For the third year in a row I was passed over and I am not happy about it.
A raise? A promotion? No, I'm not talking about something that frivolous. I am talking about hearing The News. The Good News. No, that still doesn't do it justice. I'm talking the GREAT news.
For the third straight year there was a tan minivan down the street and three well-dressed people walking from home to home. That's right - the Jehovah's Witnesses were in the neighborhood. Rebecca noticed them as she pulled in the driveway and went around to the back yard to give me... well, the good news. I was in the process of trying to cover the pool (again) and not in any condition to greet my treasured guests. Rebecca ran inside to get me a shirt and I went to my car to get a breathe mint.
And then I waited. And waited. And they never came. Unlike last year's blog where I pointed out the lighter side of my near-miss, I was heartbroken this year.
Did you ever anticipate a conversation with someone? You end up in a weird place where you have both sides of the conversation in your head. You say something, they say something, and then you say something really f'ing cool. Maybe even triumphant. I hate to say this but I was almost in a fantasy state just thinking about it. I think some of this is due to the fact that I LOVE talking about religion but I usually do not bring up the topic unless someone else does. So if you put me into a place where someone not only brings it up but actually comes to me? As I said in the other blog, throw in a fat man and a tree and you'd have a Pagan holiday.... errrr... Christmas.
So that got me to thinking. Should I just save my conversation for next year? Nah, might as well write it down. Here is how I imagine it going.....
(queue the dream sequence)
So I open the door and there stands Salma Hayek
(oops, queue the other dream sequence)
A well-dressed man and woman walk up my driveway on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The man is older than the woman and he is carrying a book and some pamphlets.
"Greetings friend" the man says with a smile. "Do you have a few minutes to talk to us today?".
"A few minutes? For you, I have all afternoon" I reply with an even bigger smile.
"I'm Mr. White and this is Ms. Pink. We'd like to share some good news with you". The joy in his voice increases as he completes the sentence. Mr. White goes on to explain that they are Jehovah's Witnesses and they would like to tell me a little bit about their group and beliefs.
"I am well aware of your group so you can save the background info. If I am to follow your beliefs I think I'll need a few questions answered" Mr. White nods and says to proceed.
I take a breathe and begin. "I am a college graduate and I know that education is frowned upon in your organization. My degree is from Buff State so that doesn't mean much, but it is still a degree"
Mr. White doesn't even pause a moment. "We've changed our position on education in recent years. It is now ok to have an education as long as you don't over-do it. Our elders have realized that you're not a threat to figuring out this racket unless you go to one of those artsy-fartsy schools".
"Whew, that's a relief" I reply. "I thought for sure that one would count me out. Ok, now onto the next one. I hear that only 144,000 people are going to heaven yet your followers are several times that number. Aren't I too late?"
"No, you're still ok. A few years ago we realized that we probably had this number wrong all along so we adjusted it. We saw the mistake that the Shakers made - banning reproduction - and we realized that by having a hard ceiling we weren't going to attract new members. After all, this kind of stuff won't appeal to people if there isn't something in it for them".
"Good point Mr. White. The people have to know that they're getting a prize after they've gone through the motions over the course of their lives. It sounds too good to be true! Speaking of truth, how do we know it is true? I've read many pro-Christian books and they admit that the Bible was written decades after the events supposedly happened and the authors were not only not witnesses, they were really just writing down the folklore of the time. How can I know that these events are true" I ask. I noticed that a bead of sweat rolled down my cheek. I was most nervous about this question.
At this point I noticed a change in Ms. Pink. She had been smiling and nodding her approval as Mr. White knocked down my concerns one by one. Not only did her look change, she gave Mr. White a "WTF" look.
It was clear that Mr. White knew what I was talking about as his face looked as though the holy ghost had just eaten his lollipop. "Well...." he stammered a bit and then cleared his throat. "Yes, that is true but we have come to accept the fact that God sent his messages through the authors of the gospels. We do not know who wrote the gospels but by golly it is clear as day that they are divinely inspired".
"Excellent!" I exclaim. "The people that tried to recruit me to the other religions that you reject said the same thing! How dare they say that when you know the truth. I'm thinking about dropping them a line to tell them that their authors couldn't also have been divinely inspired. How rude of them to copy your claims!".
"Um, yeah, how very rude" mutters Mr. White as he tugs at his collar. I thought this odd as it wasn't particularly hot that day. Anyway, I take a glance over at Ms. Pink and she does not look like a happy camper. Who knows, maybe she is still a little bent at having been pulled out of school after the 8th grade.
"I have one last thing that worries me a little. I am completely on board with what you are saying but I'm not so sure that my wife will be on board. After all, it is pretty obvious that your group isn't so fond of women. Is that true?"
Mr. White seemed to rally a bit after hearing this question. "We've also changed our thinking on this one as well. Women are no longer forced to wear a hat while praying. Isn't that great? We thought about changing some of the other things as well. But the good book is pretty clear about women being subservient to their husbands and not being in positions of power. We think that allowing them to wear hats is a pretty good middle ground".
I took another look Ms. Pink and she looked like she was going to slug Mr. White. She kind of looked like Ralphie did when he found out that the message that he deciphered with his prized decoder ring was really just a commercial for Ovaltine. I don't know exactly what she was thinking but I'm guessing that it had something to do with missing out on all of the keg parties that her (former) friends had as teens. I felt bad for rocking the boat - after all, I really just wanted some information. I wasn't trying to pull back the curtain.
"Well thank you both for stopping by. This really cleared up some of the reservations that I had about becoming a believer. You've really cleared up some of this rough stuff so that we can focus on the nice stuff. I like that".
Mr. White, seeing that maybe the day was salvageable after all, perked up. "So you're with us, brother"?
"Sorry" I replied, "The Catholics were here yesterday and said that they were running a promotion where if I signed that day I could get a signing bonus AND a couple of indulgences. I didn't feel I would get a better offer from any other religion so I jumped on it. You may want to look in to the indulgence package. I know that this kind of came and went in the dark ages but you can see how it would appeal to people today."
Mr. White muttered something as he turned to walk away. Ms. Pink paused for a minute and then whispered to me "so what is beer like? Is it as good as I hear it is".
I couldn't help but smile as I thought about my answer. "It is better. As I often tell a young woman that is about to have her first adult beverage, if you drink it fast it won't hurt you. You're going to be alright, Ms. Pink'.
(Note: The original post can be found at prayingtopesci.com)