Having your startle reflex tested can really clear the mind.
It’s a typical grey Portland afternoon and I’m walking to the Downtown Rack when my reverie is disturbed by a male voice shouting “sinner” in my general direction. His scanning eyes lock on my startled face. He looks directly at me and yells it again “sinner”.
So this is how a deer caught in the headlights feels.
I rapidly come to my senses as an avalanche of theistic diatribe assails me. My first impulses is to pull my gun and knee cap the guy. Problem is, I’ve never owned a gun. I started to say something but what’s the point really? Mental, if you ask me. Like, I don’t know, you fill in the blank. Besides, I have shoes to buy.
A half hour later I emerge from the bargain dungeon, with my new $159.99 shoes that were marked down to $80, to hear that same voice yell “harlot” and glimpsed a young woman in full-blown escape mode bookin it. A small crowd across the street stands slack-jawed then quickly disperses. Apparently no one wants to be his next target.
Mildly amusing for sure. The mental imagery is easy to conger up. Been there, done that, right? So what’s the point? Well let me tell you my point. This is exactly the behavior you would expect if your core values come from the Bible. Now be honest, isn’t it your Christian responsibility to bring all of humanity to Jesus? It’s in the book. A fine book to be sure, if you’re an Iron Age Jew with a flair for the magical, mystical side of philosophy.
The gentleman in this tale is fictional and loosely based on a character who called himself Preacher Ray. P. Ray appeared to take delight in startling unsuspecting coeds as they approached the student cafeteria building. A practiced ambush artist to be sure.
Many years later a new generation of students knew that confrontation with this gentleman was pointless and invented a Bingo type game to mock his efforts. Kids can be cruel. Just like Bingo cards the box grid had words he frequently used in place of numbers. This man had been doing his thing for decades and after weeks of this, being the accomplished performer he was, he doubled down and his rant became even more impressive. His problem began to sink in when coeds started suggesting the words to him that they needed to make Bingo and cheered and gleefully celebrated each Bingo win.
What fun, I would have loved to have been there.