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Falsely Accused

I was watching the Seattle Mariners baseball game last night, and the umpire was getting an earful from the manager. It seemed as though this official had made several questionable calls. McClaren was howling and spitting, and well, it was great baseball. This guy’s blind eye had cost us two runs. Meanwhile, the ump ejected the Mariner’s manager. Unbelievable. I was on my feet, shaking my fist. Just as I had a pillow in hand to toss at the television, the instant replay from the most recent call came across the screen. As I watched, I was forced to grudgingly admit that the umpire had indeed made the correct call. Crumb. What a waste of perfectly good, righteous anger and energy.

Later, I was thinking about what it feels like to be incorrectly accused of something.Anyone who knows me could predict which story will follow, the infamous first communion fart incident.

This story gets told and retold and retold, whenever I have the opportunity to do so, since the injustice of it all still bugs the heck out of me.

My child, aged seven, was at the rehearsal for his first communion. At the time, we were members of an enormous parish, and that year’s class of communicants easily numbered one hundred. This meant that three hundred people were seated in the church with us, since the parents were accompanying their children.

My child, who shall remain nameless, was seated between my husband and myself, in the very first row. Our pastor was standing next to us in the aisle, and was giving instructions to the group, so everyone was quiet and listening intently. At which point, my child, (who shall remain nameless unless he pulls another stunt like this, in which case I will post his name and telephone number, address, and most embarrassing baby picture on my blog for everyone in the world to see) let rip with the biggest, baddest stinker that I have ever heard.

It really was impressive, I have to admit. It echoed loud and clear through that enormous sanctuary. Even Father turned to get a look at the noisemaker. John and I slid lower in our seats, embarrassed beyond belief.

Meanwhile, my child, who didn’t even have the grace to blush after tooting, turned to me, pointed his little finger, and exclaimed, “MOM!” Now everyone in the church turned to look AT ME. What could I do? What could I say? What could I do to my child in retribution which didn’t involve Child Protective Services being called?

I wanted to stand up, turn around, and protest my innocence. But there was not one single thing that I could do. I was forced to crumple myself into the smallest possible ball and squish myself into the corner of the pew. Meanwhile, my traitor husband had his face in his handkerchief to stifle his snorts as he laughed. I have no recollection of how that practice ended. I was mortified into mindless oblivion.

Flash forward twenty years, and I’m back in my living room. I sat back down on the couch, and watched the poor umpire square his shoulders and get ready for the next pitch.

I feel your pain, fella.

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