Growing up in a religious home in a religious town meant everything in our lives was, well, religious. The church was the hub of the community. It hosted not only all your typical church services, programs and ceremonies, but also community activities, special events, revivals and meetings to discuss and plan these events. For our social needs there were bible study groups, prayer groups (men’s separate from women’s) fellowship groups (also separate for men and women) and youth groups. In the summer, we had Bible camp.
Oh, yeah, we were immersed. It was all part of our shaping. It takes a whole community to hammer a kid into a mould, you know. I went to all the kid and youth group functions, as did all the other little lumps of clay I grew up with. (If you aren’t up on your biblical metaphors, we are the clay, God is the sculptor. I’d say he took more time with some than with others, don’t you think?)
One time at Bible camp (I recommend you read this introduction with Michelle Flaherty’s flair when she introduced one of her band camp Stories in “American Pie.” It’s just more fun that way) I saw something that shook me to my core and dropped me to me knees. It was not a religious revelation brought on by a miraculous event such as the parting of the sea or the tumbling walls of Jericho or Moses and his burning bush (if you’re not up on your Bible stories, I am referring to a shrub, not his bush.) I saw a bush all right, but not the kind that bursts into flame and strikes up a conversation with you.
We were all packed into tiny, one room cabins and there wasn’t much privacy. I had major anxiety over being seen naked as a kid, so I’d change in my sleeping bag (which required some skill and was awkward as shit.) Well, there was a particular fellow camper with no such concerns. She had shucked every bit of her clothing and was sitting on her bed nonchalantly as you please, talking with another girl. I did my best to respect her privacy and politely avert my eyes but something caught my attention. I didn’t want to risk offending her by looking, but you know how insistent curiosity can be. It’s in our nature to look at the bad, the ugly and the bizarre. I simply had to ascertain the validity of what I thought I saw.
So I looked. I know! I know! I’m shameless! But be assured my punishment came immediately, because damn, you sure can’t un-see that shit either.
I looked at my naked cabin-mate and ho-leeeee, did that girl have a bush! No, there is no shrubbery you could compare that to. More apt would be the amazon forest. I have never seen anything like it before or since-not even in ‘70s porn. She didn’t seem to be aware of my open mouth stare, praise Jesus, but there I was, incredulous, comparing my little 6 haired treasure trail to that mass. Horrified beyond reason, I thought oh dear God, is mine going to get that carried away? It looked like she had a small animal cradled in her lap. I am not exaggerating. That would be lying, and what the hell do you think we were learning in Bible camp?
All I could think to do while forcing myself out of my paralyzed state and fleeing the cabin was send up a quick prayer to my creator. “Please, dear God, no. Please don’t let me get that hairy. Please. I’ll do anything. I’ll try harder to be a better Christian. I’ll read my bible more. I’ll be good. I’ll stop looking at my brother’s magazines.
Oh, and about those tits I’ve been asking for. I’m still waiting. No pressure, just when you have time.”