Residing in the Bronx has its benefits. Jehovah’s Witnesses periodically ringing my doorbell and trying to recruit me into their cult are not among them. Foremost, let me state at the outset that their encounters with me have always been unfailingly polite, which is why I can’t bring myself to slam my door in their earnest faces.
Nearing the end of an extended walk and a bit of grocery shopping this morning—part of my use it or lose it very soon exercise regimen—I was sweat-laden and plum tuckered out when I spied Jehovah’s Witnesses making the rounds in the vicinity of home. I made a mental note not to answer my bell after I was safely ensconced indoors, because I’d absolutely know who was calling. But lo and behold, as I turned the corner—seconds away from mission accomplished and a day’s exercise in the books—Jehovah’s Witnesses were hovering all too near my front door. I couldn’t enter my apartment without them noticing me and, worst of all, catching my ear. I opted instead to both keep walking and keep sweating, returning several minutes later to find them stationary and patiently waiting for someone or something. If nothing else, they are a persistent religious sect. I then walked completely around the block—and we’ve got pretty long blocks around here—and they had finally soldiered on.
The last time that I had conversed with Jehovah’s Witnesses at my front door, a question was posed to me: “We are asking people to name the person they most admire?” I kind of knew what the “right” answer was, as far as they were concerned, despite having a question of my own to ask them. I nonetheless said, “Quinn Martin.” Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t a very curious bunch, so not a one of them asked me who, pray tell, was Quinn Martin? Naturally, most people had told them the person they most admired in this world was—drum roll, please—Jesus Christ. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t know He qualified as a person,” I said. Blank looks all around....
Both a close relation and devout Catholic once told me her foolproof method of getting rid of Jehovah’s Witnesses, as it were. She tells them she’s a pious disciple of her faith, which she is. I should say the same thing, she said, even though she knew I wasn’t. So, I tried it and it actually worked. But I felt kind of weird in employing the fib, and not because I was morally troubled by lying to Jehovah’s Witnesses to get them on their merry way. There was just something unclean about claiming to be a committed religious anything in order to squirm out of the grips of an even more zealous and delusional dogma.
Anyway, after I worked the ruse, one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses said, “Oh, okay—yes—Catholics believe in Jesus Christ, too.” Raised a Catholic and schooled in Catholic education—lower to higher—I still recall a few theological and historical matters. Too? I think Catholics were first in line on the Jesus thing, no? Well, I suppose if I believed Armageddon was imminent, I’d likely alter my modus operandi somewhat, although I doubt very much I’d go around ringing doorbells in the Bronx and Brooklyn. But then, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t observe such pagan traditions as Christmas and even birthdays. Nevertheless, sincere thanks are in order to them for making me push the envelope a bit on my daily exercise routine.