Ash Wednesday: I was reminded that today was Ash Wednesday and pulled this from my archives. It is a repeat, but it fits the day.
This incident occurred while I still worked in the emergency room. This was during the years before the days of the computer. When a doctor ordered an x-ray, the nurses would have to write the patient’s name, birthday, cubicle number, what part of the body was to be x-rayed and why it needed an x-ray on a small piece of paper. That requisition would then have to be hand carried to the radiology room and given to the techs inside.
I carried a request to the radiology room and handed it to the technicians. As I turned to leave, one of the techs said, “If you see the priest, tell him to stop in and give us ashes on our foreheads. We want him to bless the x-ray machine too.” It just happened to be Ash Wednesday.
Just as I reached the door, my odd sense of creativity and humor melded and I said, “You know, when the priest comes in, you guys can set up a confessional in the dark room. He can open the doors for exposed sins and the unexposed to give you your penance. In the radiology room, there were bins with doors marked as to whether the films were exposed or unexposed. My mind made the comparison to the Catholic confessional chamber with confessed and un-confessed sins.
I heard them laugh as I exited. Later in the day, I was carrying another chit for an x-ray to the techs. When I opened the door, the priest was already inside. The techs had ashes on their foreheads and one of the girls pointed at me and said, “There! That’s the one.” Apparently they had told the priest what I had said about the darkroom.
“Were you an altar boy?” the priest asked.
“No!” I responded.
He tried again, “Are you Catholic?”
“No.” was my answer.
He tried one last time, “Do you want to be Catholic?”
My reply of “No!” was almost lost in the peals of the technicians’ laughter.