Baseball buffs, have a gander. The rest of youse Philistines, feel free to continue on to today’s wacky adventures below.)
A few days ago, I was sitting in my office at home enjoying a nice lazy Saturday morning. I was checking email, listening to some tunes, eating a bowl of cereal, and generally minding my own damned business. The missus was out getting her hairs cut, so — with no one but the dog to impress with my wardrobe — I hadn’t even bothered getting dressed yet. Or combing my hair. Or even putting my contacts in. This was around eleven in the morning, maybe eleven fifteen.
God, do I love Saturday mornings. You people who actually get up and ‘do things’ on the weekends don’t know what the hell you’re missing.
This particular edenic episode, however, was rudely interrupted by the sound of our doorbell.
Usually, that’s no big deal. I’ve got no problem ignoring the doorbell. I don’t answer the phone, I never listened to my parents — just ask ’em — and I’ve been married for a dozen years. So I’m a bona fide grade A expert ignorer at this point. And for a few seconds, I practiced what I’m best at and returned to surfing the web, slurping up Weetabix and singalonging with Weezer. Because multitasking is for babies. Multitasking alliteratively is where you separate the supermen from the saps, sister.
“I’d never talked to Jehovah’s Witnesses before. Actually, I didn’t know they were still around — I thought they were just a faded old cliche, like Hare Krishnas at the airport or washed-up film stars running for public office.”
Soon enough, the doorbell rang again, and two troubling thoughts crossed my mind. First, it was possible that the person at the door was, in fact, my wife. She’s been known to venture out into the world without her house keys, which makes reentry into the abode pretty tricky for those of us who aren’t lockpicks or Santa Claus. And trust me — she’s neither. If she owned the tools to pick locks, she’d leave them in the house where they do no good whatsoever. And she’d never be able to stand the cold weather up at the North Pole.
(Plus, if I let on that she has any article of clothing that’s red and fur-lined, she’ll revoke my ‘elf privileges’.
Don’t ask. You don’t wanna know.)
Of course, when my wife locks herself out and knows I’m home, she doesn’t usually just ring the doorbell. She knows of my mighty ignoring prowess, so she uses a special secret code to let me know it’s her. It goes something like this:
*knock knock knock* *ding-dong-ding-dong-ding-dong* ‘HEY, IT’S ME! OPEN UP IN THERE!!‘
Sweet girl. Not so patient when she’s freezing and keyless and I’m hiding upstairs, trying to remember whether the secret code is ‘rings, then knocks, then yelling’ or ‘rings, then yelling, then knocks’. But sweet. I’m surprised she hasn’t killed me in my sleep by now.
Anyway, I was pretty sure it wasn’t my wife, but maybe she just hadn’t worked up a good lather yet. My bigger problem, as usual, was the dog. She was sitting at the top of the stairs, where she could see the door, and whoever happened to be standing outside it. She’d look at the door, then she’d look at me. Look at the door, look at me. Door, me, door, me, door, me — as if to say, ‘For the love of Christmas, if I had opposable thumbs I’d do something about this, but you’re the one who’s supposedly evolved, so take the hell care of it already.‘
In the process, of course, she was cluing in the doorbell ringer that yes, some lazy, shiftless and probably pantsless person was indeed home, and simply choosing to ignore the doorbell. Sold out by my own mutt. See if she gets any Snausages from me ever again.
So I put on some pants, navigated blurrily downstairs and opened the door. On the other side were two fuzzy blobs — probably people, though without my contacts, I couldn’t be completely certain. It’s just possible that a couple of Sasquatches meandered onto the porch, or a pair of small haystacks blew by and rang the bell. As I squinted at the haystack closer to me, it began to speak.
‘Good morning, sir! My name is Terry, and my friend here is Steve. We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, and we’d like to…‘
He kept on talking, but my brain took a time out to process the situation. I’d never talked to Jehovah’s Witnesses before. Actually, I didn’t know they were still around — I thought they were just a faded old cliche, like Hare Krishnas at the airport or washed-up film stars running for public office. Yet here they were, apparently, just glad to be alive on this glorious day to share their thoughts and wisdom and proselytizational pamphlets with me. I pulled the door a little closer to shut. I might humor them briefly, but no way were these yahoos getting in the house. I made a mental note to kick the dog for getting me into this mess — and another note to put my contacts in first, so I could pick a nice soft tender spot — and got back in the game. Haystack One was still rambling on about the glory of the day or something, but he seemed to be working up to a point.
‘…and somebody had to create this wonderful day, now, didn’t they? But many people find it hard to accept the wisdom of God, and the love of the almighty. It can be difficult to recognize and embrace the holy spirit with all that happens in the everyday world. What are your thoughts about that?‘
He wanted my thoughts about that. Sure, I had thoughts about that. I had thoughts about all sorts of things I’d vaguely heard him chirping about. I also had a bowl of sugar flakes getting soggier by the minute. And anyway, I don’t think my thoughts about that were the sorts of ‘thoughts about that’ that this haystack guy was after, especially. Best to deflect, I decided, the quicker to return to my bowl of breakfast.
‘Yeah. I don’t really think about that sort of thing. Sorry.‘
I won’t say he was ‘undaunted’ by that. I’m not sure you can daunt a haystack, actually, or how you’d go about it. But I did get a blurry sense of disappointment from him. ‘So many souls,’ I could almost hear him thinking. ‘So few at home, fewer still that don’t slam the door on you, and now this fruitcake says he doesn’t think about things. I knew I should’ve gone Mormon.’
Still, he kept on talking. He got another thirty seconds or so of ‘heavenly glory’ this and ‘blessed be’ that, then asked if he could read me something from John before they went on their way. I asked, ‘Grisham?‘ He said no. A passage from the Bible — and did I have my own Bible, perchance? I told him I didn’t. More fuzzy disappointment. He offered that I could probably find one, if ever I was interested. I agreed that I could.
I thought our little exchange of Biblical pleasantries might get me out of whatever John non-Grisham bit he had in mind. But no; he still wanted to read to me. Oh, what the hell, the cereal’s at full sog by now, anyway. Fire away, haystack.
So he did. I forget what he read, exactly, but it wrapped up with something about ‘everlasting life’. ‘Everlasting life,’ he repeated softly. ‘Living forever in the kingdom of heaven, without a care or need in the world. Does that sound like something you’d be interested in, sir?‘
Well, clearly, when he put it that way, there was only one reasonable answer. Luckily, I’m under no obligation to be reasonable to fuzzy haystacks that blow onto my porch to read scripture on weekend mornings. Or ever, come to think of it.
‘Um… no. No, not really.‘
‘Really? You wouldn’t be interested?‘
‘Nah. Not so much. Sorry.‘
Having finally pegged me as an unrepentant heathen cur, he bade me good day, tossed a couple of pamphlets toward me, collected his apparently mute haystack friend ‘Steve’, and took off down the stairs. To cleanse the filthy sinner off him with holy water, no doubt.
Me, I shitcanned the brochures, went back upstairs and returned to the soggy muck in the bottom of my cereal bowl. And eventually, I took a shower, put my contacts in, got dressed, and actually managed to do something with my Saturday afternoon.
But you know what? I never did kick the dog. Maybe I just forgot, or maybe one of those holy hazy haystacks rubbed off on me a little, after all. There’s my one good deed for the week, all taken care of on Saturday morning. I bet even that Jesus guy never managed that.
John Grisham, maybe. Jesus? Nah.Permalink | No Comments