The Infamous Condom Incident

#Drugs

Mon, Jun 22nd, 1998 02:00 by Jester ARTICLE

I was raised in the Catholic School System. Elementary, and high school. And everything they say about Catholics is true. We make rabbits look chaste, but we deny that we even know sex exists and we all feel very guilty about getting some afterwards. This guilt lasts about ten minutes, when we start thinking about it again, unless we're in the company of a priest or Crucifix, then we can usually go a half-hour without the urge to bonk somebody.

In my high school things were a little more progressive than the old days (when Nuns would beat you with a yardstick if you so much as said "underwear"), and sex was actually discussed, and there was a decent sex ed program. We also learned about drugs and racism. Specifically, we learned that all this was going on in the public schools, and not in our school. I was even told once that we wore a uniform (while I wore my sneakers and a blue non-regulation sweater) because it made it possible to tell students apart from undesirable elements, such as drug dealers. Meanwhile, Stephan was enjoying a tremendous hash buzz and chatting merrily with a car about its paint job. In Stephan's drug-assisted mind, the car may have been talking back, complimenting Stephan's on his well-pressed school uniform.

Occasionally, hopelessly optimistic people like myself would try some reason to point out a problem in the hopes of changing it, or getting a teacher to talk real, and not parrot the school board propaganda. As a matter of fact, our drug dealers were wearing uniforms and enrolled in our classes, I would say. But it was hopeless to say such things. We didn't deal in real issues. Everything was strictly generic, and they tried to hide the fact that knowing something about sex, drugs, and rock and roll might actually have a practical application. Our drug ed program was very enlightening. I did learn all sorts of things about LSD etc., except one thing...if drugs are so evil and stupid, why do people take them? Similarly, our sex ed class was reduced to the bare facts (no pun intended). We knew that the penis was inserted into the vagina, but nobody explained why someone would want this to happen. "And the blood fills the penis, creating an erection. The vagina lubricates when the woman is aroused, and the man then inserts the penis into the vagina. This is called 'penetration'." No-one ever added "And god-damn, let me tell you it FEELS GREAT." For what was being described, it was just another bodily function, like a bowel movement. They never explained that although it is used to procreate, most people do it because they like it. Then again, about 1/3 of us knew this before high school sex ed anyway, and the rest of us would find out Prom Night.

I was told ethnic gangs sprouted up shortly after I graduated, and that there were 30 student pregnancies in one year. They continue to talk about how awful it is in public schools with the rampant racism, drug abuse and sex, and that condoms are evil. To this day, many Catholic institutions refuse to concede that perhaps a condom isn't as evil as unwanted pregnancy, or AIDS.

I found this out first hand once.

Our school had a little radio station, where I was a DJ. It was just a tiny sound system that was pumped into the cafeteria during spares. It was impossible to run since everyone liked different kinds of music. Only about 1/10th of the audience was enjoying it at any one point. We tried comedy sketches and stuff that we'd write and perform ourselves, but most people didn't listen. They just talked or ate their lunch. It was fun for us, but we didn't have a fanatic fan base, to put it mildly.

I have the distinction of being the only DJ to command complete attention of the cafeteria for a full minute.

This incident also led to the creation of the "Jason Rule," in which all material had to be screened by the two managers, or the staff instructor, Mister K.

I read a joke commercial. We did that all the time. This one made fun of McCarthy's, which provides the uniforms for most of the Catholic schools in the Greater Toronto Area. If you've gone to a Catholic high school in the GTA, chances are you've been there and worn a McCarthy's tartan tie or kilt, or pair of grey pants.

Mostly the commercial made fun of our uniform policy itself, which had been stricter of late as they tried to crack down on people like me, who made it a point to be out of uniform. This meant I had to put up with a lot of hassling, so I wrote a little retaliation.

Here is the commercial, with commentary (consider it the laser disc edition):

"Hello, my name is Billy Bob Joe Plus-Tax."

(Don't ask.)

"I represent McCarthy's, the people who provide you with the wonderful uniforms you're wearing now."

(At this point, the caf was still noisy, people not paying attention.)

"It's come to our attention that some of you are engaging in pre-marital sex."

(At the word "sex" the caf instantly goes to dead silence.)

"You know, you shouldn't be doing that. But, since some of you are, we've come up with a wonderful new product for you. McCarthy's Condoms."

(Big laugh. I actually had to pause for the laughter to subside. I never had to do that before.)

"Choose from over 50 varieties, including our school spirit condom, which comes with your school's crest printed right on it."

(Another laugh. The bit about "comes" was an unintentional pun.)

"And don't forget the Tartan condom, which comes with your school's pattern, exactly like the girl's kilts."

(A tartan covered penis. Think about it.)

"And last but not least, the sweater condom, built exactly like the school sweater. It's green, and it even itches, just like the school sweater."

(Laughter getting louder.)

"So remember, if you're going to have sex, be safe with a McCarthy's Condom."

(I changed my goofy slick salesguy voice into a more serious one).

"A special notice to students: McCarthy's Condoms are now a mandatory part of the school uniform. Teachers are authorized to check to see that you are wearing your condom at all times."

This got the biggest laugh of all. It was a time when teachers were carrying swatches of grey fabric to see that our pants correctly matched school-issue pants, and although we didn't have to wear a sweater, we were required to carry one at all times (?). Why? Don't ask, shut-up, just do what we say. This little commercial of mine took a stab at that kind of mentality. Everybody knew that I was very anti-uniform. I would wear my sneakers instead of dress shoes constantly. When teachers came up to me and ask "Where are your shoes?" I would say "On my feet." This would prompt an angry "Where are your DRESS shoes?" My dress shoes were in my locker (where they stayed for four years). I would tell them this (omitting the four years part), and they would tell me to put them on. I would go away, and just try to avoid that teacher for the day. They took the uniform policy very seriously, and if they'd been thinking clearly, they should have been pissed at my takingthe piss out of it.

But nope, I had acknowledged the existence of sex, which is a hundred times worse. I could have announced to the cafeteria "Mr. Q, that bastard vice-principal, buggers goats in a Nazi uniform." They wouldn't have been mad at the character assassination or the contempt for a school official. They would have been mad at the use of the word "buggers," which is a form of sex, and we're not supposed to know about it.

So Mike, my partner, tried to contain his laughter while introducing the next song, when suddenly Mr. K. walked into the radio booth with Mr. G, the school Chaplain. Mr. K had a long look on his face that spelled trouble for your humble narrator. The Chaplain looked like I had trashed his car. I hadn't of course, though we did affix a "PUBLIC EDUCATION: PRIORITY #1" bumper sticker to the Principal's car later that year.

The Chaplain was plenty mad. So I got an earful for promoting sex, which is what he thought the commercial did. Actually, I was saying the school uniform policy was moronic, but anyway. The Chaplain actually said, "I'm censoring this." Well, at least he was honest. I was told to apologize, for what I'm not sure, but I had to go back on the air and explain that I actually hadn't meant to encourage people to fuck like there's no tomorrow (I'm paraphrasing obviously). I had to do this twice. "Sincerely." I had to fake the sincerity part. And the biggest fallacy of this apology was that fact that nobody needed my encouragement to have sex. Nobody said, "Oh, Jason actually didn't want us to have sex, so we'd better not." I'm sure students around the school who didn't hear the incident got lucky that night. Or maybe were in the janitor's closet that very moment.

Thirty student pregnancies in one year.

In addition to the radio station, our school had a nursery for the student's children. Maybe I should have read a real commercial for Trojans instead of a fake one for McCarthy's.

Ironically, Mr. G, the Chaplin, wasn't a bad guy. I liked him actually. We had a few run-ins about other things not worth recounting now, but he was young and misguided, and well, I was write and he was wrong. But I kept an open mind, and I'm mature enough not harbor any hard feelings.

In fact, a friend of mine told me that Mr. G not long after confided to him "Why don't they wear the little rubber thingee? I mean, I wish they wouldn't do it at all, but if they're going to, why don't they wear the little rubber thingee?" This after consoling a young girl who had just learned that she was pregnant. Quite a risk for him to say that. If the school board had found out, they probably would have buried him under Highway 10. Good Catholic people, of course, don't use condoms, because as the Pope (and Monty Python puts it) every sperm is sacred.

Mr. G had an agenda to follow if he wanted to continue drawing a paycheque from the school board, and I thought high school was like a load of manure, but less useful. We were bound to have our disagreements. And even though we sorta agreed on this issue, he couldn't make his feelings public. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that other schools were visiting us at the time, and heard the wild goings-on in our radio station. One of them was an all-girls school, who couldn't believe what they were hearing. One of these visitors actually turned out to be the woman I'm going to marry, and this was her first exposure to me. Fate does some weird things. But at any rate, perhaps this display in front of other schools pissed Mr. G off at that moment (Mister K thought it was "Good satire").

I didn't get kicked off the air. I was allowed to continue being a DJ, but my racier stuff was killed by Antonia, Nadine or Mr. K. That wasn't their fault. They had responsibilities. Personal feelings didn't enter into it. For a while though, Len and Raph, two DJs who had a later shift, they liked to court disaster by reading ads for "McCarthy's Condiments! On your hot dogs and hamburgers!" We never did manage to get the cafeteria's attention quite like that again.

And Catholic people, including young students, continued to have sex.

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