This is my latest story entitled "I See Dead People." Eventually I'll have a book I tell ya!
Going to a private Catholic grade school around 4th grade I was taught how to be an alter boy. Soon I was introduced to the hidden world of being an alter boy. No, I never was molested, not that kind of world. This was a world of commerce, competition and rank. As a new server, I was at the bottom of the totem pole. I was only chose to do the weekly school Masses and played only minor roles in the duties. Even on the bottom I received some of the benefits of being an alter boy. For instance, getting out of class early to prepare for Mass.
Soon I was serving at Sunday Mass in front of the everyone. As I moved up the ranks I found out more about the system. One tip is that even if you screw up, stay calm. Rarely anyone notices, especially at the 8am Sunday Mass. Also, the priest will always forgive you. Thats kind of their job. I found this out while preparing and dressing for Mass on a Wednesday morning. In the back vestibule decided it would be a good time to show some of the alter boys a science experiment. I took one of the wicks to light the alter candles and a can of WD40 and proceeded to use the two to create a flame thrower. Of course I got caught, I figure God told on me. Oh and try some of the communion wafers, they're delicious. As long as they are not consecrated yet you are theologically in the clear. The main thing is to be reliable, show up and you'll move up.
One of big benefits of bring a top end alter boy was that you could be recruited to serve at a funeral. That means if the funeral was during the week you would get out of an hour of class. But thats not all, you would get paid. Upon finding this out I thought to myself "Wow, not only do I earn my spot in heaven, I get paid to do it!" Only the most reliable and experienced alter boys were drafted. After about two years of being in the lower ranks of alter boys I started breaking on to the scene. Soon I was starting to play the lower roles in funerals.
Around 7th grade was a part of the top echelon of alter boys in the parish. On a good week I was doing two funeral gigs a week, taking only the most active roles during the ceremony. As a result I could make $10-15 per funeral. Sometimes more if both the family and funeral home would pay you.
Alas, by the start of high school my career as an alter boy was finished. I was put out to pasture, replaced by new up and comers. Other than the occasional fill-in, I didn't serve another Mass.