Mooning the Preacher

I don’t know how mooning started as a thing. Was it a prank, a stunt, or a joke? I can see a comedian bombing onstage and thinking, “Well, I’ve got nothing else left,” before reaching for his zipper. Or did some soldier looked at his enemy and decided, “I cannot beat you, therefore, I will expose my butt to you!”

In case you’re too young or too mature (doubtful since you’ve read this far) for that sort of thing, the dictionary defines it as:

Moon /slang/: (v) to expose one’s buttocks to (someone) in order to insult or amuse them.

It may have disappeared from popular culture for a time but was ushered right back in with that paragon of cinematic genius, Porkies. That movie spoke to me. There were several things my young self took away from it, one of which was a desire to moon someone.

One must wait for the right time and situation to moon properly. Or sometimes, those situations just arrive and you unwittingly share full view of your buttocks with innocent eyes. So it was for me.

The summer of 1984: my friend Andy and I had been asked to paint the interior of the youth building at our local church. It was a good job, even though we weren’t good at it. I recall that we were covering an off-white with a pale brown. Of course, the first thing we did was paint all kinds of bawdy words on the walls, giggle, and then cover them with paint to make them disappear. And we almost got caught. Luckily Andy was able to distract while I played Letter-man and brushed over a consonant or two.

That should show the maturity level of the paint crew. If more evidence is needed, what happened when these paragons of sophistication go to the other building to wash their brushes and find a 35mm camera sitting on a shelf?

Naturally, they moon it. They moon it from every angle!

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Andy didn’t think there was film in the camera so he became the photographer. He was snapping away while I posed like a butt model – if there is such a thing.

“The camera loves you!”

“Yes, to your left a little. A little more. That’s perfect.”

We were hamming it up when we heard two sounds that stopped us cold.

The first was the sound of the door opening.

The second was the unmistakable sound of the camera rewinding a roll of spent film!

Andy quickly put the camera back up on the shelf while I covered my bum and we hurriedly resumed our brush-washing. Luckily, the film finished rolling up before the preacher peeked his head around the corner. We made small talk and scuttled back to the other building as soon as possible.

Grace is a remarkable thing.

We finished painting over the next few days – a little more serious about our work than before. While we expected a hand of justice at any time, it never came. I found out later the church used that camera to take pictures of new members. Can you imagine what happened when they got that roll of film developed? I have a vivid mental picture of that kindly preacher sitting in bed with his wife and the pictures fresh from the Fotomat.

“Oh, honey look – the Clements. What a nice couple.”

“And the Jenkins. They’re a handsome family. This could be their Christmas card. I think I’ll give them the negative.”

“Mr. Adams – he’s such a stoic man but I think he’ll be a good usher…”

And then… my butt… over and over again from many different angles. Still, he never said a word. Grace… or perhaps he is waiting for me to get famous and then he’ll blackmail me over my butt-tape.

Rationally I know the market for that would be nonexistent. I just like to think that he chuckled about the clowns he’d hired and threw the pictures out. But maybe, maybe the preacher was a Porkies fan, too!

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