I give you two unassuming adolescents whose antics might otherwise fall under the sphere of nothingness but for the fact that I am now mentioning it.

Steve and I were in seventh grade. These days we are in the 58th grade, the second semester.

We started a band of sorts at All Saints School in Northeast Portland and called ourselves The Me’'s. We performed a prevalent yet unexposed genre of music — mouth jamming with imaginary instruments.

I was in Sister Mary Elizabeth’s class and Steve was in Sister Mary Alberta’s class. As in many parochial schools, the sisters applied the old French system in which students stayed in the same classroom with the same teacher all day.

During lunch, Steve and I would plot. The plan was to go to each room’s pencil sharpener during afternoon study hall, covertly peer out the window at each other, exchange the thumbs up, and get permission to take a lavatory break. The two of us would meet in the restroom and jam in our make-believe band.

I would pluck a pretend standup bass and make the required sound effects with my mouth. Steve pretended he was sitting at a Ludwig drum set, mimicking snares and cymbals. Our trademark piece was an instrumental jazz version of “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” made famous by Fats Domino.

Sometimes, during recess, Steve and I would take time out from softball and head for the loo to pound out a couple of melodies.

Like so many adolescents, we thought no one else in their right mind was doing what we were doing. It wasn’t until I was in college that I heard about “mouth jamming” which was in the same universe as air guitar. I learned that many other youths also had been mouth jamming, which seemed a release to get the beat out of our systems.

A third classmate auditioned for Tthe Me’s, offering his interpretation of a screaming lead guitar. He didn’t fit our groove, but we didn’t have the heart to tell him. At least he had the right spirit and was a good sport. But he lasted only a few sessions.

Sister Mary Alberta was the first to catch a live performance of The Me’s in their original bathroom element. Wondering why we were away so long, she peeked inside and saw Steve and me jamming. To her credit, what she mustered was, “Finish up the song and get back to class.”

Sister Mary Alberta tried to get us to perform over the microphone at the last eighth grade dance that year. We refused. Some things were not meant for public consumption, at least not in front of a crowd of junior high kids.

At home, my dad encouraged us to jam, snapping his fingers and saying things like, “Come on, man, play me some music!” My mom found it annoying. She told us that if we kept it up, we would both get tongue cancer.

I still mouth jam when in the shower or alone in the car. No tumors yet.

Van der Hout attends Mass at St. Pius X Church and Mount Angel Abbey.