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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Criswell (Part I)

I’m sitting in my daughter’s orthodontist office working on a first Blah-ugh! entry in god-knows-how-many years. I have my Criswell book open and am pulling quotes and weirdness, in yet another lame attempt to make my little audience laugh a bit, when a woman—another parent—comes over. 

“I noticed you’re reading a Criswell book,” she said, and then—with absolutely no prompting from me—goes on for literally 10 minutes about the coming Apocalypse …

Now, I’m not one to ever poo-poo the imminent destruction of our civilization, or to ever turn my back on any conspiratorial theory, no matter how many blood moons, six-state military operations or closings of Wal-Mart stores it involves. (She explained that they were citing poor plumbing in their closings, but inferred that it had something to do with hundreds of miles of underground tunnels, along with many animals dying and the seven-year cycle of the stock market’s collapse.) Still, there was something in her urgent, wide-eyed paranoia, coupled with the cross she was wearing, that put my antennae up.

I found myself—who’s usually overly polite to too many people, frankly—wondering how long she would keep talking with absolutely no words from me, no nodding, “Mmm’s,” or any kind of response … It was a long, long time … It was somewhat extraordinary 

But it reached a limit, for I realized—as Arnold Schwarzenegger had tried to warn me about in his book Total Recall when he cited taking on the negativity of others—this woman’s nervous, negative words—however true they might be—were starting to infect my spirit. After a point my question to her was going to be, “Okay, but what can you do about any of it?” after which I intended to begin a short discussion on the merit of Emmett Fox … Yet after her interminable blather continued, I wasn’t even up to bothering.

I could feel the toxins collecting in my growingly fit body, almost happily feeling myself getting pushed to the point where I could say or do anything as rude as I wanted, because she had invited it--a unique point in a day, and one we shouldn't abuse--when she gave me the perfect out. She reached a conclusion of her point, paused and then asked, “So, are you a Christian?”

I just stood up suddenly and literally muttered, “I’ve had enough,” and retreated over to the reception desk. Her son’s dentist came out at that very moment to consult with her, and I had a bill to settle, so it was a smooth transition.

As she was leaving and I tried to mollify her with my disarming, Apocalypse-averting smile--she may be right, after all, and I didn't want to have to face her erratic judgement come the Apocalypse. But instead of walking past me in humble contrition, as would have been appropriate following her weird psychic assault, she countered with that ever-creepy, “Have a blessed day!”

“Yeesh!” I thought. “What a bitch!”

The worst part was that my Criswell essay was temporarily derailed, as I felt I had to document this remarkable nonsensical experience, being a writer and all and not producing at the levels I should be, (that is, if I hope to please my infernal god and do my part to avert an Apocalypse). That’s why I’ve recorded all of this now, for I’m still sitting in the reception room, trying to work through it all emotionally and editorially …

So look for the Criswell piece soon … hopefully within the hour … for I predict it will be a fascinating look at the mysterious work of a genuine hammerhead.