Small boy aged 7 has developed a strong affinity for hard rock. In an attempt to educate him on the nuances of musical influences we cranked up the volume on Metallica Enter Sandman. “As I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…” “Now,” said I, “This part of the song is actually a prayer.” Little did I know where that would lead.
Small boy aged 7 spent several days playing the song over and over on the iPod. This afforded me some quiet in the car and I wasn’t about to complain. And then… I got the call every parent fears, “This is the headmistress. Could you come and speak to me please?”
Teachers, especially headmistresses, have a way of asking you to do something that leaves you no option but to meekly comply. This is how I found myself facing Mrs. Popplewell and the school priest, Father Ian, across the immense expanse of her table.
“We encourage the boys to suggest prayers for us to include in the services,” said Father Ian. I must have looked a bit confused here, but Mrs. Popplewell jumped into what was becoming less of a dramatic pause and more of an uncomfortable silence. “Your son came in with a prayer yesterday.” I nodded helplessly, my stomach sinking slowly down into the depths of my body seemingly attached to a giant iron anchor more at home from the Titanic.
Apparently, small boy aged 7 requested the prayer “As I lay me down to sleep.” If he had left it there it would have been fine. However, he put on a deep voice a la Metallica and once he had finished the prayer then launched into an a capella version of Enter Sandman complete with head banging and air guitar accompaniment.
Mortified doesn’t do it justice. Neither did the mildly hysterical amusement that bubbled through my system. I readied myself to launch into empty promises of boy bands and nursery rhymes when I realized both Mrs. Popplewell and Father Ian were shaking in laughter themselves.
Things sure have changed. My headmistress was a humour amputee. There’s hope yet. Nonetheless, I think we’ll be listening to Gregorian Chants from now on.