Early this morning, as usual, I was out walking my dog. It rained last night, so the dust had settled, the air was clear, cool, and fresh. There were still puddles in the road.
I was approaching a lake sized puddle, and from experience, and in self defense, I checked for approaching traffic.
There was an old rattletrap, barreling down the road towards me, so I stopped and waited, well short of the puddle, for it to pass.
The guy never even slowed, he just plowed, hub-cap deep, straight into the water, sending it sheeting over the sidewalk where I would have been walking.
As he cleared the water on the other side, the engine coughed, spluttered, and died. I watched as he tried to restart it, but the engine just churned, and wheezed, and churned again. I admit it, I couldn't help thinking 'So ja, Karma is a bitch, hey Boetie!'
I walked over to the driver's side, and I noticed that his head was thrown back, his lips were moving, and he was furiously pumping the accelerator, while grinding away with the starter.
I knocked on his window, and when he'd rolled it down an inch or so, I said, "Dude, you're just running your battery down, it's not going to start."
"But it must start!" he wailed "I'm a Pastor, and I have to deliver a special message to my congregation this morning."
"Okay, Pastor, open the bonnet, let's take a look."
As expected, I found a rusted, grease, oil, and mud encrusted lump that I assumed was an engine of some sort. I'm no mechanic, but I'm pretty sure it hadn't seen a service since Paul Kruger traded in his ox-wagon. I checked the plugs and saw that they were grimy, wet, and didn't even have suppressors, or any kind of cover over them. Just the wires clipped directly onto the plugs.
"Have you got a toolbox?" I asked. "Well... Um... I don't know, let's look in the boot." We looked. Jammed behind the bald and threadbare spare wheel I found a crusty tool roll containing a few mismatched, rusty, spanners, a bent screwdriver, and, wonder of wonders, an old fashioned plug spanner.
I removed the first spark-plug, and showed it to him. "We'll have to clean and dry these off" I said. "Have you got any rags, or even some tissues or toilet paper we could use?"
He glanced into the car, and for the first time I noticed his wife in the passenger seat, and three wide-eyed, organ-pipe sized toddlers in the back. She gave her head a brief shake, and he said "No, I'm afraid not". I'd also noticed a 'Baby-bag' on the floor at her feet, so I said, "Pastor, how can you travel around with three toddlers, and not have any nappies, paper towels, tissues, or even a roll of TP?"
"The Lord provides", he said, a little abashed.
I sighed, and cleaned and dried the plugs with my T-shirt.
Plugs cleaned, replaced, and reconnected, I said, "Okay, Pastor, try it now." The engine churned, huffed and puffed, farted once and started.
The Pastor jumped out the car, stood in the middle of the road, looked up into the sky, threw his arms wide, and yelled at the top of his voice "THANK YOU JEE-ZUS!"
And I'm, like, standing there, like an idiot, hands and arms caked in oil, 'n grease, 'n grime, 'n muck, 'n gunk, and wearing a totally messed up and ruined T-shirt.
"Er... Pastor,' I said, "Jesus didn't fix your car... I did!" I mean, credit where it's due, right? It's not that I expected his eternal gratitude and devotion or anything. A simple 'Thanks' would have been great, and an offer to replace my ruined T-shirt would have been a considerable bonus.
He looked at me, blinked a couple of times, and said "Yes I know, but I prayed, and Jesus sent you to save us, isn't He wonderful? You'll be richly rewarded in Heaven, I'm sure!"
"Pastor," I said "when you tell your congregation about the miracle you've experienced this morning, don't forget to tell them that Jesus sent a low-down, evil, rotten, Spawn of Satan, Atheist to save you from your own stupidity, and, that he also very generously provided my T-shirt to clean up your disgusting mess!"
As I walked away, he yelled after me, "We'll pray for you, Brother!"
I couldn't help it, I showed him my 'Social' finger.
* Eish! (pronounced 'aysh!') - An all purpose African expression used to denote Surprise, joy, shock, disbelief, happiness, sadness, sympathy, empathy, disappointment, anger, frustration, relief, awe, fear, love, hate, in fact, you can use it at any time to express any conceivable mood or emotion. It's all in the context, and tone of voice.
A gift to you from Africa. Use it, and enjoy! - Eish, it's an awesome word, hey.
Eish! (pronounced 'aysh!')
Now that's interesting. A question on the pronunciation: does 'eish' rhyme with 'ace' or with 'ice'?
I would go with 'ace' but with an -sh ending. Does that help?
Oh boy, this is hilarious.
Hahaha... I logged on and saw "Eish!!" and just had to read. I rarely see South African stuff on the interwebs.
I would love to have been at that congregation to hear what this pastor had said. He probably spun it into some kind of "Jesus sent a man to save me, and I saved him at the same time with love" kind of thing! You just got to laugh!
Ja well, whichever way he spins it, you can bet he'll come out the Hero.
What do you bet, when he tells this story, he's going to re-arrange the dialog so it sounds like he gave you a 'zinger':
PASTOR: Thank you, Jesus!
YOU: I'm an atheist and a satan-worshiper*, and you should thank me instead of thanking Jesus. I did all the work.
PASTOR: Ah, yes, but I prayed, and God sent you! Isn't that wonderful? You were exactly the answer to prayer I needed!
YOU Stare openmouthed, dumbfounded, in awe as you realize what a stunning miracle just occurred
*Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised at all if you said "evil, rotten, Spawn of Satan, Atheist " and he heard "I worship the devil."
Sucker bet, Dude, I wouldn't bet against you.
We all know that these guys always consider it their 'Sacred Duty' to 'bring Atheists into the Fold' and to 'Save' them from the 'Fire's of Hell', but they get really agitated and P'd off if we even hint at 'Enlightening' them.
Thanks for another wonderful post.
The moment I read Eish, I said to myself there is only one place in this planet where that expression is used, when I came across the mention of Paul Kruger and his oxwagon. I felt home. Thanks Homey!
Putting those spark plug wires back in the wrong position never crossed your mind?
Not immediately... I only realized he was a gold-plated asshole after I'd finished the job. :)
I have a few stories very much like this, I offer one..
I did handyman work for a while to help pay for school and life's little needs. One account was with a local minister that received her certificate via mail-order. She had this little two story house, with the top story filled to the gunnels with theist paperbacks, study guides, etc and a nice place to sit and read.
During one call, she said that she was having a problem with her phone not being loud enough. I looked over her system and found that she already had a 'hearing impaired' system. I checked the settings, and found that both her phone and the device were set to the highest settings. After messing with the phone I asked her to try calling a friend, this time I listened to the conversation and found no problem with the audio from my perspective.
Next I realized that she had hearing aides, adding to my realization that sometimes I am clueless.
I checked the batteries, seemed ok! Then I asked the $64x10^12 question, 'when was the last time you had your ears checked?' She said, 'I don't need my ears checked, God will provide, if you can't fix my phone, a lot of help you are!' At this point, it seems obvious that I was working for a nut! I asked more questions, such as, 'so what is wrong with talking with a doctor?', 'would you like me to call a friend for you?', 'surely you know that God works in mysterious ways, maybe a doctor could be an angel?'
At this point it seemed rather obvious I could not help her. I told a few of her friends that I knew so they could intervien, and left it at that. It would be several more years before I stopped trying to help her, it was clear that I was at a lose of knowing how to talk with her, without needing a short-curcuit into nuttyness.
She always thought that I was a theist, even after telling her about by interests and beliefs. My last job was delivering firewood which was ill received due to my final statement that 'I have never been a believer since the day you meet me'. In her mind, anyone not a theist was by definition 'evil', even inspite of every indication of good character over years.
Her 'believing for me', I saw as a gross statement of disrespect.