Our voices evaporated, the conversation halted from an abrupt, jarring knock at the front door.
From our chairs at the dining room table, we stared at each other, momentarily paralyzed like rabbits cowering in tall grass, our senses detecting the scent of a nearby predator.
There was another thud against the front door…
“Who the hell is that?”
Our paranoia was seized by curiosity, both of us leaping to our feet, our chairs gnashing the hardwood floors.
My father-in-law dashed from the dining room, his angled trajectory giving him a covert perspective through the front windows of the house. As the laggard in this race to the door, I watched him shake his head.
“I know what they look like…” He scoffed.
I chuckled, his mental antennae able to recognize any and all amalgamations of religious zealotry.
“I’ll leave this one up to you… I have stuff to do.” He grinned, returning back to the dining room and his cup of coffee.
When I opened the front door, I was prepared for scenes from the original 1980 Airplane! movie where Robert Stack’s imposing stride through the airport terminal is stymied by an onslaught of religious pamphleteers. Instead, I was greeted by the smiling expressions of two older, dignified women, neither of them attired in cultish garb.
What the hell was my father-in-law worried about?
“Good morning, Sir. I’m Mary and this is my friend Rochelle—”
Wait… Why the hell did I even open the door?
“…and with all the troubles happening in the world today—”
The Troubles? Where the hell do these people live, Northern Ireland?
“…people are blaming God. Sir, do you blame God?”
For this liberal arts graduate, the felicitous response would be, God Is Dead… But, standing before these two seemingly pleasant proselytizers, it seemed tedious and even gratuitous.
“I don’t think it’s God, ladies.”
“No. It’s just all the greedy people.”
Their eyes bloated with joy.
“Oh, well, let me show you…” One of the ladies revealed an iPhone screen of biblical verse.
An iPhone? Wow… They don’t even lug around that big ol’ book of beloved Jewish literature called the Bible anymore? What has the world come to? Do traveling vacuum cleaner salesman just order your purchase off of Amazon?
The woman smiled, “Would you agree with those words, Sir?”
I nodded, “I do, but, maybe we should take some of the blame, too.”
The women’s eyes narrowed.
“I mean, why do we always have to be a herd of sheep? You know, the sheeple, as Alex Jones use to say… You ladies listen to Alex Jones, right? I mean, why do we always have to follow the words of some God, some politician, some leader?”
A hushed unease had enveloped the two women.
“Blaming God is easy. Blaming greedy people is. Blaming politicians is easy. Blaming the government is easy. Hell, blaming the Illuminati is easy, ladies. And, pardon my profanity. But, humans are lazy creatures. We don’t wanna take responsibility for anything. That would mean we would have to think for ourselves. And, we don’t wanna do that."
The women were bewildered.
“Look at these mid-term elections, for example, ladies. I go online and read articles about, say, Beto O’Rourke, okay? And the article’s accompanying photo shows a crowd of people, and there is always older, retired, gray-haired people in their seventies or so at these rallies and speaking engagements. And these old people—no offense, ladies—all their faces are filled with awe, their eyes hypnotized by these young politicians. And I think to myself, Have these old people never stopped and said, ‘Wow, I’m 80 years old and I’m still voting? If voting really worked, and our political parties really worked, why am I still voting after all these years?’ But, do you think they ever stop and question this process? No. I mean, politics is a religion. People pray for their deity to win and bring them salvation! Isn’t that ridiculous? We never ask, ‘What can I do?’ Nope. It’s, ‘What can my government do for me?’ Which is brainwashing you into believing you have no freedom, only the government can grant you freedom.”
The women exchanged rapid glances, their lips whispering…
“Maybe we, the simple, stupid herd of sheeple are the problem, ladies. Like the great comedian, and one of my personal heroes, Bill Hicks once said, ‘I’m tired of this back-slapping Isn’t Humanity Neat bullshit. We’re a virus with shoes. That’s all we are.’ Would you agree with that, ladies?”
Their response was unnerving smiles and retreating steps. “You have a very blessed day, Sir…”
“Great talk, ladies! Please, follow me on twitter! I have a podcast, too!”
I smiled, closing the front door...