As soon as I read that the Nuns on the Bus were in town I knew there'd be trouble. Nuns and trouble go hand in hand.
I thought back to 5th grade, and I broke out in a cold sweat. It was like being there again. Towering over me was a giant Emperor Penguin (it was the late 60s, when nuns still wore the whole tuxedo complete with winged headgear), Sister Margaret Ann. I tell ya she was 9 foot tall if she was an inch, and tipped the scales somewhere around 3 spins. She had a fairly full mustache for a woman, and her forearm hair was as black as coal. Her teeth were like Chiclets, and I once joked that she could eat corn on the cob through a picket fence. A frightening presence who smelled like coffee and chalk.
"The Immaculate Conception? Yes sister, it means that Mary was still a virgin when baby Jesus was born."
"NEIN!!!" she screamed, and small bits of asbestos insulation fell from the ceiling of old St. Mike's. "It refers to the fact that Mary was born without Original Sin!! It refers to the conception of Mary herself, by her mother, Saint Anne!!"
I knew right then and there that I was fucked proper. No chance of making it to heaven now. I've carried that knowledge with me for about 40 years, both the knowledge of what the Immaculate Conception means, and the fact that I was going to spend eternity in a bubbling pool of molten nickel, with the smell of brimstone burning my nostrils.
When the Nuns on The Bus reached Fox Lake, they were met by about a hundred or so people, including the staff of Rep Walsh.
It's worth noting that Joe Walsh is a gigantic dildo. He's had a rather messy divorce play out in our papers, and he's got about $100,000 worth of back child-support payments. In court, I recall reading that Walsh told the judge that he and his ex-wife had a "verbal agreement" that he didn't have to pay child support. Judge didn't buy it. I think they've settled recently, perhaps partially, but it's not worth looking up. Suffice to say, Joe Walsh is a typical bullshit politician who says one thing and does another. He's real popular with the Tea Party types out in Fox Lake, a quaint little cracker haven that for a long time held the distinction: US town with the most bars per capita. I think it was something like 3 bars for every citizen of Fox Lake.
So it was with great surprise that I read Rep Walsh's comments yesterday in the Trib. While he disagrees with the nuns on certain political issues, such as how to serve the neediest among us, and how best to help the poor, he maintains a high level of respect for the penguins.
"As an Irish Catholic boy, I always genuflect at a nun," Walsh said. You're a what who does what? I'm one of those, and I never did that. I don't know where Joe would have been doing all that kneeling, because he went to Barrington High School (very rich, very white, very public school where they don't genuflect) and then prestigious Grinnell College, where they also don't genuflect.
I've heard stories of the good old days when the penguins carried those little click-clack click-clack things, which when click-clacked announced the call for all to genuflect, but Walsh is 2 years younger than me, and neither of us grew up in that sort of pre-Vatican II atmosphere. And again, Walsh didn't even attend Catholic school as a yoot, so it's likely he saw nuns once a week at most, on Sunday. Maybe. Even then, he didn't genuflect to the nuns, before the nuns, or..in the bizarre verbiage of Rep Walsh, at the nuns. That was sort of the tell for me that Walsh was kissing arse to the Nuns on the Bus. His use of the word "at." It could be argued that one genuflects "at" mass, or "at" the altar, but that's not directional genuflection, but rather locational.
One doesn't genuflect to nuns, one doesn't genuflect before nuns, and one never genuflects "at" a nun.
If that was Sister Margaret Ann, and Walsh had said that he "genuflects at nuns", she'd have thrown his Tea Party loving, no child support paying, adulterous ass under her bus.