Fun_People Archive
18 Feb
KNOCK, KNOCK: How to dodge religious solicitors

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 97 18:42:15 -0800
To: Fun_People
Subject: KNOCK, KNOCK:  How to dodge religious solicitors


[The following article almost makes me sorry to live in the back of the
building, where only the most intrepid solicitors of any stripe can find me.]

KNOCK, KNOCK:  How to dodge religious solicitors

by Brad Whittington, from "The Door",
an "emerged zine for Christians with attitude."
Republished in Utne Reader #74, Mar/Apr 1996

It's Saturday morning when, suddenly, you hear a knock at the door.

Everyone you know is either hung over or cleaning house.  They all know
better than to attempt any contact with you before noon anyway.  It can only
be one thing.  Religious canvassers.  Actually, that's two things, since,
like snakes, they travel in pairs.  You peek out the window, expecting to see
two kids who look like IBM recruits.

Instead, you see a pudgy old lady in a faded print dress, attended by a
skinny teenage girl with stringy hair and more freckles than a trout.  The
girl glances nervously at the slit in the curtain and quickly looks away.
 Girl Scout cookies?  Raffle tickets?  Opening the door out of curiosity, you
become the proud owner of a copy of their tract.  It was the girl who fooled
you.  You never figured they'd bring a kid along.  You rack your brains for
some gracious means of escape, making a silent resolution that next time
you'll follow your instinct to stand motionless in the middle of the living
room hoping that protect coloration will render you invisible.

Rack your brains no longer!  After years of similar experiences, I have
developed several techniques for turning those agonizing encounters into
hours of entertainment.  Here are just a few of the great techniques you can

1.  Listen for a minute or two with a polite but puzzled expression and then
speak in a foreign language.  Better yet, make one up.  Brand names for
electronic components serve as an excellent base for an impromptu language.
 I've found the following bit to be an excellent opener:  "Fritzen mitsuba
micht sony leam spartinza.  Nakamichi shpont olufsen takamine.  Cheloken
eraza fleecht?"

2.  Before you open the door, put on a pair of Grouch glasses and pour some
Pine Sol in a coffee cup.  Then attempt to engage them in a serious debate,
spreading Pine Sol fumes by blowing occasionally into the cup as if you are
cooling it.  See how long you can hold them.  Try to remember not to drink
out of the cup.

3.Pretend to be deaf.  Point to your ears, shake your head, and make
intricate movements your fingers and hands.  This can backfire if they happen
to know sign language.  In that case, switch to being blind.

4.  Interrupt every sentence with a long, rambling, and totally pointless
story.  Try to work in your latest medical difficulty, especially if it
involved surgery or hemorrhoids.  Other topics to touch on are flatulent
dogs, copy-machine repairmen,spatulas, hypoallergenic deodorants, mah-jongg,
asbestos, persistent nose hair, 900-number psychic lines, and genetically
engineered vegetables.  Extra points if you can get three or more of these
topics into one sentence.

5.  Tell them you are a druid.  This is much more convincing if you live in
an oak grove and paint yourself blue.

6.  Ask them if they are from the health board about the hepatitis
quarantine.  Offer them a sip of your coffee.

7.  Offer them $25 to talk to your neighbors instead.  Give them the money in
loose pennies.

8.  Tell them you are not allowed to talk to strangers until the assault case
has come to trial.  More effective if you come to the door with a knife or a
baseball bat.

9.  Insist that you graduated from high school with them.  In an effort to
jog their memory, recount various escapades you joined them in.  Refuse to be
dissuaded from this conviction.  This is more effective if thee is a dramatic
difference in your ages.

10.  Using a cordless phone, call someone you haven't talked to for a while.
Then go to the door and make gestures like you'll only be a minute.  See how
long they'll stay.  My best record is 10 minutes.

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