had a Post-It note
the size of mobile home, I would slap it on the side
of the Vatican with a message that reads:
Pedophilia is WRONG.
Ok, maybe it would read: Pedophilia is WRONG.
Pick up MILK. (It is, after all, a Post-It Note.)
But, I think the message would be clear.
Pedophilia is wrong. It's about as wrong
as wrong can get. Don't let the ACLU's defense
of the North American Man/Boy Love
Association fool you. Don't let the recent Supreme
Court decision protecting simulated child pornography
as "free speech" fool you. Don't let
the CBS Michael Jackson Tribute Special fool you.
Pedophilia is evil and those who protect
pedophiles are at the top of evil's waiting list.
Excuse me, Catholic Church, I hate to be rude,
but in case you haven't noticed, you have evil
lurking in your house of worship. Jesus H. Christ
on a bicycle, what are you waiting for?
Pack evil's bags! Buy evil a one-way ticket!
Stop being evil's enabler! It's time for tough love,
minus the love part. Tell the Pope to tell evil
to "go to Hell". He can do that.
He's the Pope! He's got Hell on speed dial.
He could probably call
Hell on his cell phone and make all the necessary
Holy moly, good God almighty, what could the
Catholic Church be thinking? I'm beginning to think
that the St. Louis Cardinals would have
handled this situation better.
And here's a hot tip for the men in robes with
funny hats: One victim is too many.
And here's another hot tip for the folks who sit
at home in funny hats and watch the evening news:
The victims are victims for life.
And here's a third and final hot tip for
people who think funny hats are actually funny:
They're not. (Completely unrelated, I know, but a point
that needed to be made.)
Mr. Cardinal, sir, why do you insist on protecting
the Father McFeely's in this country? Why do you think
the reputation of one priest is more important than
the mental well-being of one child? Do you understand
that lives are being ruined? Do you care?
Where's all that Catholic guilt I've heard so much
Man, oh, man, I am madder than a drunken Benji
at a matinee of "Cats."
Ok, I admit it, some of my outrage is personal.
Perhaps this would be a good time to crack open a fresh box of Kleenex.
Before you panic, no, I have never been
physically molested, but when I was in elementary school,
I had the terrible misfortune of being taught by
what I can only describe as a "psycho-sexual abuser."
It was, without a doubt, the worst year of my life and
all of it stays with me to this day.
I was ten years old. (Think of the last
ten-year-old you've been around and you will
realize just how young that is.) I was his student
and he was my teacher. The idea that he was thrilled by
manipulating me is as perplexing as it is frightening.
This was a man who kept track of my menstrual
cycles. He would lock me in a room with a sex
manual then quiz me about what I had learned.
This was a man who told me that if I didn't obey him,
he would tell my parents that I was crazy and I
would be locked up in an institution. This was a man
who used his power as an authority figure to terrorize
a child. This was a man who was not worthy of protection.
The pain, of course, never really went away.
By junior high school I had what the psychologists
labeled "school phobia." By tenth grade,
I was suicidal and I spent the last 2-1/2 years of
high school at home with a tutor. No prom. No
graduation ceremony. No social life. School was
not a place where I could feel safe.
Have you used up all of your tissues yet?
Don't worry, it's time for the somewhat
happy ending. Many years of therapy later I was
able to go on with my life. I somehow managed
to enroll in college. I started doing standup and
I began dating the man who would eventually become
my husband. Everything seemed normal again.
But wait, now it's time for the spooky plot twist.
One night, as I wrapping up a set at a comedy club
in my hometown of Philadelphia, a man in the
front row reached up and handed me a dozen roses.
It was him. I waved to the crowd,
hurried out of the room and became
absolutely hysterical. Not hysterical in an
"I just heard something funny" kind of way,
but hysterical in an "I just saw the man who
ruined my childhood" kind of way.
To say it was awful would be the understatement
of the column.
But wait, there's more. Years later,
Mr. Scary Teacher Guy showed up at yet another
of my gigs. (Will this nightmare never end?!)
This time (and I don't quite know how), I was able
to calmly request that he never try to see me again
and I also managed to tell him that I was
angry with him for what he had done to me in
the past. (What I really wanted to do was kick him
in the nuts and run like a girl!) He merely said, "Why?
What did I do?" For the first time,
he almost made me hysterical in an "I just
heard something funny" kind of way.
It's hard to imagine-- or admit for that
matter-- but as terrible as it was, some good
actually came out of that period in my life.
It was during that awful time as a child that I
discovered comedy in general and standup in
I've always wondered why my comedy hereos weren't
women, which would be understandable,
but rather middle-aged men the likes of Martin Mull
or Johnny Carson. My own brand of psycho-babble
tells me that I was attracted to nice, funny
middle-aged men to counterbalance the evil
middle-aged man who was making my life a living
hell. (Since I only lasted as a Psych major
for one semester, I wouldn't listen to a word
I have to say.)
For all the bad memories I have with this
poor excuse for a man, there was one seemingly
insignificant incident involving him that I will
never forget. One day Mr. Not-So-Funny
decided to tell me a joke. "What did they find
up the ethnic person's nose?" he asked.
The answer: Fingerprints. When I didn't laugh,
he said, "Don't you get it? Fingerprints?
He was picking his nose?" I replied,
"I get it, but why did you say
ethnic person? Why didn't you say
Italian guy or Polish guy."
He actually said, "Because that would be
insensitive.": I was furious.
"But ethnic person isn't funny,"
I argued, "You shouldn't even have bothered
telling the joke!"
It's amazing to me that with all the horror I
was forced to endure, I still managed to work up
the energy and passion to argue the merits of a joke
with this maniac. Might I remind you that I was ten.
Is it any wonder I became a standup comic?
Some comics would argue that I should be using this negative experience as fodder for my comedy act. To be quite honest, I don't want to relive it night after night in front of a room full of strangers. The truth might be funny, but it isn't always fun.
Maybe that's why I feel so sorry for the now-adult
victims of the pedophile priests. To quote
our former randy President, "I feel your pain."
And feel it I do. That's why I want to grab the
Pope by his Pope lapels and shake him until he yells
for help in five different languages. Or maybe I'll
just tell him a really cruel joke. "What did they
find up the alter boy's ass? Fingerprints."
Don't you get it,Pope? He was molested by a priest?
Yeah, you're right. It wasn't the least bit funny.
TRACI SKENE has appeared on VH-1's Standup Spotlight, A&E's Comedy On The Road and Lifetime's Girls Night Out, all of which has done her absolutely no good.
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