Chapter 3 – Church Patrol Basics

I teach middle school science and I do not have a homeroom so I am one of the teachers who has been positioned to sit in the back pew during school masses.  Why the back pew?  You have to understand that as a teacher in any school year you will never get “free time” when a school function is at hand.  I’m sure that the “scheduler” noticed that the studentless teachers would be attending mass to take part in that mass and that this would not seem fair and correct to the other teachers who have to sit with their students.  So what should we do with the seven teachers who do not have students to watch at mass time?   Give them jobs!  Let’s position them and tell them that they are our eyes and ears during weekly mass to serve and to protect!

We are actually given a seating chart and I notice that I am now a Thursday Back Pew Seater.  OK, I think I can do this.  I am fine with this seating plan until I hear all about my new mass job description.  No, let me clarify that , all of my new job description(s).  I do not just have the job of watching for bathroom goers from the back but I also have to be on the lookout for the madman or madwoman who will come into mass to disrupt the mass and our future lives.

This may sound like I am making more of this than I should but in this day of age when schools are being attacked and we all are shown these horrible pictures, we have been trained that this is going to inevitably happen at St. Rose.  We are shown a video on how to be vigilant about an intruder.  I’ve seen this particular video three times now.  I have watched it with intent the first time but after that initial viewing, I now have devised my own way out if ever I have to face an intruder.  Lets go through my steps of survival.  Most of these steps are what I  have planned for myself, some are told to me to do if this ever happens.  I hope and pray that you can pick out my common sense strategies and the strategies suggested to me by my CIA principal.

I walk to mass ahead of most of the classes.  Remember, I do not have a homeroom so I am free to go to the restroom, to grab a swig of my morning drink, to grab a mint and then to head off to mass.  I almost forgot, I need to grab my student mass songbook and my BFB, the Barf Prevention Bag.  The mass songbook looks good to have though I rarely have time to sing with all of my seat patrolling and bathroom mass strolling. The Barf Prevention Bag consists of gloves, a roll of paper towels, and a bottle of spray disinfectant.  This bag has magical powers.  Before it was put together by my teaching partner I was usually the teacher who was signaled to clean up the puke or the pee pee that may have occurred during mass.  Think this through.  You may ask yourself, “Why doesn’t the teacher who is sitting near that particular kid just walk back, get some towels, clean up the mess and then hand the sick or soiled student over to the seven back seat pew teacher vigilantes?”.  They can’t because either they are young teachers who are not yet parents or they truly have read over their mass teacher duties and this has NOT been included in their mass job description.  I usually take the initiative to clean the mess up in front of the entire congregation.   Yes I do come up for breathes of fresh air.  You see, one of my classroom rules in middle school is:  If you puke, I puke, we all puke together, so run out of my room if you feel sick.  I’m sorry, my own kids I could clean up after, but anyone else and that gag reflex is making a showing.

Now I have told you the Barf Prevention Bag has magical powers.  Once I was given this bag to carry to mass, not one kid puked or peed for the remainder of that school year.  This bag was truly a Christmas miracle given to me by my thoughtful teaching partner Beth.  Beth, you’ve been given a point to heaven for this bag idea.  I have actually forgotten this bag on the way to mass and could not carry on without going back to get it.  I deep down knew that the mass day in which I did not take it would be the puke festival mass of the year.  You ate all welcome, I saved us all form that occurrence.

As I enter the church for mass with my two pieces of equipment I have been also told to sweep the women’s and men’s bathrooms for intruders.  (If your dinger went off that this is not my idea, then you are a winner!) . I am supposed to go into each bathroom to check for the Green Goblin or for Cat Woman.  When told this I nod OK, but do you really think that I am going to walk into the bathrooms like Walker Texas Ranger to clear the church of possible intruders/villains?  Nope!  First of all , wonder if there is a man going pee pee in the open urinal as I make my pass through to clear the church of all harm?  What would I possibly say to that man?   “Oh sorry sir, I’m just a 5’2” woman looking in the church bathroom to save the day.  Lets just say that I accept this job but do not do it.  I’m pretty sure anyway that the bad intruder would hide in the confessional room that is right next to my back view sitting position.  Don’t worry, I have my eyes on that hiding spot for most of my mass time to serve and protect.

During the actual mass the back pew security teacher crew is told to watch for any person who may come in to the church and who may not seem like they are there just to take part in the mass.  As I sit and watch the people come into church I am always thinking about what I would do if an intruder came in to church who I knew was there to cause a commotion or to cause potential harm.  Believe me, I have made sure that I sit at the far section of the back pew so that if someone came into the door to my direct left from the church parking lot that I would make everyone aware in church and then my plan is to marine shimmy down the aisle to safety.  Oh and I have been told that the code words that I am to yell is “Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming!”.  Guess which part of this scenario is not of my choosing.  I watched the video three times and I am pretty sure that yelling with this code is not to my advantage of taking care of an intruder invasion.  My plan is to be spontaneous and to yell whatever comes out of my mouth.  I’m pretty sure that Jesus is coming is not going to be the phrase that will vocally be heard from me.

My actual plan is to take the Barf Prevention Bag, use an arcing swing, hurl it at the intruder hoping that the disinfectant spray will give it enough heft to hit the intruder while I dive down the aisle in my marine shimmy away and hidden from the said intruder.  As I am shimmying down that aisle I am yelling for everyone to get down and to duck into their pews.  I have a plan but I hope that this scenario never takes place for us or for anyone anywhere.

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