Gym Shorts and Sneakers 1963
Sister Elizabeth marched the third-grade class down the stairs and into the gymnasium.
“I’ll leave you boys in the hands of Mr. Greenfield,” said the nun. “Behave yourselves. Remember. I have eyes in the back of my head.”
And we believed her. There was a rumor in our school that each nun was really a cyclops. And that they all had a bulging eye in the back of their heads, hidden behind their habits. My buddy Gary claims to have seen it.
“Liar,” I said. “You’d a been shitting your pants, for sure.”
“Well, maybe I didn’t actually see it,” said Gary, “but Sister Elizabeth is always scratching the back of her head. I figure a big eye like that must get pretty dry under that habit. That would have me itching, for sure.”
“How many times do I have to tell you to stop saying ‘for sure’, you copycat. That’s mine.”
“You can’t own words, Ben. Words are free. They belong to everyone. Free as birds. For sure.”
“Then you better watch it, Gary. ‘Cause here comes a flying 'fuck'!”
“Ouch! My eyes! That didn’t tickle, you moron!”
“It wasn’t suppose to. Best Three Stooges move ever. For sure.”
Mr. Greenfield blew his whistle. Which brought on a cigarette cough that had us wondering if we should run for help.
“All right, boys,” said Mr. Greenfield. “Form a line and give me ten reps. And I don’t mean pansy push-ups, either. I want chests so high off the floor that a cat could walk under and not lose a hair.”
“How much beer do you think is in Mr. Greenfield’s belly?” said Gary.
“A barrel's worth, for sure,” I said. “I’ll bet he needs a mirror to see his penis.”
“Yeah,” said Gary. “And that cat would have to be some kind a special to walk under one of his push-ups.”
“Suicide mission, for sure,” I said.
“Alright, boys,” said Mr. Greenfield, “on your feet! I want knee-bends. Ten reps.”
“Damn President Kennedy,” I said, “and his damn Physical Fitness Program.”
“You can’t damn a president in catholic school,” said Gary. “You’ll go to hell.”
“Then he shouldn’t be making us do this,” I said. “I get plenty of exercise at home, running from my old man.”
“Ha. You and me both,” said Gary. “Hey. Do you think President Kennedy chases his kids with a leather belt?”
“Hell, no!” I said. “They probably get a nice talking too about good manners. Then get taken out for pizza.”
“Which they probably eat with a knife and fork,” said Gary.
“For sure,” I said.
After several more ten-rep exercises, Sister Elizabeth came to collect us.
“All right, boys,” she said. “Single file and up the stairs we go. Also, I’ve got a bit of news for you all. Tomorrow, President Kennedy’s motorcade will be passing through here on its way to the UN, and we’ll all be out there to witness it. Pretty exciting. Don’t you think?”
“She better not be expecting an answer from me,” I said. “Not after what that damn president put my body through today.”
“For sure,” said Gary. “Maybe the next president will be a lazy-ass like us, and forget all about this exercising crap.”
“He’s got my vote,” I said. “For sure.”
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