HOME   BACK to the Columnist INDEX ARCHIVE

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.

Traci Skene


Traci Skene

SHECKYmagazine Chief

Father McFeeley

I, Traci Skene, am not a Catholic. I don't even play one on TV. Nevertheless, I have a, 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 arrangements.

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 about?

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 particular.

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. HOME Back to the Top