At a reader's request, here's a riff on Nathan's Now and Then post:
- As an assistant papal master of ceremony, I used a lot of Italian hairspray. My coif was waterproof.
- I played tennis everyday and taught English to embassy brats.
- I gave haircuts to my theology classmates who shared their course notes with me. I rarely attended class. I don't think I missed much, having passed all the exams.
- A wealthy Roman lad picked me up in front of the Stazione Termini, and then conveniently left the city for his mandatory year of military service.
- Twin Swiss Guards attended my ordination....
- When I had this cassock made, the papal tailors at Gammarelli's exclaimed that it had been decades since anyone requested a collar that high. I replied that it had been decades since anyone on staff had only one chin.
- On Sundays, my apostolic work was to preach in Italian to the patients at Carlo Forlanini Hospital. My sermons were salubrious in their brevity.
- Once, in St. Peter's while waiting for the pope to descend in his secret oval glass elevator, a young German Benedictine friend and I, having stoked the incense, had a smoke behind the curtains while leaning against the back of the Pieta and lifting our robes to practice a tap routine we had seen in A Chorus Line. I remember thinking that no one in the world was having as much fun as me.
- One summer day, at the North American bishops' villa in Castel Gondolfo, my classmate from San Francisco and I released a herd of hungry pigs who attacked a group of picnicking American cardinals and bishops, forcing them to jump into the swimming pool.
- As a deacon in London, I was secretary for the perpetually traveling and very tall Laurean Rugambwa, the Cardinal of Tanzania, whose bedroom was conveniently next to mine. Concurrently, I conducted a liaison dangereuse with an Anglican priest named Thaddeus and was first published, having written about Anglican/Catholic ecumenism.
I guess a lot has changed. Nowadays...