My close friends say that I’m a crazy person magnet. It’s somewhat true. Strangers say things to me that I would only tell my best friends. In the grocery store line someone will tell me about the special meal they are preparing and why. Waiters will pull up a seat and tell me they are considering dropping out of college. A 70 year old lady at the pool flashed her tits to me ( Oh yes she did and they were outstanding. I know 45 year olds who would be thrilled to have this lady’s rack).
My son, who likes philosophy says that my problem is that I view everyone as “I-you” and no one as “I-it.” I disagree. It’s the red hair. Red heads are by definition mutants. Freaks. Crazy people look at the hair and they see a fellow outcast. Throw in a wheelchair and you have a perfect storm.
Today’s crazy sightings were the flower delivery guy and the wedding site grounds manager. The flower delivery guy – a smooth customer sporting a grey parka and a Borat-style accent says to me:
“Do you get deez flawerz fram your boyFREN?”
“Highly improbable” answer I.
“Well den” he leers “ I weel like to be your boyFREN,.”
Now as much as I love a man who’s missing a tooth or two, this feels a bit sudden to me and I hate to rush into things. I have Kathy on hold for which I’m grateful particularly when he asks me :
“ Do you not have sam wan to help you here?”
“Yes” I reply “This is her on the phone now.”
I don’t know what scares me more – the thought that he was buttering me up for a tip and that was his best play ( for once in my life, I stiffed him) or that he was some kind of wheelchair predator.
Later in the evening I go a wedding rehearsal for this Sunday’s upcoming nuptials where once again, I’m officiating. The wedding is taking place in the heart of the ghetto and the grizzled groundskeeper smells like he lives on one of the nearby streets. Again he is a tooth or two short (swoon) and he has nautical tattoos on his forearms – or at least they appear nautical – they are faded beyond recognition and so is he. After the rehearsal he asks me about my ministry and I explain that I’m ordained by the internet. I am pretty sure this guy hasn’t heard of the internet and he continues to refer to my ministry as though I’m L. Ron Hubbard, despite me insisting I just like marrying people. He himself started a church in his livingroom but ultimately decided to expand to a “sidewalk ministry” which shifts locations periodically. Yep. He’s a crazy man who talks about Jesus on street corners and of the 15 people at the rehearsal he found me.
Then comes the inevitable question about the wheelchair, my answer and the surprising response.
“God chose you for this ministry. You are god’s hand and you bring a great gift to all the people you touch because of how you accept death God chose you because you accept death without complaint.”
“Well I wish I’d gotten that memo because I would have complained like a motherfucker if I had known I could avoid this.”
“God gave you that sense of humor too.”
“Did he give me a sense of humor or did he make human beings so silly you have to laugh at them?”
“You see? Your ministry is so important. People need to hear what you have to say. I hope you can keep preaching for a long time to come.”
At this point I give up trying to convince him I am not a preacher, I have no ministry, I’m not a cute crippled servant of the lord and I just shake hands with him and say “ see you Sunday.”
“I’m not working Sunday.”
“Maybe I’ll just stop by and say hello.”