Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Visit I've Been Waiting For

Not five minutes ago, I saw an older Asian man and a tall, younger African guy approaching our door.

"Jehovah's Witnesses," my wife said almost dissmissively, as if she'd seen this movie before. And to be fair, she has. Like, a million times.

Nevertheless, if two men approach my door, I like to be there to open it.

"Hi, I'm David" the Asian guy offers his hand. "And this is [Joe]." In actuality his name was something more African but I can't remember it.

David explained he was here to do a survey and asked if I had time for it, which, I said I did just HOPING this had something to do with Jesus.

"Ok, do you and your family currently belong to a church?" (YAHTZEE!)

"No, we don't."

"Do you believe that world would be a better place if we all followed the word of the Bible?"

"No, not really." Now, to be honest I DO think the world would be better if everyone followed the golden rule. But that's like one paragraph in a sea of fairy tales and troublesome passages -- killing menstruating women and what not. I would feel socially irresponsible if I thought the world would pick that one nugget out the shit pile AND get it right. Besides Christianity has been around for thousands of years and followed by damn near a third of the planet and, for my money, haven't proved to be such a great deal.

I really got to give it to David and Joe, they didn't visibly flinch though I bet almost everyone who answered that particular question says something in the neighborhood of "yes." Even for the heathen, you cannot escape the thrill of blasphemy when saying something so contradictory to the American faith narrative. I almost didn't say it, but I hate lying more than appeasement.

The big question: "What religion were you raised with, as a child?"

"None," I said (my chest almost perciptablly puffed out with heathen pride). That's right Dave, you're not dealing with some run-of-the-mill "spiritual/non-religious" Johhny Six Pack. This is the real McCoy.

This time David, did do a slight double-take, followed by a refrain.

"So, no religion?"


"Well, is there anything else I can do for you? Pray with you or pray for you?"

An odd question, no? I mean, if someone told me they were a vegetarian I'd either have to be hard of hearing or convinced otherwise to then ask them if they wanted to share a cheese steak.

"Nah, I'm good." I said, rather pleased with myself.

A couple handshakes and the two were back on their way, off to knock on more doors. Me? I felt satisfied that two of God's errand boys were witness to the civility and NORMALITY of the neighborhood heathen.

And that was it . . . or was it?!?!

I shit you not, 30 minutes later (yes, it's taken me that long to write this entry), there's a tentative knock on the front door. I rush downstairs, hoping to see the snow-delayed mailman with our Netflix movies for the long weekend.

No, it was Joe.

"Hi, we finished our survey and we determined that you were the winner of the free bible." And dude hands me a black, New King James bible.

I said "Thanks," as he skipped off with lollipop dreams of me sitting down in the kitchen and being instantly converted in his head.

What I SHOULD have said, was "Oh, no thanks, I've already got a copy." Which is true. I have a New International version in the guest room. I even marked the funny parts in yellow highlighter. Alas my tongue was so quick.

So now what? Am I really the biggest heathen in this neighborhood? I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm flattered, just shocked. Do I get to wear a scarlet H on my shirt. Ooh, what if there's a tshirt: "Two out of Two Jehovah's Witnesses Agree That I'm Going to Hell."


PROLOGUE: I actually opened the bible and saw the dedication page. Apparently, the bible was gifted to a guy named Michael from his mom and dad.  "He gave you his own bible," my wife said with the tears almost falling off her tongue. Admittedly, the sentiment took all the cynical wind out of my sails. If "Joe" was really Michael than I would feel really bad. Good thing he wasn't. I flipped to the back of the Bible and saw another name handwritten there -- "Akeem." THAT was Joe's name. I knew it was something more African sounding. I guess Michael donated his bible to Akeem to pass out to random heathens. Who knows? Point is Akeem is the one who gave it to me and, what's more, HE LEFT HIS PHONE NUMBER! I just got booked evangelical style. Thing is, I WILL call him. I've had plenty of true believers reach out, but this time I'm going to take up the gauntlet. I'm going to call Akeem. Like, in a couple days. Not immediately, I don't want him to think I'm some sort of spiritual slut.

I'll keep you posted