I am not always a nice person. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” was one of my mother’s favorite sayings, but sometimes...
Joe and Amanda and I went out to dinner Friday night to celebrate the end of the FCAT’s, Florida’s terrifying standardized tests. We had a wonderful time at Harry’s downtown. Joe had a weird martini, I had a normal martini, and Amanda had a Shirley Temple. She was in high spirits, and decked herself with Mardi Gras beads, which she shared with the large plaster alligator next to her.
After dinner we headed to Mochi, where the frozen yoghurt is self-serve and the toppings range from blueberries through chocolate chips to Cap’n Crunch. Amanda boogied down the street ahead of us, but waited for us at the corner before crossing.
On the corner by Mochi we encountered a fair number of people who call themselves Warriors for Christ. A young man with a crewcut was standing on a milk crate. I believe he had a megaphone. Proselytizing Christians irritate me anyway, and anyone who calls himself a Warrior is down ten points with me before he opens his mouth.
He did open his mouth, and addressing me, asked, “Do you care about Jesus?” I should have just said no, of course, and continued on my way. Instead I replied, “I don’t give a shit about Jesus,” (I may have used the f-word instead; I’m not sure.) “You’re going to go to hell,” he told me, as I walked on with Amanda. “And you’re going to take that little girl with you. You have a responsibility to that child.” Amanda made some gesture which I caught out of the corner of my eye; I believe she was flipping a bird.
Amanda does believe in God and Jesus, and cares about them both when she thinks of it. I asked her whether that boy’s Jesus was the one she knows, and she said no. We agreed that the only Jesus worth knowing is all about love, not hate and aggression. After we left Mochi, we crossed the street to avoid the asshole, and encountered another young Warrior who asked if we would like a leaflet. I politely told her no thank you, and we went on.
Now the last thing I need is a callow youth telling me I have a responsibility to Amanda. As I fume about it now, I make lists of all the responsible things I do that are focused on her, and wonder whether he’s ever been responsible for more than a goldfish.
Although I am not a believer, I usually try to respect the beliefs of others. I do find it annoying that strangers feel entitled to interrogate me, but I know that many Christians feel that it is part of their duty to spread the Gospel, as it is the only path to their Heaven. They’re supposed to be fishers of men (and women and children too, I suppose).
So I put up with them when they call to me on the street, and even when they knock on my door. Part of me is sorry I was rude, and gave a rude example to Amanda. But a bigger part of me gets a giggle whenever I think of it. Joe was happy that we had dinner AND a show. I think perhaps I should drink martinis more often.
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