What Would You Have Said?

After a wait of about 20-minutes, they called my 84-year old neighbor, originally from Spain and France, back to a patient room. She was there to see the neurologist about pain shooting up both arms into her neck when squeezing things with either hand or both hands, like her steering wheel when driving. This is why I took her to the neurologist.

For several minutes there in the lobby waiting room I was alone, with the exception of the receptionist behind the glass. It was a peaceful, quite relaxing few moments. I quickly browsed some of the WordPress blogs I follow and did a few “Likes,” but no comments, yet. I’ve learned not to comment while in places such as the doctor’s front waiting room. Often too many interruptions by elderly small-town folks, or younger, friendly country people; all strangers of course, at least to me. And the interruptions cause me to lose track of my train of thought. An old habit of mine surfaces too easily: I always give my undivided attention to those engaging me socially. A bad habit, I suppose. 😉

Several minutes later a car with a handicapped tag hanging from the rearview mirror pulls up to the lobby door outside. I watch to see if whoever might be getting out—in a wheelchair?—might need assistance with the two double-doors always wanting to close simultaneously on you while trying to enter. You know, not enough hands to hold both doors AND manage a wheelchair.

No need. The elderly lady who got out was ambulatory and stable. She grabbed her very nice red-n-black shawl out of the back seat then came into the lobby to check-in. I smiled and nodded at her as she sat down to wait. She warmly and politely said hello to me. I responded in the same and told her that I liked her eloquent shawl. She thanked me, saying she sometimes shuts the car door on it, not realizing it until she tries to walk away. We both chuckled, “Your car is very attached to you, huh?” She laughed, “Yes, something like that or I am too often absent-minded” she replied. I guessed she was in her late 70’s or early 80’s, but had good wit and humor about her that I appreciated.

Being the only two people in the lobby, we chatted some more. It was pleasant, short chat with humor sprinkled in. She shared that getting around now without her late husband—a war veteran of no less than THREE wars: WW2, Korean, and Vietnam—was slower, but quite manageable. She slipped in to her story that “God took good care of her and her husband in his last hours alive in her arms.” He had suffered the effects of shrapnel pieces in his head while in combat in Vietnam, then followed by a tumor and lymphoma cancer.

Fortunately, for me at least, the nice lady with clever wit never got on a preacher’s pedestal which all too often here in rural, Hill Country Texas far too many climb on while in public with total strangers, no matter the circumstances. A slight, serious pet-peeve of mine. I enjoyed our brief chatting. She was very well-mannered, kind, polite, and respectful of my own, unspoken beliefs and world-view, despite never asking me what they might be. I am fine with that lack of intrusion. It shows class in my opinion. If I want to boldly share MY own source of happiness—which she had no idea did not include God—then I can speak up. And I certainly would have had I chosen to do so. I can be equally bold and audacious if the situation requires it. I am not shy about it knowing full-well my beliefs, world-view, etc., are VERY unpopular and uncommon in this area of Texas and the South. 😈

I did not however. My better judgement told me to keep this all pleasant and respectful when among total strangers.

But all good things must come to an end, right?

Ten or fifteen minutes had passed and the lobby began filling up with 2-3 other elderly ladies followed by an elderly couple, the man/husband was an obvious showman. He jokingly told the receptionist that he just tags along with her; she’s the boss. And finished the comedy show at the window saying they were “newlyweds.” This got chuckles from all the other ladies in the lobby. Sharing how long they had been married, one lady responded: “Ah, so you’re oldy-weds then.

This is the type of small-town country “friendliness” one can usually expect here. But beware. It has a double-razor’s-edge to it and can just as easily do a 180 on you. And sure enough our luck, my luck had run out in that peaceful, pleasant lobby chatting with the kind, classy lady.

The bold showman that just entered and sat down with his wife of near 50-years, quickly latched on to the polite lady I was having such an enjoyable time talking with. She was warm and engaging; that’s why he immediately seized the opportunity.

His opening line to the lady was a setup line for his next two audacious questions for a total stranger, and I quote:

  1. Do you believe in God?
  2. Do you believe in Jesus?

He closed his self-made pedestal introduction with “You need God, you need Jesus to get through this life.” And the man never even spent just two or three minutes simply and courteously speaking with the classy, well-mannered lady and listening to her at least twice as long! Had he just done that, he would’ve quickly realized the sheer stupidity of his first two opening questions to her—which ironically bordered on interrogation, in my pissed-off opinion with his lack of basic etiquette!

The lobby waiting room was turning into this…

As I sat there grinding my teeth, biting my tongue listening to this Snake Oil salesman, I said to myself, Mister, you better not address me with your presumptions and scam-sale, because if you do I am going to QUICKLY put you in your place and make you look dumb!

Just about that moment my delightful 84-year old neighbor who speaks five different languages fluently and reads/writes them as well… came out. She was finished with the neurologist, or the neurologist with her. I was literally SAVED by Rose! We call her Spanish Rose, because she is a wonderful firecracker of a tiger she is. 😄 Rose is very refreshing with her raw honesty.

I was so relieved she came out at that moment; my patience, blood, and blood-pressure was rapidly rising listening to this evangelical non-sense from this man. Believe me, my readied salvo-response to him would have silenced the entire lobby and office, including stunned looks from the clerical staff behind the window.

Here is my question to all of you. What would you have said (or not) had this total stranger of a loud-mouthed man asked you those two above questions?

Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often – Learn Always

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43 thoughts on “What Would You Have Said?

  1. HA! I enjoyed this post, PT. Casual, homey, personal.

    As to your question, my immediate response would have simply been “Nope.” However, had I given myself a few moments before answering, I would probably have said something like … “WHO?” … with a puzzled look on my face.

    It’s almost unbelievable that someone would sit down and the first thing out of their mouth would be such probing questions. But as you have said many times … you live in Texas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah. Mom almost has memorized my Top Four Places I Want to Live list:

      1. Denmark
      2. Finland
      3. Holland
      4. Iceland

      She knows all too well how much I loathe living here, and not in a huge metropolitan city, e.g. Dallas, Austin, Seattle, Portland, Baltimore, et al.

      A good response as well Nan. However, I wouldn’t have wanted to open the door for him to continue preaching. If I’m honest, I wanted to slam that door and (metaphorically) bloodied his nose. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good point! One can never be too careful with these religious NUTS! However, I wonder if there’s really ANY response that would stop a person like that in their tracks? Their need to evangelize and “save souls” seems to make them almost immune to rejection.

        As for moving elsewhere, personally I lean towards Australia. Aren’t those countries you mention on the (Brrr) COLD side?

        Liked by 1 person

        • They are. However, all the other social benefits, in my opinion, significantly outweigh the cold, frigid temps. But then again…

          with the Earth’s warming climate and all the ‘big players’ not doing enough about it to stop the warming, nor their own citizens… there won’t be much of winter anymore. Or at least the winters are becoming increasingly shorter and shorter every year. 🤷‍♂️ 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • Maybe winters are getting shorter in Europe, I have no idea. They are getting longer in Far Northern Alberta, with more and longer frigid periods too! Besides, the Scandinavian countries all border water, and the Gulf Current (I think that is it is called?) flows right between Denmark and Norway/Sweden and into the North Sea. That current ameliorates temperatures. But it can bring a lot of snow.
            As for stopping someone in theirvtracks, it would not surprise me if this guy was carrying heat, and willing to use it on non-God-loving folk. He would call it “doing God’s work”!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Whether or not packing a pistol, that is certainly something I must ALWAYS consider when confronting anyone with overly intrusive social-skills here in Wild Wild West Texas, where free-toting of concealed or unconcealed weapons is widely encouraged, yes. The vast majority of Red Texans here much prefer lawlessness—though they’d disguise that truth as ‘individual “freedoms & liberties” ‘—over too much big government. Pfffft! 🤦‍♂️ Great point rawgod. I mean, wouldn’t YOU be scared to death of me and that polite old classy lady in the lobby waiting area? 😄

              And btw, all the gun-loving “hunters” here seem to think that assault-style weapons are needed to totally obliterate the animal being hunted into a gazillion pieces. 🙄 Whatever.


            • That assault rifle for hunting is happening here in Alberta now too, and not to point fingers, but a lot of Americans, especially rich Texans, can come up here and use assault rifles while sitting in small aircraft — because we want to attract tourists who are willing to spend big money!!!!! We used to hwve laws abainst assault rifles and airplanes, but some uncaring bastard figured American m9ney is more important than animal lives. So now Canadian hunters are doing it too!
              But they, the Americans do get arrested and have to pay hefty fines if they are caught with unregistered guns. BUT THEY ARE NEVER JAILED! Not in Alberta. Wo7pdn’t want them to have records so they can’t come back next year and do it all again!

              Yeah, I am glad I don’t live in Texas where anyone can carry a weapon. To me that is a big consideration when talking to anyone now!

              Liked by 1 person

          • NZ would be my second choice. 😊 A friend and I visited both Australia and Aotearoa some 30+ years ago. We visited both islands, but as I recall, I think I favored the north island. In an event, regrettably, my chances of moving are less than remote.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I would start out asking if I knew him somehow? Where had we met? Surely I would have remembered meeting somebody as rude as you, sir. If he blusters on, I would ask his what his favorite ball team was? If he responded with any but a baseball team or with no team at all, I would say “Baseball is America’s pastime. Why do you hate America?”

    As you can see, I am not as nice as you. I might have asked your polite new friend immediately after those questions were asked of her, “Do you know this rude man? Would you like me to remove him from your presence?”

    If the man then blustered, I might ask him “Do you speak for God? Don’t you think He can speak for himself? Certainly God would not be so rude.”

    As I said, I am not as nice as you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • All very clever responses though Steve! 😉 I too have often wanted to QUESTION their lack of faith in God/Jesus dealing with me—isn’t He omniscient, omnipotent, etc, etc!? He doesn’t need you to do His work, right?

      Oh, come on Steve. You have a sweet side down in there, hidden away… right? 😉


  3. I would have said, calmly, and with a warm smile, “Nope! I’m an atheist who has no morals and often feeds on the infants of Christians along with my lizard-skinned alien democratic pals! It’s a fun life, and I recommend not mocking it til you try it.” Then I’d smile again, slightly belch, and pick up a magazine to read. I’ve done this before to Jehovah’s witnesses who’ve come a-knockin’ at my door and it always sorta quiets ’em done. No matter what kinda training they’ve had, it doesn’t, I assure you, prepare them for that answer. It’s my way of saying, “Mind yer own god damned business ya jerks!” 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. In s doctor’s office I possibly would have said not a word, just given him the Look! I would have left it up to him to be the aggressor or not. If he shut up, good. If not, depending on his tone, I would have said something, but it would have been clear to any eavesdroppers I was only defending myself. An open ended question something like: “And what makes you think I have need for help in living my life?”(Definietely redundant!) and let him hang himself on that. Or a close-ended question such as “Are you my confessor?” to see if he had any boundaries. From there, who knows. Maybe something like “You cannot know the mind of God. You certainly do not want to know mine!” said so full of sugar I would have been vomiting inside.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are much kinder than I am! Depending on my mood of the moment, which likely would not have been good if I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room twiddling my thumbs, I would have either said, “Bucko, this is a doctor’s office, not a friggin’ church … you wanna spew religion, go find y’self a church,” or else if my mood were lighter, I might have said what I usually say to such people, “Nah, I stopped reading fairy tales when I was a little kid.” You did well, Prof!

    Liked by 2 people

    • HAH! 😆 Jill, wish you had been there with me too, along with Jeff above/below(?). Well HELL… all of you would’ve been REAL DAYUM NICE! 😈 🤭 This is why I thought I should blog about it—to help my blood-pressure returning to normal and getting a lot of laughs from all you delightful BLUNT people! 😉 hehe

      Yeah Jill, one of my pat-answers or responses to people like this man is… Yes Sir/Ma’am, I believe in Santa Claus and Sasquatch too! They are MY personal Lords & Saviors. Everybody knows them and believes in them! PRAISE PRANCER, DIXON, COMET, and CUPID as well as those sneaky Sasquatches… who are certainly real, but just like your Jebus and Yahweh God, they’re always around but invisible too! 🤪

      Liked by 2 people

      • Who the hell is Dixon!? In Canada her name is Vixen, and she’s a sexy little thing that keeps the boys’ minds off the long trip! Impressing her makes them fly faster and longer! You know the drill!

        Liked by 1 person

        • You do realise that all of Santa’s reindeer are female? They are always depicted with antlers, which males loose over winter in order to grow bigger, more impressive ones for the next rutting/mating season. So the only boy on the trip is Santa himself.

          Liked by 2 people

          • BWAAA! Then that fact only strengthens my “intended” message… that myths and fairy-tales are merely inspiring fictions that grow bigger and bigger, generation over generation, ever evolving, ever adapting to the most recent storyteller’s cinematic license, right Barry? 😉

            And fyi, I’ll respond to your fine other comment tomorrow, for it has gotten pretty late here and I had a VERY busy, exhausting day. Please forgive me. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • Myths, fairy tales and legends can indeed be inspiring. Whether they’re based entirely on fiction or are based loosely on a historical event isn’t really important, provided one understands that their purpose is not to provide an accurate record of history, but to convey “truths” about the human spirit. Unfortunately far too many people, including those who should know better, who, at one end of the spectrum insist that the stories are historically accurate, while those at the other end of the spectrum insist the stories have no merit and are a pack of deliberate lies with the sole intent of power through deception.

              As far as I’m concerned, if a story doesn’t evolve generation by generation then it’s probably passed its “use by” date, except perhaps as light entertainment with no other redeeming features.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Unfortunately far too many people, including those who should know better, who, at one end of the spectrum insist that the stories are historically accurate…

              Boy, ain’t THAT the truth! This is the case, sadly, within my own two kids, their mom, and their maternal grandfather: they take the entire (Greek) canonical Bible… literally!!! In 95%–99% of all passages… it really actually happened EXACTLY as the Old & New Testaments put it! Nothing is or was lost in translation, to name only one out of MULTITUDES of other massive problems and rampant contradictions of those ancient texts!!! 😳🤦‍♂️

              And because I am Satan’s right-hand man—i.e. don’t believe exactly in their maternal family’s theology (Evangy-Fundamentalism)—since October 2019 they no longer speak to me or consider me as existing on this planet. This level of “hate” comes directly from their maternal grandfather and his family of missionaries & ministers. To put this in more precise perspective Barry, I only just found out, thru my sister no less(!) on Facebook, that I have a granddaughter, born December 18th, 2022. My Mom (their Nanna) never knew this either!

              That’s the level of hate and extreme literalism they’ve been brainwashed with. It is SO very disappointing and awful. 😞


          • You are correct on one thing, rutting male reindeer lose their antlers after mating season, so generally before xmas time. Generally.
            But what I got wrong was the male reindeer pulling Santa’s sled — if there were a Santa — are only male in name. They have been castrated, so there is no need to impress Ms Vixen. Santa had to castrate the males because he did not want any hanky-panky going on during his awesome flight, while standing on rooftops waiting for Santa to reappear from down the chimney. What would the children’s parents think!
            Meanwhile, I still want to know how Santa gets in and out of apartment blocks, but even more pertinent, prisons — without spearheading a prison break. You know every prisoner wished for freedom for xmas.!

            Liked by 2 people

            • Of course castration doesn’t guarantee no hanky-panky, although it does tend to reduce the frequency and guarantees no unexpected baby Rudolph.

              Apartment blocks don’t exist in this corner of the world so I can’t help you with that problem, but perhaps he uses the same technique he uses here for homes that have no chimneys. In many parts of the country fireplaces/wood burners/coal fires etc are banned due to the pollution they cause and homes are no longer built with chimneys. According to my grandson, Santa uses a device to beam himself in and out of dwellings in a manner similar to how Star Trek crew beam on and off the Enterprise. The same source told me that according to legend, when Santa first started delivering presents, naughty children got a lump of coal instead of a present, so perhaps there are still some people who are deserving of nothing more than a lump of coal, or a modern day equivalent as coal is such a bad pollutant.

              Just ask the young ones. They generally know more about this sort of stuff than adults do.

              As an aside, I was six, perhaps seven when I calculated that Santa had just 30 hours in which to visit around a billion households – about 10,000 homes per second, and therefore impossible even if I my calculations were out by several orders of magnitude. My grandson has speculated that perhaps he is able to break the space time continuum in some way so that he can visit every household within the 30 hour window. If I had thought of such a possibility perhaps I might have clung onto a desire to believe in the existence of a Santa for another year or two.

              Liked by 2 people

            • I would ask the young ones, but I don’t know any. The youngest person I presently know to talk to is in her 20s, so doesn’t believe in Santa anymore. And if I tried asking a kid about how Santa accomplishes his yearly feat, I would probably be arrested for child abuse or something. Old men cannot bebtrusted around bhildren anymore, you know!

              Liked by 2 people

            • Being 73 myself, I’m only too well aware of the truth of your last sentence above. It’s doubly dangerous for me as being autistic, my facial expressions and body language can often be misconstrued by others, and always in the worst possible way. And parents are no exception. Children seem to be less bothered.

              I find children fascinating because they can have such vivid imaginations and haven’t been conditioned to not think outside the box. But it’s a no longer an avenue I can safely indulge in as my grandparents could in their day 😦

              Liked by 1 person

            • This is yet another sad commentary on our society, but at the same time it is a necessary one, in ways. A woman was just arrested in Edmonton for sexually assaulting her own child (sex and age unknown but under 10), taking pictures of the assaults, and distributing them over the internet. Hopefully the child is so young they don’t “know” they have been assaulted, but somewhere along the line they will be needing a lot of therapy, because their body will know.
              Yet another reason for my crusade to end the nuclear family. If this mother had not distributed the pictures no one would have known, and the child would be ruined for life!


      • Heck yes, we’d have put that dude into his place but FAST!!! I hear you, my friend. Every now and then, we get some Christian group knocking on our door peddling their brand of ‘Christianity’ and it makes my blood boil, too. If I answer the door, I tell them to take their fairy tales elsewhere and then I firmly close the door in such a way as to make it clear they should NOT knock again!

        I’m glad you posted this, in part because it reminded me that I still haven’t visited your latest post about the rewrite of the Constitution! I bookmarked it, but forgot to go back to it. I will definitely do so tomorrow! A bit under the weather this week, so I seem to be less efficient than usual.

        Hugs ‘n love to you and to your mom, my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I simply can’t make small talk, so I would not have got into a conversation with anyone in the first place. But I have been approached on occasions by individuals with an proselytising intent, and not always of a Christian or religious nature. Racists, misogynists, vegans, “New Atheists”, anti vaxxers, and many more also come to mind.

    In a confrontational situation such as you describe, I have responded with “Which God and which Jesus, for there are many”, and smiled. That floors them, at least temporarily, and before they can formulate a response, I continued with something like “But there’s only one Satan. Would you like me to teach you how he can lead you to your true destiny?” I have used this approach on several occasions and have yet to meet a Christian evangelist who wishes to enter into dialogue. They usually attempt a hasty retreat. I wish a similar approach was as successful with other types of “missionaries” 🙂

    If I’m in the mood (which is rarely) I don’t mind entering into dialogue with zealots of any kind. It challenges one’s own convictions, which I am convinced is a healthy practice, but it’s one I practice only if someone else starts the conversation, otherwise I’m no different from them.

    I will make the observation that having survived 60 years of being an undiagnosed autistic, I long ago learnt (the hard way) that how others perceive my actions, words, and/or deeds can be very different from what I intend. I therefore extend to others the possibility that their actions, words, and/or deeds to which I have taken a dislike, might be due to a miscommunication or a difference in communication styles. If nothing else, it keeps my blood pressure level 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Stuff it grandpa!

    Would probably escalate from there… to something about not having any real use for his imaginary friends.

    If, I decide to go there. Like you I generally want to stand on an even keel. Keep things at the pleasantries level. But if I was religiously assaulted like that, I don’t know how long I could hold my tongue.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep, I was right there on the tipping point when our lovely neighbor Rose came out. Whew, I was very very close to confronting him verbally with NOTHING minced in the least!

      Then Rose and I could not get out of there fast enough! 🏃🏻🏃🏼‍♀️


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