Strange Memories of North Catholic



North Catholic taught me all the lessons I needed for adulthood, like how to find the best place to sneak a cigarette, how to conceal the smell of alcohol when I’ve been drinking in the morning, and how to bullshit authority figures.

So yes, I’m glad I went to North Catholic. Had I gone anywhere else, like Kensington High School or Roman Catholic, right now I would probably be a transsexual or possibly a member of the Latin Kings.

And though I graduated over ten years ago, there are still a few things about North that make me scratch my head.

What the hell was that thing under Mr. Costantino’s eye? – Sure, plenty of people would want you to think that grey-black thing under Costantino’s eye was just a mole. I’ve heard other theories. One surmises that the “mole” was actually a Cookie Crisp that had attached itself to his face. Another, more realistic theory says the “mole” was really a doorway to another dimension where Costantino was a demi-god who did little else than frown at you when you didn’t understand his grumbly explanation of the Pythagorean Theorem.

Was Mr. Fitz drunk or insane? – You would walk past his classroom and hear him screaming “Kookamanga!” at no one in particular. He once caught a guy cheating and bitched him out, only to go up to the cheater after class, apologize and then shake his hand.

I know Big Ernie never hid in a tree to spy on smokers… — But I have a feeling the story of Ernie following a kid onto the El to drag him back to JUG was probably true. Also, as a side note, on graduation day me and a bunch of other smartasses promised that we would light up right in front of Ernie once graduation was over. None of us did. (Mostly due to respect, but also because none of us were quite sure if Ernie was actually the Terminator.)

Mr. Martin is still the most terrifying person I’ve ever met. – Who better to teach theology class than Satan himself? With his slicked back hair and black mustache, plus eyes that were like windows into some dark nether region, Mr. Martin apparently survived mostly by eating souls and chain smoking cheap cigarettes. He once caught me smoking in the stairwell. Without saying a word, he pulled the cigarette out of my fingers and crushed it. He then slid his hand into my pocket and took the rest of my pack. “I’m all out,” he said, and walked away. It still gives me nightmares.

And because I felt like I lived in that goddamn auditorium for an hour a day after 8th period, here’s the badass NC JUG T-shirt I got in Celtic Shirts at Belgrade and Clearfield. Hell yeah. (Obviously, it wasn’t wrinkled when I bought it. I got drunk last night and slept in it.)