Sunday, September 25, 2016

Whoring for Jesus

By the time I mustered out of the Marine Corps I had learned some very good life lessons - 'Never volunteer for ANYTHING!' is one good one, especially for any military person. That  is a worn out old cliche I know, but there are usually very good and solid back story reasons for any cliche. Another lesson I came away with was a strong intolerance for baloney of any kind. I don't easily tolerate verbal crap in other words.
Why should I spend my time listening to someone else's take on something when I am totally not interested? Sure, there are some times when I will hear someone out for the sake of being courteous. But, there are some inconsiderate people will who take advantage of your politeness for their own reasons. They will count on your politeness to shove their message, whatever it may be, down your throat. Door-to-door sales people are one good example. Over time they have given themselves such a bad rap that most communities have now officially barred the practice, or limited it severely. Ordinances have been passed outlawing 'solicitation', and very deservedly so in my opinion. I don't remember the last time one has come knocking on my door recently.
One time, way back when I was first married and before our town had laws against solicitation,  a couple guys came to my door saying they were doing a 'survey' and needed to talk to me and my wife together. They looked suspiciously like sales people, so I asked if they were selling something.
"Oh no." one or them proclaimed ever so innocently. "We are just doing a survey in your neighborhood and need to talk to you and your wife for just a few minutes. We won't take up more than five minutes of your time."
Based on that I let them in my house but still kept up my guard. My understandable assumption was they were municipal workers doing a community survey. The two guys, both young,  sat down in the chairs I offered, The very first thing one of them did was to loosen the straps on a satchel type binder affair he was lugging around. He let the contents cascade like an accordion out across my living room floor. It was magazine covers in plastic sleeves for Christ's sakes!
"I thought you said you weren't selling anything!" I demanded angrily.
"Oh no, we're not selling anything." said the guy lied smiling all the while. "This is just part of our survey."
The guy must have believed that since he was already inside my house I probably out of politeness would not throw him out of my house. Unfortunately for him, he was 100% wrong. I said to him then, "You two have ten seconds to get your carcasses the hell out of my house before I throw you both out ass over tea kettle!"
They left of course, the junior man already in the doorway before I had finished my little speech. The other one was right behind him as quick as he could gather up his pitch materials. Over the years my practice has been simply just to shut  down strangers who came to the door uninvited. I lost my politeness impulse and don't feel any need at all to pretend to be polite if you are bothering me on my turf. If you come knocking on my door and it's not for some damned good and legitimate reason, I'm gonna send you packing. And, depending on how I feel at the moment, I might throw in a few earthy comments about your mother too while I'm at it. 
Although door-to-door sales people may nowadays be almost a thing of the past, there remains another breed of door-knocker who are all too pervasive and obnoxious. I refer of course to the 'evangelicals', who have arranged to omit themselves from most local ordinances. These folks still have their loopholes for their continuing apparently legal botherment of citizens. To my knowledge, there are no ordinances against their invasive activities, at least in my town. They must enjoy a certain level of success, or they would not continue their efforts. There must be a certain segment of the population too, who do respond to their evangelizing. But do they really actually expect most people to embrace their doctrines through their door bell ringing? Do they actually believe after irritating me or my wife we would be favorably inclined to join their group or contribute money?
These 'Godly' people come in different flavors. Sometimes it it the 'LDS' young men on their assigned 'missions'. Sometimes it's the Jehovahs witnesses, and other times in the Holiness Churchers, the Salvation Army 'War Cry' bunch, or the Church of God group. They all have the same thing in common, i.e., they seem to believe that by imposing their presence and 'message' beliefs on strangers, they are performing 'God's work'.  Such arrogance and impertinence would be laughable if it were not so bothersome.
To me, and to most other people I am convinced, they are perceived as a pestilential bunch of losers, so low on the intellectual ladder as to actually believe they 'do good' with their annoying activities. Unfortunately for the rest of us, they exist in enough numbers so the odds are anyone living in a residential neighborhood may routinely expect anywhere from one to several evangelical nuisance visits in a year. I used to simply politely turn them away, trying not to step on anyone's feelings. But, after being called to my door from my relaxing chair so many times I've changed my tune. It is such an imposition to find two of these vexing God's helpers standing on my doorstep. They almost always come in pairs, for good and sufficient reasons I am sure. And, over the years I have gradually worked out a more effective defense mechanism.
First, I resorted to simple blunt rudeness when answering the door, and before they had a chance to say anything, I would say something like, '"Go Away! I'm not interested!"
This is effective and always works for the moment, but never for long. Inevitably another pair would show up on my doorstep and ring my door bell. I then changed my tactics with a little psychology I dreamed up. I tried being excessively nice and inviting them in for a drink. I would say, "Hey! You're just in time. I'm getting ready to mix myself up a nice stiff rum toddy, but I also have whiskey or anything you want. What would you like?"
That would always quickly get them off my doorstep. I would hear some embarrassed mutters of apology and soon they would be hustling down the sidewalk at a brisk pace. I did worry that someone might eventually take me up on my offer of a drink but that never happened. Nevertheless, sooner or later yet another pair would come calling on my door step once again. There seemed to be no permanent cure for these pests.
Then, one day a home alarm salesman called when my wife was home alone. He told her he 'was in the neighborhood' and had seen the signs posted by our current alarm company and wondered if we might be 'interested in changing?'  He was obviously in violation of our town's solicitation ordinance and my wife was outraged - she has a quick temper and a low tolerance for aggravagtion that one. But, instead of calling the police, she rudely chased him away. The next day she went out and bought a small sign about 6" by 12" with the words "No Solicitation" on it. This, she posted on our front porch. 
Little did I know how effective this small sign could turn out to be for me! Not very long afterward our door bell rang. When I went to the door there stood two rather matronly middle-aged women with their hair up in buns, and bibles in their hands. I was already feeling a little touchy for some reason, and now this fresh irritation at the sight of these two dowdy women standing on my porch was all I needed. I didn't say a word and just simply pointed to my wife's new sign
"Oh, we're not soliciting!" said one of the women brightly.
I still don't know where my next words came from.  Somehow in my annoyance the words just popped into my head and came straight through out of my mouth, "Well, you're whoring for Jesus aren't you? Now, get the hell off my doorstep!"
Both women flushed in the face and turned, scampering away, almost running down my sidewalk back to their car. If there was ever a 'Well, I never!" moment it was precisely then. That was over four years ago and not a single evangelical has disturbed out peace since then. Perhaps there is some sort of secret way these people have for passing the word?

Of course, I'm sure we are not now welcome in their church anymore - and thank goodness for that!

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