The following people are dead to me.
1. Marcus Kalb
My baptism nightmare kicked off when Marcus Kalb, a devoted member of my congregation, walked up on stage, stepped in front of my son and I, and splashed his own face with water. Like the rest of the events that unfolded that day, this did not go as planned.
2. Wilma Scott
At that point, I thought only one person would have the nerve to cut in front of me, but then old Miss Wilma Scott hobbled up to the stage and pushed right past me and my son, going straight for the bowl. She looked at my son and said, “Oh, what a sweet boy,” and then poured a small jug right over her head.
3, 4, & 5. This family
I saw these people from the stage. The mother and father were holding their infant son and walked right in front of me. They wordlessly dipped Jeremy into the water before my patient son, then proceeded to douse their own heads with the water. Their causal “I swear that ours was this week” did not assuage me in the slightest.
6. The altar boy
Right after the altar boy went and changed the water, he looked at my baby, looked at me, looked at the water, and then dipped his dirty little hands in. As I am no longer standing humiliated in the house of God, I have no problem saying this: The altar boy should go to hell.
7. Father Drew
At this point in my son’s baptism, I was nearly inconsolable. The priest, Father Drew, begged me to forgive the altar boy, saying, “He will repent; he is still young,” which gave me some relief—that is, until he dunked his entire head into the bowl. I was baptized in your church, Father Drew! Why would you do that?
Jeff is the man who appeared when I yelled, “Does anyone else want to cut in front of me?” He came up, doused himself, and spilled all the water on the ground. Jeff will never be forgiven.
Mark did not technically dip himself in the water, but he did cut in front of me and tried to take away my son. While I appreciate his investment in my boy, my brother-in-law should have told me his plan to do this sooner.
10. My wife
I cannot really fault her, because at this point a line had formed, but while my wife was trying to comfort our hungry, tired son, she became so despondent that she also dunked her head into the water. This only made my tired son scream even louder, I assume out of jealousy.
Yes, me. I, too, cut in front of my son. I was just so ecstatic to finally baptize him that I accidentally baptized myself. I splashed my shirt with my son’s water, and I truly regret it. In many ways, I wish I had never tried to baptize him in the first place. But shortly after I yelled that, both of us were excommunicated. I suppose, after everything, I’m just glad my son will likely never remember any of this.