My dad was pro-life for a period. He didn't talk about it.
Once, he came to Toronto with a group of catholic men — business-clad, plastic pen holders in white shirt pockets — to proselytize at Yonge and Dundas. Holding placards with graphic images. Sweaty palms pressing pamphlets into teenage hands.
Juicy-ripe girls and boys.
What I felt at the time. Still do.
I hitched a ride. A day in the city.
1978 or 79. Fifteen or sixteen years old.
I hated the church. And my father.
Telling me not to do stuff.
Which I did immediately.
Gold standard guarantee of fun.
A priest who got sick of watching me sit in the back row of youth group meetings told my dad to cut me free at thirteen.
The man of the cloth could see I didn’t think much of his culture.
Who can get past it?
The patriarchy. The absence of women. The omnipresent disapproving old white guy. Sex for procreation. The virgin birth. The sanctity of unborn life. The coat hanger deaths in back alleys. The denial of sexual identity. The corporal punishment, sexual abuse, and deaths of children. The commitment to the doctrine of discovery.
Every fucking year a new horror.
Cancer. On a global scale.
I went off to SAM’s. Might have bought this AC/DC album.
Got lost in the Eaton Centre. Ate at Mr. Greenjeans.
Then the sinner and saviour drove rural highways — corn lined up like alter boys at midnight mass — back to small-town Ontario.
Shortly after, my dad left the church. He didn't talk about that either.
The catholics have got that down.
Eternally grateful to my mother for putting me on birth control early.
"Because I wanted you to be free," she told me recently.
Wiser than her husband.
My parents knew I was changing in ways beyond them the first time I put this album on.
No stop signs
Nobody's gonna slow me down