Remembering in how many countries the Jehova’s Witnesses have already visited me at home could almost make me paranoid: in Germany, England, Malta, Lithuania, Italy, Romania, Bolivia and Peru. In Sicily and in Romania they showed up within days after me moving in, as if Mr Jehovah had an intelligence operation that is constantly monitoring all moves and movements around the world. Often, the Jehova’s Witnesses stopped by to welcome me to their hood before the internet guys – whom I had asked to come – managed to do so. This actually led me to a business idea which I should convey to the CEO of the Jehova’s Witnesses if I ever meet him.
And then there are the old ladies talking to me in the park, the younger ladies standing in pedestrian zones with their evolution-misunderstanding pamphlets, and the gentlemen who seat themselves next to me on the train, always quite coincidentally of course.
Based on my roughly 67 encounters with the Jesus Witnesses, I meanwhile know how to keep them at bay:
- Pointing out that I am an atheist, that I have been an atheist for 25 years, and yes, that I have thought about this seriously, and that – when I grow impatient, I sometimes become elitist – I studied philosophy, after all, and that I have thus reflected on the important aspects of life at a higher level than is possible in a doorstep conversation, is absolutely useless.
- Humor doesn’t help either. “Oh, is it Halloween already?” admittedly is a very low-level joke anyway, but it met humor-resistant ears. Maybe humor is as taboo as tobacco and alcohol.
- Smoking cigars while the abstainers are smoldering their sermons, doesn’t help either. It may even make them feel like better humans. “Did you see the poor, weak sinner, smoking demonic herbs?” they say to each other with a sad look, as they leave.
- Extremely aggressive unfriendliness may help, but it’s not in my nature. Sadly, I have always been in a good mood when the preachers rang the bell.
But now comes the trick:
- Already on three occasions, the Jehova’s Witnesses left of their own volition after half a minute. Each time, one of the Witnesses was giving his speech, while the other one inspected me and then noticed something that he didn’t like at all. Shocked, he pulled his colleague by the sleeve, pointed to my belly, his mouth open in horror, and both of them say goodbye very quickly.
What had happened?
- I have a sweater with the logo of the Israeli Air Force. It’s very cozy, so I often wear it at home. And thus, my chest is adorned with the Star of David, which apparently makes the Witnesses run for their lives.
The first time, it happened in Malta, where I still attributed it to the anti-Semitism which is part of the local folklore. But when exactly the same happened in Lithuania and in Romania, I recognized a pattern that went beyond the personal prejudice of the individual standing in my door.
But at least now you know how to get rid of these obtrusive guys. Good luck!