Ever since the children were born, many have noted the remarkably effective methods I've employed to raise such devoted Hab fans in this bastion of hockey mediocrity, known as Leaf Nation. (As an aside, why one would even want to be a citizen of any country of such chronic underachievement is a mystery to me. I figure it's got something to do with the lack of proper bagels.)
Anyway, I've always conceded my brainwashing and indoctrination methods were not solely of my own creation and freely admitted that I'd borrowed liberally from an organization known as the KGB. From the time the kids were in utero, I've not missed an opportunity to drive home the combined message of divergence between the Habs' glorious history and the sorry tale of woe which forms the legacy of the Blue & White. I make no apologies for this. In fact, I believe it is my duty as a father to teach my children.
And I have done well. My children know what is right. In fact, they are active participants in spreading the word. The other day, Adam announced he'd come up with a word game at school: "Daddy, what rhymes with garbage?"
OK, so maybe not an A for English but definitely worthy of a trip to Mastermind for some Star Wars Lego.
In any case, I have been watching with a certain bemused detachment as my daughter has been enrolled in another "program" over the past few months; one for which the very notion of thought control was virtually devised. This May, Emily will be taking her First Communion at Blessed Sacrament.
So there it is: The Catholic Church.
The Granddaddy of them all.
This has been a fascinating opportunity for comparison of our respective methods and I must say, I am impressed. Then again, after 2,000 years one would expect they'd have their act together but still, the attention to detail is nothing short of remarkable. (and any cult-leader will tell you attention to detail is EVERYTHING. One lousy freebie Molson Maple Leaf flag hanging in the back of a closet can ruin years of progress. There can be no room for compromise.)
Yesterday was Reconciliation, or First Confession, as it was known when I was an altar boy. (Oh yes, I learned my lessons well from within the very belly of the organization)
SIDENOTE: During Reconciliation yesterday, as some parents were inexplicably taking video, the priest, Father Larry announced that if parents wanted their children to pose for a photo with him after the ceremony, they could do so. He went on to explain there would be a cost of 25 cents for those among them who are not Habs fans and no cost for Habs fans. Nice touch. Good going, Father Larry, I'm a big fan of your work too.
Today, Sister Mary explained the proper method for receiving communion: "You place you two hands together to form a cup to hold the host and place it in your mouth with your fingers. You chew the wafer and then swallow it."
It is not possible to describe the look on Emily's face when she turned around in utter astonishment that someone felt it was necessary to explain how humans consume bread that had been placed in their mouth. "They must think we're morons."
No, my beautiful girl. They just have their ways. And, just as it is a crime to put anything but mustard and relish on a Forum hot dog, we must be respectful of their traditions. They go back a long way. So, you will place the wafer in your mouth, chew it and swallow it.
And we will move on with our lives.