Performing at the Christmas program can be dangerous to your testicles if you’re standing in the top row.
Ever use an instrument called a recorder? It’s a less complicated version of the flute. “South Park” made an episode about it. I was supposed to learn how to play a recorder in seventh grade for our Christmas program.
I’m no musician. All it took was placing your fingers on some holes, blowing into the instrument and muffled sound blurted out. The class had to sing “Silent Night.” During one of the verses we would play the recorder rather than sing.
No matter how much we practiced, the recorder part always sounded like crap. Some seventh graders got smart — they just didn’t play. Others genuinely tried, which is where the majority of the sound emitted. The crowd would be treated to about half — 35 kids — actually playing.
Our school was kindergarten through eighth grade so the little ones’ performance always drew the biggest praise. Sure, they sucked, but they were cute, tiny humans singing. Most of them sang. Then again, the upper grades’ didn’t give a fuck so not all of them sang either. Third through fifth grade were usually the best combination of coordination and giving a fuck.
Lining up was the same in every class. Shortest kids in front, tallest in the back. We gathered in the middle of the altar steps (it was Catholic school) at the church. Attendance always overflowed, people stood on the walls.
Every year, I stood in the very back row, right in the middle. Another kid stood about as tall as me so it was easy to spot us, especially as middle schoolers who were more than 6 feet in height.
But that also made us easy targets. Students in the lower rows had free reign to hit us, specifically in the man region.
The night of the performance, I felt uneasy. Using these recorders was a shitty idea. I definitely didn’t know how to play it. Faking it became the top priority.
Little did I know that defending my sack would become priority No. 1. The family jewels came under assault in a variety of ways.
First, people tried to poke me with their recorders. This happened as soon as we lined up on the altar. The testicular assault didn’t faze me because I could play it off like I was still lining myself up. Most of my classmates’ attempts to hit me were just grazes that could be avoided with a simple turn or step backward.
Once the singing started, my defenses were down. Smaller kids elbowed me with ease. I couldn’t play this off. All boys in the top row were targets. Pointy elbows knocked my quadriceps and plunged me downstairs.
None of the girls participated in this tomfoolery. Only my goofy male friends and classmates (some classmates were acquaintances, but free shots to the balls are free shots to the balls) took part in hooliganism.
Absorbing the contact made me squirm. I had to take a slight step back to avoid the blows. It couldn’t be too blatant, otherwise the teachers would know something was up.
In addition to faking the recorder usage, me and other unlucky boys had to fake like all was OK on that altar. All I can say is Merry Christmas and wear a cup.