Farmhouses were once so close together that a traveling salesman could make a living in the country. I saw the very end of that, at least in the great Midwest. Now it’s road-to-road farming – no trees, fences or animals. The wonderful creeks where I hunted the great catfish are filled with suds and foam. Today, a door-to- door man would starve or at least run out of gas. Half the kids in my class wore Future Farmers of America jackets. Today that would be one lonely club where I came from.
I learned a lesson from a bible salesman who came by one day. It must have been one of those lazy August days, and my car was broken down. He explained to me that the more rudely he was treated during a pitch the more he knew he was going to make a sale — guilt or something combined with his talent. But, I have found that phenomena to be true in private and corporate life. No, I still did not buy a bible from him – already had one.
But the most irritating door-to-door visitors were the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I must have been pretty bored the day I opened the door to chat religion a bit (still an obsession). That was my first mistake, as once the Witnesses start talking they feel they have a responsibility for your salvation forever, and they don’t give up easily. But, by far my worse mistake, was informing them that I was born a Catholic (a “cradle Catholic” (if you know the term). If you have never experienced this, believe me, Catholicism sets them off. There are probably many reasons for this. Perhaps the church burned a bunch of them, which would not be unusual. But I think the real reason is that relatively speaking Catholics don’t read the bible. They don’t. And until the folk mass, they sang like shit, but that’s an aside. Unless you are in Rome, lets leave the singing to the Baptists. OK?
Anyway, as time went by, they would come around occasionally, and I soon learned as a non-believer I would upon my death, be totally consumed in a lake of fire and simply be dust in the wind (two great songs in this one sentence). And, to my amusement, I soon realized this lake of fire was a much better deal than the Catholics had offered me, as I chuckled at old childhood terrors of Dante’s Inferno and Hieronymus Bosch, not to mention Sister Imagonnadamya.
Now to the circumstances of our very last meeting: The Witnesses arrived at the door during a time when my beautiful Burmese cat and best friend, Mescalita was in heat, and she and I were separated from the Witnesses and freedom by a very dilapidated screen door. Worse, my magnificent tom cat, Hank was opportunistically and confidently lurking near the porch.
Of course I was much more worried about them opening the door and Mescalita being err mounted than I was my soul. Let me try to paint a linear picture for you: Mescalita and I were on one side of the screen, and the Witnesses and Hank were on the other side. And, as a back drop I kept hearing this harangue: “Don’t you know the true name of God? Don’t you know the true name of God?!”
Well, they stuck a foot in the door. Mescalita ran out around the corner of the house with Hank in pursuit; me in pursuit of Hank; and the witnesses in pursuit of me still yelling, “Do you know the true name of God??”
Hank would catch up with Mescalita. I would kick Hank, and the Witnesses blundered behind me with their satchels of literature as we made our way, such as it was, around the house – With their constant question of God’s true identity in my ear.
Inevitably, Hank caught up with Mescalita and mounted her, and I turned to the disheveled Witnesses as I kicked Hank in the ass and screamed, “Yea I know the true name of God. It’s fuckin’ Jehovah.”
They never returned, or maybe they did, but I was not there having left for the city and bigger dreams. The house burned or was torn down for six more rows of beans.
Nine weeks following this event, beautiful Mescalita gave birth to five beautiful kittens. I named the runt Jehovah and gave him to an old girlfriend. He turned out to be one of those mean pathological felines who would jump from a dresser onto your back in the dark. I guess for an Old Testament kitty that makes sense.