Thursday, July 14, 2011

Perfect White Teeth For Jesus

Jesus Christ, what a smile
You can sense when someone’s got Jesus by the way they smile at you. When I walked into the dentist’s waiting room yesterday I could tell that the girl sitting on my left had got Jesus, because she opened her lips and flashed her teeth at me in a way that could only mean one thing. I want to save you. And at the very least I want to talk about Jesus.

I checked in and sat down. I couldn’t help but glance at her again, and she sensed my interest. She smiled at me a second time, bigger and even more Jesus-y than before. She wore a name badge that announced she belonged to an organisation called JesusCristo. She had a bible open on her lap, in which she was highlighting passages in yellow, and a pad for taking notes, but her epic smile and the way she caught my eye made it clear she would eschew her studies in an instant to talk about only one thing with a waning soul like mine. Jesus. Baby Jesus. Miracle-touting Jesus. Big grown up Jesus nailed to a cross. Jesus: the comeback.

In theory, the girl was physically attractive, although she had done what was evangelically necessary to abjure all consciousness of fashion. The shoes alone could have reduced one of Caligula’s drunken gatherings to a procession of flaccid, toga-clad revellers apologetically shuffling out the door and muttering that for some reason they just weren’t up for it tonight. The skirt might as well have borne a logo stating, “Lockdown. Will open only for The Second Coming.” The Son of God is in for a treat when he grooves back down to our humble planet, provided he’s got a thing for high-collar blouses and frowsty cardigans.

I buried my head in my book, fearing conversation more than the wrath of our creator. But Bible-humpers have a sixth sense when it comes to attempting conversions. It has to be an easy kick, directly in front of the goalposts. If they can’t sniff out some kind of vulnerability – a recent bereavement, an addiction, a severe medical condition, or chronic loneliness – then they swiftly lose interest. The girl instinctively knew that, for her purposes, I was a hopeless case. That any conversation would not lead to my salvation and the approval of her peers at JesusCristo, but a circular dialogue in which an unyielding smartarse twat from England would try what he always does – the reverse conversion. To see those flat blue shoes with the flower motif replaced by shiny black stilettos sharper than a church steeple (success rate so far: 0).

A companion evangelist emerged from the surgery and they left to big smiles all round, except for me. I was ignored, already lost. Then it was my turn to be called by the receptionist, and I headed for the dental seat to face anaesthetic needles and whirring drills. No doubt a little taster for the long term hell that awaits the damned.


Phil Ramsden said...

"Long term" is putting it mildly, as I understand it. See you there.

Gorilla Bananas said...

I'm glad you didn't talk to her. She's needs a God-fearing snake-handler to sort her out. No woman ever dropped her knickers for Cynical.

No Good Boyo said...

An excellent opener for your next book of short stories, I'd say.

But have you considered an alternative reading? I once heard someone say that they always got a railway carriage (in the days when we still had those 6-8 seaters) to himself by having a big Bible open on his lap and smiling at all comers whenever the train stopped at a station. Never failed.

Perhaps Miss Cardigan was tired of being hit on by jaded English anarchists and decided that the best defence was the Blood of Our Lord - at least in waiting rooms.

My technique for securing a free carriage was to smile ghoulishly at passers-by on the platform, beckoning to them with a moist and bony finger.

Kreig Zimmerman said...

Sounding the bitter Scot mate!

I'd agree to a degree--this being (puntended) traditional:

Spoke with a Witness today, telt her I was Lutheran and she came at me like I spoke a foreign tongue.

Didnae knew Old Line Protestant was so Catholic now.

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

Phil - will look forward to it. I'm assuming they have decent beer down there.

GB - it took me years of being ignored to work out that women didn't find at all sexy the truth-seeing cynic scowling in the corner at parties. Here's hoping this lass will find herself a worthy snake-handler to distract her from relentless piety.

Boyo - good technique. When I had a spare seat next to me on the train, my policy was to start coughing noisily just as any new passengers walked down the aisle. Though it did raise the risk of a severely ill individual thinking they've found a soul-mate.

Kreig - a Catholic friend of mine I shared a house with at university always volunteered to answer the door when the Witnesses came round. "No use you saying you're an atheist," he said. "They'll just want to come in and convert you. As soon as you say you're a Catholic, they're off like a shot. Apparently, we're damned."

Kreig Zimmerman said...

#tehlulz as they say on Twitter, sirrah.

You realize the situation you found yourself in is predicated purely on your location South of the Mason-Dixon Line, correct?

As illustration--the first time I dove outside of the 95 corridor (Northeasterner by birth--solely social club kirks for us here) I stopped off in a restroom outside of Charlotte NC and found Christian grafitti on the back of the door in the Hills of Golgotha Three Crosses Legend with "He is Risen" etched on with a Sharpie--

And realized at that moment the American South is indeed--a foreign country.

N.B. The Google "spamword" was "jockth". Sounds vaguely Scots, eh? :D

Kreig Zimmerman said...

Ooops--didn't realize "sirrah" was pejorative! Apologies--Elizabethan English is lost on us Dutch Websterites. :D

Teepee said...

@ No Good Boyo: I get a free carriage merely by being brown-skinned and wearing a rucksack.
@ Krieg Zimmerman: I once told a Witness (in the days before I perfected the patronizing laugh, subtle headshake and slamming the door) that I was a Hindu and she looked past me into my hallway and asked me where I kept my cow.

Mark Sanderson said...

I've not really worked out a strategy that successfully gets rid of such people. Obviously, everone's entitled to their own views, but there are times when I just don't fancy talking to strangers. BTW Nice piece in WSC on the Gold Cup.

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

Thanks, Mark. Used to like the cut and thrust of a full-on religious discussion 20 plus years ago, and was even once invited to step out and sort it out the physical way by an aggrieved Mormon - but he had the advantage of being mad as hell, while I was cheerfully maintaining the moral high ground, so I declined. He was at least half a foot taller than me too. Nowadays, I just can't be arsed with the futility of a two-way parallel dialogue.