Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Thursday, January 13, 2005

I'm On The Bus Stop To Hell...

I'm beginning to like my bus stop. It's a great spot for people-watching, always a favorite sport of mine. I've often found myself skipping a bus or two just to hang out and see who'll turn up.

I spoke a while ago about the Communists that showed up on the corner to try and convert some people to their ignunt manner of thinking. Well, we had another evangelist show up on the corner last night, a Gen-U-Wine fire & brimstone bible-thumping street preacher.

I heard the guy bellowing over the diesel bus engines and the general din of traffic almost as soon as I left my building. By the time I walked the 50 yards to the bus stop, the decibel level had grown considerably, as had the knot of commuters trying to stand as far as possible from the shouting preacher, yet stay close enough to get on the buses when they pulled up at the corner. The result was a tight knot of commuters shifting from side to side to maintain distance from the pacing preacher. It was uncomfortably reminiscent of watching sheep herded by one of those border collies.

I took my usual position, leaning up against the bus route marker pole, and tried to tune this guy out. I sure wish these guys would try a new tack. It's always the same spiel. "We have fallen short of the glory of God, We are all sinners, we're gonna burn Burn BURN!!! Unless you repent! There's still time! Look at me! I was a sinner, but now I'm washed in the blood of the lamb! Renounce Satan's power! Fall on your knees!"

And so on.. and so on... at the top of his lungs. Not winning too many converts, that I could see. He was still going on when my bus showed up, and for all I know he was there all night.

I was reminded of the tag-team Holy Rollers we had at my University. They were itinerant street preachers, and every month or so, these two guys would show up in the University's Free Speech Area, and for the next 6 hours would rail at everyone for sinning and embracing Satan.

It got to be a fun pastime to go out and watch the show. Every so often, someone would try and debate, but it's that whole pig-wrestling scene there. The gospel-shouters really got into it, and they took no prisoners. While these two guys had their zealous knob turned way up past 11, they did know the Bible inside and out. If you wanted to debate theology with them, you had better know your stuff.

The two preachers were named Brother Rick and Brother Carl. Rick was the younger of the pair, a tall gangly dark haired man of about 25. He had the calling, but not the voice for it. It was kinda high and squeaky, and he couldn't really project as well as Brother Carl. Carl was in his mid to late 40's, and was bespectacled and balding. He had a pretty good voice, but could not maintain eye contact.

My favorite Brother Carl routine was when he got wound up about the evils of premarital collegiate sex. He would start off listing sins, but when he got to his favorite, he would throw one had in the air, shaking it as he yelled "FORRRRRRRRR-NICATION!!" As he said the 'Cation' part, he would shoot his hand out and point at some girl in the crowd and accuse her of being a tool of satan and a fornicator.
Naturally, the crowd got into it, and with every "FORRRRRRRRR-NICATION!!" they uttered, Brothers Rick & Carl would have a chorus of "FORRRRRRRRR-NICATION!!" from the Peanut Gallery right along with them.

Brothers Rick & Carl often were threatened with physical violence by some of the more emotional college students. After pointing out a woman in a short dress and calling her a whore and a fornicator, they would often get the woman's boyfriend appearing shortly thereafter looking to avenge the insult. My buddy Rockhauler says that Brother Carl got tossed in Theta Pond on the Oklahoma State University campus for similar statements. I never saw anything that drastic, but I did see them get spat on and have soft drinks tossed at them every so often.

The Pagan Student's Association used to have a ball with Brothers Rick & Carl. I got a kick out of seeing them deliberately screw with their delivery, doing things like chalking pentagrams on the pavement, which would usually cause Rick to freak out, but Carl always took it in stride.

I never got into any arguments with them, beyond the odd witty comment I'd toss into the fray. As the saying goes, I didn't have a dog in that fight, so no use getting muddy.

Brother Rick left to go do missionary work in Russia, and Brother Carl Xtian-soldiered on alone. It just wasn't the same, though. The tag-team method was a lot better, because once you got tired of hearing the bellowed "FORRRRRRRRR-NICATION!!" from Carl, Rick would step in and you'd get the "FORRRRRRRRR-NICATION!!" in Rick's squeaky voice.

I'm not entirely sure what motivates people to devote their lives to a task like that. I mean, you know you're going to get abuse and invective on a daily basis, and the chances of recruiting followers is slim-to-none. Is it zealotry? Blind faith? Maybe it's just masochism wrapped up in holy vestments.

Well, I look forward to seeing the bus stop preacher again. Next time, I'll dust off my KJV Bible and jump into the discussion.