Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Kotex Head

Note: This is my mom's best friend's story.It has appeared in a few different tellings at exmormon.org, and has been reprinted a Salamander Society and possibly other sites as well. This telling is an almost verbatim version of the one that was told at Recovery from Mormonism (exmormon.org) and Salamander Society. My mom's best friend gave me permission to share it here, and has no problem with anyone else sharing it. Enjoy!

Imagine this firmly planted atop a guy's head.

It was High Council Sunday, which, in and of itself was bad enough, but to walk in and see Brother X, the reigning a$$hole of the entire stake if not the entire region, was to know that the meeting would likely ruin the entire day for everyone present. This man was so bad that people who were in the know regarding such things as high council visitation schedules would visit relatives out of town or find reasons to attend other wards when he was scheduled to speak.

The problem there was that such things were often subject to change with very little notice, so one get there, see him, and  be stuck. Besides, my dad was either the bishop or in the pric for a large part of my childhood, so we couldn't be skipping off every time Brother X appeared. Theoretically twelve H. C.'s should equal one official visit per year from the guy plus maybe a ward conference, but he always seemed to end up with us more often. It was just the luck of the draw, I guess, and we always seemed to get lucky.

The man was a composite of the most obnoxious qualities of Thomas S Monson, Boyd K Packer, and Richard G Scott, or whatever his middle initial is. Brother X thought so highly of himself that he couldn't quite fathom why he hadn't been translated into a celestial being, or at the very least, sucked up into the great body of G.A.'s.

He once made an allusion to his calling and election having been made sure (is that called the second annointment?) though not in so many words. I didn't know they did that with regular people. I always thought you had to at least be in a temple presidency or something to achieve that status.

But I digress.

Anyway, it was h. c. Sunday, and I walked in to see him on the stand with what was then his entire family. My friend and I think there were six children at that point. The kids ranged from just a few months to almost two to almost three, to twin four-year-olds and a five -year-old, or pretty close to that.

The mother spoke first while the dad struggled with all the kids. In a normal situation, someone else might have helped the guy out while his wife spoke, but he was such a consummate a$$hole that even the righteous among us probably enjoyed seeing him squirm. Then the mother finished her talk, which absolutely no one heard enough to make any sense of because of the ruckus going on behind her, and she took the twin four-year-olds and the five-year-old to stand near the piano to sing for us while she accompanied them.

I think they sang "I Am a Child of God" and that one about "I love brother, he loves me, etc., etc,. we are a happy family." It was actually pretty funny because they were practically killing each other the whole time their mother spoke, and they were still taking any shots they could get at each other all the way  through the song about family love.  Kid #2 had a scratch on his face at the end of the song that hadn't been there when they started.While they were singing, Brother X was dealing with the newborn, the less-than-two-year-old, and the almost three-year-old, who I would say with certainty was the literal spawn of Satan and not the child of Brother X except for the fact that he looked almost more like Bother X than Brother X himself looked if such a thing were even possible.

At one point when Brother X was trying to stifle the next-to-youngest's screams, the figurative spawn of Satan reached into the diaper bag and pulled out a Kotex. He peeled off the strip covering the sticky part, then stuck it to his father's head. Brother X must have thought that his little angel was just patting him on the head, or else he was too preoccupied to notice.

So Brother X unknowingly had a Kotex stuck firmly to the top of his head, almost like a Mohawk haircut. The wife and older kids finished their World Wrestling Federation version of their unmusical number, and she rushed over to grab the baby with one hand and very deftly grab both of the younger brats plus the diaper bag with her other hand. She dragged them all off to a cry room or somewhere like that. Because she was flustered, or for whatever reason, she didn't even look at Brother X.

So Brother X got up and began his talk with a typically lame joke I can't begin to recall, but everybody laughed like he was John Stewart or Stephen Colbert. He was quite proud of the response, and improvised with a few more jokes. I don't think he noticed that no one was waiting for the punchlines of his jokes before they started laughing.

By this point, the older three kids were running around the chapel creating all sorts of bedlam, which was the least of anyone's concern until one of them started banging on the piano; the ward clerk grabbed that kid and refused to let go. The kid cried for a few minutes, but eventually settled down. I suspect the attendance count was off that week.

A couple of other Good Samaritans grabbed the other two remaining brats and settled them similarly, which left us all free to focus on Brother X and his innovative headgear.

Then Brother X got to the point of his talk, which I didn't get then and certainly don't know now. At first people tried to stifle their laughter, but it became a lost cause. The bishop was trying to give stern looks from his vantage point on the dais, but even he was starting lose composure.  It would be roughly two seconds of a stern expression, followed by looking sideways off in the distance,  then by covering his mouth, and ultimately feigning a cough, a cycle which repeated itself  every thirty seconds or so. The ward organist tried to pass a cough drop to the bishop, but he waved it away.

Brother X finally concluded his remarks (he was known for his long-windedness, but this time we didn't really care because he had already cut into five minutes of Sunday School time, and what we had just witnessed was funnier than anything we could have seen on TV at the same time, even if we'd had cable, which hadn't yet reached our neck of the woods.

So Brother X sat down, not quite sure what was so funny in the serious part of his remarks, but convinced that he was the white Eddie Murphy, and was probably seriously contemplating giving up his day job as an insurance salesman. As the introduction to the closing song began, the wife returned with the three youngest offspring more or less under control. The ward clerk and remaining Good Samaritans handed their prisoners over to the parents.

Then Sister X took one look at her eternal companion and turned ghostly white. While holding the baby, she tried to reach across a few kids to carefully dislodge the Kotex from his head. It turned out that there was a reason she was trying to be careful in removing it. One of the twins decided to help out by yanking the Kotex off; it came off all right, along with Brother X's toupee. So the kid handed Brother X his toupee with a Kotex stuck firmly to the center. (If I'd known then what I now know, I might have suggested that it should be the new style of temple headwear.)

The look on Brother X's face more than made up for all my years of tedium in sitting through church meetings.

Word travels fast (and this was before the Internet), and from that moment on, Brother X was known throughout the stake as "Kotex Head." He has to be getting up there in years by now, and the kids who are now calling him that behind his back weren't even alive when the incident occurred, but the name sticks just like the Kotex did.

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