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Sunday, August 9, 2015

How to Answer a Stupid Question

Jake by Frank Olma
My pal Michal posted this recent experience on Facebook last night:
Jake’s barking madly—someone must be in the drive way. I go to front door. to find two men. One’s older (not sure what that is anymore since I'm older) and one is younger (in his 20’s maybe) both toting bags and bibles. Mormon's or Jehovah Witnesses?

Older Man: Good morning
Me: Good Morning
They introduced themselves and chit chat about Jake being a Puppy and he'll get "big" when he grows up
Me: He’s nine.
Younger Guy: Oh he's so cute.
Me: Yeah I like him.
Older Man: Have you ever thought about death?
Me: No one gets out alive.
Older Man: .. opening bible... Revelations says ...
Me: I’m an atheist.
Older Man: What?
Me: I'm an atheist.
Older Man: Have you always been one?
Me: No, I was raised a Methodist but don't have time for all that made up voodoo. I hope you have a nice day.
Older Man: But...
Me: I'm an Atheist .. have a good day.
Younger Man: ... do you think your dog is mad at me
Younger Man: (as they walk away) ...because I thought he was a puppy.
Me: No, he's flattered. 
Thought to self... too bad he didn't think I was a puppy.
Hilarious! I've never heard Michal's voice (we met after my hearing crapped out) but am imagining this arch yet friendly, deadpanned, whiskey-ish tone.

I wrote of my experience with Jehovah’s Witnesses visitors a couple of years back. Mine were women which was, for me, much less intimidating than having two strange men appearing on my doorstep.

If I’d been in Michal’s shoes I might’ve not answered the door AND dialed 911. How do I know strangers aren’t potential thieves and/or murderers? Carrying a bible could be a ruse. Yeah, I’m not a very trusting soul.

If for some reason I did as Michal had, how would I’ve responded to that preposterously presumptuous question from a complete stranger: Have you ever thought about death?

I imagine it would’ve gone something like this:
For fuck’s sake man, I’m 56 years old—think for a second. I've had a life. There were three brain surgeries, a spectacularly dicey back surgery where every goddamn muscle in my back had to be sliced so that the tumor could be removed. In my time on this good green earth I’ve been kidnapped, held at knifepoint and threatened with rape and chased by would be muggers and rapists. My mother and mother figure have both died. So, now that you know my background, waddya think pal. Could it be that, as a sentient being, I might've given the whole death biz a thought or two already? I'll give you a sec or two to think on this. 
Ya know, a better use of your time, a more productive way to serve this theoretical god you believe in would be to stop the sales pitching and start helping. Go work in a soup kitchen. Plant a vegetable garden and share your bounty with the poor. Go to a women’s shelter and read Dr. Seuss to the children there. Become a clinic escort. Teach the uneducated how to read and write. Stop cheap-talking and act—make a difference for those less fortunate.

Also, whether I believe in a god or gods is none of your business. Now, if you’re going to continue with this uninvited preaching gambit, you’d be well advised to change your opening. Try using a less loaded approach. Maybe even ask questions so you can learn more about your marks. When you fly in with your ridiculous canned speech, you’re make insulting and erroneous assumptions.

Just so's ya know, Monday through Wednesday I’m a polytheist, Thursday is pantheism day and Friday through Sunday I’m a straight up agnostic.  Sorry, no room for your door to door sales god.

Yeah, Michal handled the sitch WAY better than I would’ve.

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