It is as if I have a giant neon sign on my forehead that reads, "Crazy people of the world, come talk to me!" I still don't know why, but wherever I go, the crazy people love to come out. I am told it's because I look generally innocent and approachable. Plus I'm polite which may be my biggest problem.
"Could you watch my stuff for a minute? I just want to go outside and see if the mother ship has landed yet."
"Um, well, all right."
You would think a year in New York City would have cured me of all this, but somehow I never exactly learned that "Don't mess with me" look so perfected by New Yorkers.
"Oh, wait, if the mother ship does land, um, will you be coming back for your stuff, or should I just put it somewhere safe? Just wanted to check."
The latest installment in this continuing motif occurred at the laundromat. There I was, trying desperately to overstuff a machine with my three weeks of laundry when I heard a voice from the corner. "You know, it's all coming down this year." I looked up to see an older woman with no front teeth who was sitting next to three massive bags of laundry.
"Oh?" I said when I really could have used one of those "Don't mess with me" looks.
"Yep, all evil will be defeated by God sometime this year. And then we'll all get to go to heaven."
Hurrah! I thought. So many questions flowed through my head. How? When? Should I use up all my vacation time now, or do I have a few months to wait? How about my laundry? Should I still do that? If so, how many loads?
"Really?" I stupidly said.
"He speaks to me, you know. Most people think it's like a voice inside your head, but it's really a voice in your heart. You just have to listen. You know what Savior said to me this morning?"
"Um, that you really should go back on your medication." Well, that's what I should have said. Instead, I merely nodded, and she was off. Interestingly, she never referred to God as The Savior, just Savior. I guess you have to admire people who are on such familiar terms with their deities.
I wanted so much to leave. I needed to go to the store across the street for more detergent before I could even do my laundry, but I simply couldn't get away. She just kept on talking. And talking. Occasionally, when she had an important point to make, she would also put her hand on my arm. Getting touched by God's toothless messenger, oh I loved that!
"You gotta watch out for Satan. You notice how when people say 'God bless you' after a sneeze, it doesn't really mean anything. That's because Satan is trying to play God on earth. That's why if you say Savior and not God, you can fool Satan. Isn't that amazing? You know, after Savior told me that, I was floored. I just said to him, 'Wow, Savior, that's awesome!'"
"But luckily Savior's gonna come back this year and kick Satan's ass right back to hell. I can't wait for that!" Hallelujah! I thought. Surely then I won't have to do laundry.
All this time, I was trying desperately to inch towards the door.
"Well, that's great, but I really ought to be -- "
"Yeah, that really is impressive there. I just have to go to --"
"Well, you know how that Savior can be. Anyway, I --"
But there was no way to stop the monologue. Onward she babbled until finally the miracle occurred. Yes, I, Joe Lavin, cynic extraordinaire, was lucky enough to witness an actual miracle at the laundromat. It happened when a truck stopped outside. On the side of the truck, a sign read "Peacemaker, Inc."
"Wow, that's a miracle! Peacemaker. Make peace. Ha! You see, He's speaking to us through that sign. Wow! Savior sends these miracles to us when you least expect it. He's so clever! You have to keep your eyes open. It's the little things that are the miracles."
Well, that was only the first miracle of an exciting day. Later came an even bigger miracle. For some reason, she finally stopped talking to me, and I was able to leave and buy my detergent! Hallelujah! When I returned, she was still there, but luckily she wasn't at all talkative. Who knows? Maybe Savior was talking to her. ("Look, leave the kid alone. He's just trying to do his laundry.") Whatever it was, I was able to escape without any more strange conversations.
As I left, she stopped me at the door and said, "Jesus loves you." And I have to tell you I felt pretty good about that. After all, if anyone would know, it would be her.
|Copyright 1999 by Joe Lavin (who would make a horrible President)
Joe Lavin's Humor Column is published every Tuesday at: http://joelavin.com
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Submitted By: Joe Lavin
Aug 11, 1999 12:53