Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #116

In one respect, this photo of Hungarian children in the early 1900s reenacting The Nativity is moving and symbolic. Sadly, you can also see that four sheep in the flock have possibly lost their way and joined a street gang in South Central L.A. And at least one of the angels is trying to decide if she’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, hovering between the two.

Suddenly, Sister Bonita Felicia Gardenia Sue appeared out of nowhere, something Sisters are always doing because it’s part of their vocational training. She was sporting a rather dissatisfied look and, theoretically, her dusty but intact virginity. “Children. I was just in the other room, not reading a torrid romance novel that someone left in the confessional, when I sensed that someone in this room was having a crisis of faith. Tell me all about it immediately so I can save you from the fires of Hell.”

The children just stared back at her, with even the slowest among them sensing that any reaction might somehow cause complications with either their spiritual paths or the attainment of extra pudding during lunch in the cafeteria. Besides, none of them was very familiar with this “crisis of faith” business, as they were only in the first grade. As everyone knows, first grade is mainly about training the tykes to stay in their seats for longer than two minutes. Philosophy comes later. (Or not at all, in certain southern states in America.)

Sister Bonita and her dustiness sighed. “I’m not going to stand for this. It will go better for everyone if you simply admit your transgressions now. Don’t make me go wake up Father Bustier and get the key to the Inquisition Chamber.”

The children gasped. The Inquisition Chamber? Didn’t bad things happen to Harry Potter in that place?

A timid voice came from the trio of angels on the left. “But Sister Bonita, we don’t know what we have done wrong. Do you maybe have a PowerPoint presentation that we can review?”

Another voice rang out. “Can we look it up on Google?”

Sister Bonita sighed again. “Child, you know quite well that we are not allowed to have computers at Our Lady of Redemptive Compliance, not after Father Bustier had the misfortune of clicking on things that he shouldn’t. That’s why he has to take so many naps, because of all the medicinal wine he has been forced to consume.”

A much bolder voice came from the quartet of newly-initiated street thugs on the floor. “Then why don’t you just tell us what you’re looking for so we can get back to our cosplay with the Baby Jesus.”

Sister Bonita released a third sigh. “Someone in this room has been listening to Billy Joel’s ‘Only the Good Die Young’, a wretched song about personal choice, and that cannot be tolerated in a denomination that depends on conformity.”

Hoverina, the aforementioned angel who had been waffling on where to tread, finally had enough and came to a decision. “Okay, fine. It’s me! I’m the who listens to Billy Joel. I love that song! And I’ve just decided that I don’t want a nice white dress and a party for my confirmation.”

Sister Bonita blanched. “You speak of blaspheme, Tiny Dancer!”

Hoverina: “Oh, please. You’re one to talk. I know what you did with the gardener last summer. And the mailman. And the tech guy who came to take the computers away. The only one you haven’t straddled is Father Bustier, because he clicks on different websites than you.”

Sister Bonita’s eyes narrowed. “Child, you are forgetting that you are a child and you have no control over this situation or what happens to you.”

Hoverina: “For now. But in just a few years I’ll be able to vote, along with millions of other young people. And we are done with certain old people who refuse to let go of things that don’t work anymore.”

Sister Bonita: “But we still have control right now. I’m ordering you to leave this sanctuary, and you must exit through the Door of Shame.”

Hoverina: “Happy to do so.” She marched over to the DOS and threw it wide open, redemptively.

Billy Joel was standing there. “I hear you like my songs.”

Hoverina: “Indeed I do. Sing us a song, you’re the Piano Man.”

Billy: “Sing us a song tonight.”

Hoverina: “Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody, and you got us feeling alright.”

They joined hands and headed to a nearby café that served an excellent Chicken Alfredo, an ambiance of acceptance, and a soulful crooner who dreamed of better. Even if the microphone smelled like a beer.

Prior Note: Previously published. Massively changed, as this is another one where the first version consisted of just a few lines. And yes, I got a bit heavy with the Billy Joel references, but how can one not appreciate Early Billy?

New Note: Slight changes made to the massive changes of the prior. (Sounds like a legal document, eh?) If you have the time, take a gander at the comment interplay on The Prior Post, found here. I always relish the conversations I have with the folks who check into Bonnywood Manor, but on that particular day everyone was on the exact same page and it was really fun.


37 replies »

        • haoyando: I think that’s a fair analysis, with some folks preferring to use the term “agnostic” since it doesn’t seem as offensive, yet they really are atheistic. This is just another example of how restrictive some societies still are, even if they are considered “progressive”, with folks afraid to share their true feelings and inclinations. No society is truly free until every member of that society feels that way.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you sincerely for providing that link. I blathered there, rather lengthily (as is my wont) and will offer the same words here:

    One cannot get enough of early Billy, ‘cos “now” Billy sorta sucks. And that Only The Good Die Young has been so overplayed that some of us loathe it, even if we were driving our parents mad in 19** (year hid to preserve the idea that we aren’t older than dust) by playing that record over and over. Ah the good old days!! When things were a lot simpler…(far off whistling..)

    Now one little point I failed to uncover while blathering in 2018 was “Hoverina”. Didn’t she go on to join the cast of whatever Broadway thingie they did in tribute to Billy Joel’s overplayed “Only The Good Die Young” and other songs on the same album which don’t get quite the same status? I do believe she changed her name to “Virginia” as was only appropriate. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I think you’re on to something. I just KNEW I recognized Hoverina as a younger version of someone else. I haven’t really vetted my sources, but I do believe Virginia (the artist formerly known as Hoverina) was a huge success in that Broadway Joel retrospective. She was especially endearing when she ignored the missives of the director and changed the lyrics and title of her spotlight song to reflect her Utah youth. Her rendition of “She’s Always a Mormon (To me)” almost won her a Tony award. Almost…

      Liked by 3 people

      • BWAHAHAHHA!!! “Almost a Mormon (to me)”? I bet it didn’t get booked in the land of the lost out here. Virginia succumbed to ‘peer pressure” which is why she was in the back of that limousine with the spoon up her nose O_o Naughty, naughty! As to the Tony? Those awards people never have any taste! She was robbed!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks like WP is doing a fine job of censoring any attempted comments today! Let’s try, for Billy. One. More. Time ‘For the promises our teachers gave, If we worked hard, if we behaved.’ NunSpeak for ‘Do what you’re told.’

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kudos for aptly working in the “Allentown” reference, as it works quite nicely with the discourse. But as an aside, here’s some insight into how my mind works: Your “NunSpeak” phrase made me think of the play “NunSense” which somehow triggered a memory of the nun-centric movie “The Runner Stumbles” which starred Dick Van Dyke and therefore my mind went to Mary Tyler Moore and I have to end this ramble by saying “Oh, Mr. Grant!”.

      I need help. I really do.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great Billy Joel references, but as an adult I have come to the conclusion that the entire song “Only the Good Die Young” parodies a certain outlook and does not necessarily represent Mr. Joel’s true feelings on the subject.
    Then again I could be wrong. J.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I think it’s fair to say that most folk’s viewpoints change over time. (And really, they should. If your mindset never changes, are you truly growing as a person? None of us have all the answers, nor should we ever expect to have all of them.) Having said that, and I obviously don’t know Mr. Joel personally, I think that, at least when he wrote the song, the parody was centered on the Catholic Church and not on those who had dissatisfaction with such. And as a young gay man who certainly knew all about that dissatisfaction, the lyrics (which Billy penned, himself) certainly resonated…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Billy Joel probably saw humor in both ends of the spectrum—the moral inflexibility of the Roman Catholic Church and the youthful challenges of the counter-culture. To me, his song makes light of both without being intended as an endorsement of either. But, like you, having been youthful when the song first was released, it was easier to catch the challenges to authority than to notice Joel’s mockery of said challenges. J.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know anything about Billy Joel, but Sister Bonita reminds me of one of my high school teachers who’s very vocal and strict and inflexible about moral issues. However unbeknown to her, her own personal history of an exact opposite kind of woman was widespread among the students–Nobody knew how the “rumor” started, and who knew our teacher when she was young. Anyway, every time she was preaching, I could hardly contain my laugh. LOL. Well, Sister Bonita has inspired me to write something about her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I might be getting a bit off topic, but your words hit upon something that has always bothered me about some religions. There seems to be a lot of hypocrisy, with so many folks not practicing what they preach. Sure, we all make mistakes, so we shouldn’t completely disregard the messenger, but if that messenger has done their own stumbling, they shouldn’t be so strict and inflexible when dealing with others….

      Liked by 1 person

        • There are Bonitas everywhere, wearing all kinds of outfits and speaking every language. I think Bonitas are just very unhappy and they haven’t figured out how to change their situation, so they take it out on others..


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