I laugh in church. Loudly.

Week One.  LJ Idol.  Buckle your seatbelts.

Jayus–From Indonesian, a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.

Back in the dark annals of history, I was the Baptist minister’s daughter.  I went to youth group.  I was on the youth group puppeteering squad (until I quit), Teen Choir (until I quit), and Praise Band (yeah, quit that too).  I was also that kid who, literally, laughed and whispered in the face of danger; that is, my mother sitting in the choir loft.

But I laughed a lot.

Look, I’m perpetually twelve.  If you leave the door open just a crack for sexual innuendo or fart jokes, I come crashing in like the Kool-Aid man.  I giggle every time I change The Toddler’s diaper and he looks around, waving The Hubs off, “Watch out!  Poop!”  I almost choked on an Altoid when I was fifteen and said to my mother, who was wearing a Winnie the Pooh shirt, “I thought there was a stain on your shirt, but it turned out just to be Pooh.”

I have a professional job in a professional setting, kids.  Scary.

In the middle of church, one fateful Sunday, my father was discussing prayer requests.  He was talking about my friend Greg’s mom, who had cancer.  He thanked church goers for praying for her and sending food over for the family.

My other friend, Candy, leaned over and what my ears heard was, “My mom pooped for her.”

I died.  Literally, right there, I laughed so hard that I almost had to excuse myself to leave the sanctuary and take a pee.  I said, “Your mom what??

She looked at me like I had fourteen heads.  “She cooked for her.  What did you think I said?”

“That your mom pooped for her!”

Yeah, got in trouble for that one.  “Heather.  I could see you from the choir loft.  You were laughing.  In church.  Didn’t you see me looking at you?”

Yes.  Yes I did.

Ultimately, the biggest Sunday morning church service laugh riot happened with the same two cohorts, Candy and Greg, who (as a side note) I’m friends with to this day.  We’re much older now, but once upon a time, we were approximately sixteen or seventeen years old.  Sitting in church.  Misbehaving.  (“Heather.  Can you not see me from the choir loft?”)

My dad was talking about getting into heaven, as is often the case in church.  He was discussing the church pews and the small, gold plaques that are on the ends.  These said plaques dedicate the pews to church goers who…I always assumed sat in those pews, but I guess it was just attended the church.  Anyway, he said, “Your name doesn’t have to be on a pew to get into heaven.”

Greg leaned over.  “Who would name their kid that?”

I looked at him.  “What?”

“Onapew.  Who would name their kid that?”

I cannot adequately describe the mixture of horror and pain that overcame me–pain from the uproarious howl of laughter that I was suppressing in my lungs.  “No no no no, not Onapew.  On.  A.  Pew.  Your name doesn’t have to be On A Pew in order to get into heaven.”

He looked at me, slowly shaking his head.  “I know.  But I still don’t understand who would name their kid that.”

I died.

Over lunch, my dad asked me exactly what we’d been laughing about.  I explained and, he too, howled.  So, it was only fitting that when I had to determine my screen name on AOL Instant messenger, I chose the name Onapew.  Because, despite the fact that no one should name their kid that, I’ll make it my internet pseudonym and meet my husband under that moniker.

And, yes, I still giggle in church.  And, “I thought there was a stain on your shirt….” still makes me laugh inappropriately hard.



    1. Hey, thanks!! It makes me sad that my children will grow up never understanding the awesome-ness that was AOL IM. They’ll make fun of me, one day, knowing that I’m from an era before the Internet and cell phones. *gasp*

  1. So funny! Do your parents appreciate your sense of humor?

    My dad, who was also a minister, had to stop his sermon once or twice to get after my two brothers who were hamming it up in the front row. I was always too busy daydreaming or doodling to cause much mayhem in church.

    1. I get my humor from my dad. I think my mom has grown to appreciate the ongoing hilarity–but when I was younger, they probably thought I was just weird (totally accurate description).

      My dad never had to stop the sermon for my shenanigans, but one time he gave the parental finger snap during a prayer because I was whispering in the front row. The thing that got me most in “trouble” was climbing up into the bell tower and sitting on the church roof. There’s still a lock on the door because of me and my friends!

  2. This was so funny! I have laughed in church and did even worse, kissed a boy. I hope I can be forgiven for that one. 😉

  3. “If you leave the door open just a crack for sexual innuendo or fart jokes, I come crashing in like the Kool-Aid man.”

    Best reference to Kool-Aid to date!

  4. Sounds like you come by your sense of humor through the blood. I remember cracking up a friend with what I thought was a serious questions. We were fairly young and I heard the minister say, “Our Father who aren’t in heaven…” I just asked in all sincerity, “Well where the heck is he then?” It was too much for my friend who was obviously a better student of the Bible.

  5. Another preacher’s kid here. *raises hand* But my brothers and I discovered pretty quickly that my dad rarely looked directly at anyone while he preached. It looked like he was, but he was actually looking over everyone’s heads. He said he didn’t want anyone to think he was singling them out for whatever sin he was preaching about that Sunday. Since my mom wasn’t in the choir, we got up to all kinds of things. I’m sure the congregation all assumed we’d be in a maximum security prison by now. I remember a time when I was about fourteen where I suppressed laughter so hard that I thought I was going to pass out. I was sitting with my friends Britt and Beverly, and Britt suggested that we go through the hymnal and add (in our heads, not in pen) the words “under the covers” to the song titles. Again, we were fourteen, so we found that hilarious, so much so that Beverly had to get up and go to the ladies room. I’m SO glad my dad wasn’t looking!

  6. Ah, this Catholic school girl can definitely appreciate the inappropriateness of laughing in church. Pleased to meet you, Ms. Onapew, I’m delighted to make your acquaintance.

  7. The ‘If you leave the door open just a crack for sexual innuendo or fart jokes, I come crashing in like the Kool-Aid man’ line just cracked me up. Nicely told!

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