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Confession, when you’re a kid, is pretty routine. Most of the time I made up stuff. I didn’t want to be an ‘in and out’ kid. I knew the longer I was in the confessional box, the sinners waiting outside would think I was leading a life of crime and trespassing all over the place.

And then finally I discovered something juicy to confess in confession. I always went to the same priest, Father O’Malley who was originally from Ireland and spoke a strong brogue. Sadly, he was losing his hearing. When you were waiting for your turn in the ‘box’, you could hear him continually asking the person inside to speak up. “SPEAK UP.”

One of the perks of waiting to confess was if you were next in line, you got to hear most of the other sinner's confessions too. Which is exactly why I decided to spice up my confession. I read through the commandments. Number seven was intriguing. The next Saturday I confessed.

“Dear Father for I have sinned” . . I paused to accentuate the seriousness of my sin” . . . I have committed adultery.

“WHAT?” Asked Father O’Malley.

I thought he wanted me to speak up so I almost shouted, “I HAVE COMMITTED ADULTERY.”

Father O’Malley shoved open the little screen that separates the compartments of the confessional, poked his head through the opening, and stared down at me kneeling on the pew.


I still don’t know what God looks like. But here was this big, bearded head staring down at me from above. A halo of light from his cubicle back-lit his features. Father O’Mallely bellowed again. “HOW OLD ARE YOU?”

“Eight. . . Eight and a half.” I said.

“And you. An eight and half-year-old lad has committed adultery?”

Now I was insulted. I didn’t know what adultery meant. But I was certain I was capable of committing the sin. I stared up at Father O’Malley’s face. “So?”

“GET OUT OF MY CONFESSIONAL,” Father O’Malley shouted in an unkindly manner. “And do twenty-five Rosaries.”

I bolted out of the box. The sinners waiting in line to confess gave me a look. I knew what they were thinking. ‘Twenty-five Rosaries???’ What did that kid DO? With an air of pride, I strutted down the aisle past my fellow confessors.

At home, I looked up adultery in the dictionary. I should have looked it up before I confessed to it. I’d try something better next time. Maybe coveting.


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