Wednesday, April 02, 2008

door to door insanity

Even living in Japan, we still get the weekend visits from the evangelists. Most weeks its the Jehovah Witnesses, but I see a lot of young Mormons around the major train stations with their whiter than white shirts, neckties and mountain bikes. Say what you want about the Mormons, but they have a stellar language program for their missionaries - their guys get off the plane here speaking better Japanese than I do, that much is certain.

Still, hearing that doorbell ring in the middle of a late, leisurely Saturday breakfast would piss me off if it were Jesus himself selling girl scout cookies, so seeing a couple of middle aged Japanese ladies trying to foist off copies of the Watchtower usually harshes my coffee buzz considerably. Lately, they changed tactics and have sent a young British woman to try to sell me salvation on, but I'm still not buying.

I have to wonder if anyone does. I mean, even if you are at the end of your rope, if you are desperate to find religion, to believe, to accept Hay-seus as your own personal savior -- are you really going to jump in to line with someone who comes round trundling tracts at your front door?

True story ( or at least presented to me as true by a trusted friend):Whenever I think of the Jehovah's witnesses going door to door, or I encounter an evangelist of any flavor knocking on doors or handing out tracts on the street corner, I am reminded of the experience of an old high school pal and his brush with immortality.
Todd and his father were avid outdoorsmen who lived in the neighbourhood the other side of the park from mine. He was a few years ahead of me in school and we moved in the same circles in Sault Ste. Marie back in "the day" as it were. One weekend he and his father had been out on an early morning duck hunt and had bagged several birds. As the junior partner in the operation, Todd, then about 17, was stuck with the chore of cleaning the ducks. So he dug in, plucking the feathers, lopping off the heads and feet and gutting the half dozen or so birds.
When a knock came at the front door, he went to answer, hunting knife in hand and spattered with gore from the quarry he was preparing for the table. It was all perfectly normal as far as he was concerned. He peeped through the peep hole in the front door expecting to see the paperboy collecting the weekly subscription fee for the newspaper or one of his younger sibling's friends come to call for them. It was a pair of middle aged ladies with the inevitable copies of The Watchtower.
Being a staunch agnostic and always ready for a good argument, Todd flung open the door and barked "What the hell do you want?" as a prelude to instructing them in their misapprehension that he gave a flying fuck at a rolling donut about their "good news" when his 14 year old sister saw a great big hairy spider in the upstairs bedroom and screamed as only a 14-year-old girl can.

Time, Todd told me later, slowed to the pace of molasses dripping uphill in February.

He stared at the Jehovah Witnesses. The Jehovah Witnesses stared back at him, briefly.

Mindful of his bloodspattered shirt and the big, bloody knife in his hand, Todd simply grimaced and the servants of Jehovah decided that it would be a good idea to give their witness elsewhere, immediately, if not sooner, and decamped in considerable haste.

Hilarity ensued. And ten minutes later when the police cruiser arrived, Todd, his sister, his father and his next-door neighbor who had allowed the panicked Witnesses to use his telephone were still sitting on the front porch roaring and holding their sides. When the constabulary were given the full picture, they were hard pressed not to take part in the merriment.

The Witnesses never darkened Todd's door again.

Obviously , we can't all have that kind of luck or timing, but you can fight back. Offer to trade literature with them. You get a copy of The Watchtower to wrap fish with and they get a copy of say Origin of Species, or some Pastafarian brochures or something like "Kissing Hank's Ass" (if you'd rather wait for the movie, wait no more, just look on the blogroll)

(video from the very funny Australian television series "Jon Safran vs. God" via Bruce at Canuck Attitude)

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