Boy, it’s amazing how many people from your local standup comic’s repertoire actually do come calling during the day, something I never knew when I wasn't working from home. First I had the vacuum cleaner salesman, and then, yesterday the Jehovah’s Witnesses stopped by. I guess I’d better prepare myself for the Avon lady and the chimney sweeper next. What I really wish is that Publisher’s Clearinghouse would come a-knocking with that multi-million dollar check (even though I don’t subscribe to any magazine through them). With my luck, they’ll be the only ones who can’t find my house. They’ll mark a big red “unable to deliver” next to my name, which will then show up on some huge ad with the warning “Don’t let this happen to you!”
Usually, when the doorbell rings, I don’t pay much attention. Everything that’s sent to me from the office is sent via DHL overnight delivery, and the DHL guy just comes to the door, sets the package on the stoop, rings the doorbell, and leaves. This sets Lady off for a good two minutes or so (Bob and I were once looking at the Sheltie rescue site, considering adopting a companion for her. One of the questions the site asks is, “Are you aware that Shelties are barkers?” This has become a huge repeated joke in our household). Yesterday, however, the doorbell rang and “the barker” wouldn’t stop. I finally dragged myself away from the computer to look out the window to discover no DHL truck in sight. (I’ll say one thing for Jehovah’s Witnesses; they have patience and endurance to stand out there for more than two minutes listening to Cujo waiting on the other side.)
Sighing, I made my way downstairs to discover the source of Lady’s frantic concern. There they were, a young man and woman dressed in business attire, holding their copies of “The Watchtower.” Bob, who is far kinder than I, would happily have opened the door to these people, explaining how he’s in the ministry himself, while inviting them in and actually looking as though he might read their pamphlets. My reaction is to roll my eyes upon seeing them, open the door just enough to let Lady race out, with the hopes she’ll scare them away (she never does. Her ferocious bark becomes all wagging tale and pleads for petting the moment she’s sharing the front stoop with whomever the evil attacker was when she was trapped on the inside), and then spend the next few minutes uncomfortably wondering how long they plan to stay, especially since I’m not inviting them inside, while assuring them Lady won’t bite if they want to pet her. I barely listen to them, while I fantasize about the perfect response to their presence, which I haven’t got the guts to say. I mean, maybe I would if they were wearing baseball caps and giving me the finger or something, but I’d have to have absolutely no heart to be bitingly sarcastic with two people looking so innocent and hopeful.
Jehovah must have been witnessing my extreme discomfort, because they stayed a blessedly brief amount of time. As I shut the door, I realized I should actually admire these people. They have some kind of guts finding their way to houses tucked away on dead-end streets, ringing the doorbells, unannounced, of complete strangers, risking dog attacks, or even human attacks (whether verbal or physical). Only those who have to deliver mail and other packages put themselves in the same sort of danger on a daily basis. And think of how many homes they probably have to visit, before some sucker actually comes to the door, and of those, how many actually become Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s either guts or sheer lunacy. Maybe next time, I’ll invite them in, pretending I’ve confused them with the Publisher’s Clearinghouse check-delivery guy. They deserve something a little more interesting than their standard “got chased by an old man with a shot gun again” stories.