Saturday, August 8, 2015


*written in early 2011

The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him. 

Tess-TEE-goes de Yeah-HO-vah, they announced almost like a prayer. The obvious Spanish meant they’d probably hit the wrong door. They were rapping on MY door. Buenos dias?, came the question that isn’t really a question. 

No, gracias, I responded distractedly.

Hablas espanol? a feminine voice continued.

No, gracias, I answered.

Sir, is SO AND SO home? We’re here to give a free Bible study, continued the female voice.

I guess the gal who lived here before me spoke Spanish AND she was looking into becoming a Witness, as in a Jehovah’s Witness. I smiled. Sorry, she no longer lives here, I said, opening the door slightly.

That’s how it started. 


Two lovely women, dressed as if they’d stepped out of a tacky Target advertisement, smiled back at me. Ugh. I couldn’t resist. 

Yeah, she isn’t here, I repeated. I should’ve never opened the door. 

Sales pitch. I listened, and it brought me back to my time in prison. She followed the script alright, hitting on the key points. Oh my good baby Jesus, I wanted to puke. Hahahaha. I remember how MIND NUMBING sitting and listening to fucking Witnesses was during prison. 

Okay, okay. I dig the J-dubs. 

They’re a canary in the mine-shaft of a free society. The fact they exist and are allowed to wander around, pestering with proselytizing, is a good, good thing. It means at least a small segment of this wretched country is still somewhat open.

But that is where my like ends.

A few years ago, someone I cared very deeply for was infected with J-dub idiocy. IT DROVE ME NUTS. 

This person was an incredible brain, open to new ideas, and had only the entirety of human thought to explore. Everything was open. But slowly, this person’s mind closed. Out of fear. The person I cared for was racked with guilt, with terror, at taking the most innocent action. This person would LITERALLY SHAKE at local J-dub rumors of End Times, of the entire world coming to an end. It is a horrifying prospect to scare the shit out of congregants, in my opinion. 

All religions do this to one extent or another. True. But the Witnesses take the fucking cake in this regard. So sad people allow such illogical thinking to influence them. No doubt in my mind this person, my former friend, will one day become a full member of that sorry-ass collective. No doubt.

Back to the narrative. 

One of the Target models, the quiet one, spied a glimpse of my bookshelf. You have a lot of books, she noted.

Yep, I half answered. I’d invite you in, but I am not comfortable with having strange women in my place.

They laughed.

The leader JW lady continued in a strange cadence familiar to me because of my prison experience  -- questions that would, when posed to a normal person, answer themselves. 

Their questions often ended with, Wouldn’t that be great? and Don’t you think so? The idea is to soft-sell, allowing the mark to believe he or she is leading the conversation. It’s subtle, but very lame.

All of the sudden they HEARD me, really heard me. When they waited for an audible answer (again, they were used to everyone just nodding and agreeing, if only to get them to leave), I let out a sound they were not expecting. 

I answered NO.

No is powerful. No stops a conversation. No is impolite. No is sure.

No, I said.

Nooooooo? the more vocal Target model asked. You don’t want to live in paradise?

That’s not paradise, I insisted. Having the world destroyed, and then handing it over to a dude and his minions for one thousand years isn’t my idea of fun. That’s insanity. INSANE. What kind of sick fucking god would do that? Think about it. HE created us … to … fail. HE created this retarded play only HE knows the ending to, all the parts, and why any of this was set in motion. It’s a stupid way to live. Your god sucks. Your god is an annoying monster, killer, and masochist. Your god is confusing, hateful, and life denying.

I thought that would do it. I thought for sure they’d turn and run. I waited.

Well, the J-dub continued without missing a beat, you have to admit Jesus was the greatest man who ever lived.

No, I shook my head.  

Noooooo? she asked again.

No, I warmed up to the little debate we were beginning to have. 

Your Jesus didn’t really impress me much. In the Greek Scriptures (I learned to use JW vernacular) Christ is a megalomaniacal cult leader. Sure, he challenges some norms of the times, but he apologizes for the Hebrew Scriptures and insists those who don’t IMMEDIATELY agree with him are doomed. That’s childish, don’t you think? If someone disagrees with you, this makes them evil to the point of everlasting isolation or death? He calls people vipers, and he asks people to eat him. Crazy shit. Makes no sense. That, and the letters of Paul and his ilk are at times in DIRECT contradiction to their leader’s teachings. Have you read the ENTIRE canon’s library, or just bits and pieces, here and there?

Important note. 

JWs are scripted, and MUST redirect the conversation to pre-scripted points. Thinking on the fly isn’t one of their strong suits. THEY CANNOT DO IT. They cannot see patterns of thought, and they’re worse at taking an idea to its logical conclusion. So, if I am not ALREADY a believer, one with a predisposition to ALREADY believe in god and so forth, they’re really stuck. It’s almost comical.

The quieter one, the lady who noticed my books, was staring HARD at me, watching my lips. I watched her watching me. I thought maybe she was thinking I would break out a knife and stab her or something, … because she kind of looked scared. 

But when I said the phrase crazy shit, or right around that part, she cracked a revealing grin toward me, a grin her more vocal counterpart could not see. 

Just me. I saw it. She saw me see it. We had a moment. Nice.

Enough of YOU, I laughed, motioning to the JW leader. What do YOU think? I asked, looking back just as hard at the lady who grinned at me.

Sir, the vocal one began, answering for the silent grin lady, she is just here with me today to observe.

Okay, but she must have SOME thoughts that aren’t someone else’s, right? I asked insultingly. Allow HER to answer for HERSELF.

The grinning cutie grinned AGAIN at me, and again out of the sight of her partner. 

She shrugged and remained silent. I could tell she was DYING to engage me in a philosophical conversation, one where she could speak her mind, one where she could be completely honest.

As the leader JW started back to the script, I cut her off. I am TIRED of you. You’re nice, but you’re a lost cause. You cannot be moved. This is your life. I get it. I respect it. YOU, I pointed to the grinner, you can come back when she’s not around. We’ll have lunch, and I’ll let you thumb through my library. I’ll show you classics of human thought, cutting edge ideas, and the beauty of culture. But you have to be brave enough to step outside of your comfort zone. You must be mentally strong. You know where I live. Don’t close your mind, please.

SHE GRINNED AGAIN, and was caught by her master. 

I cannot tell you what a victory that was. Beautiful smile, and beautiful because it was a human being expressing FREEDOM in raw form. Unregulated. Purposeful. FREE. Loved her smile.

The leader begged off, and escorted the grinner away from Satan The Devil, me. Hahahaha.

Wanna know what’s funny?

The grinner came back.

And I mean it.
Craig Edward Kelso is the author of Anarcho-Capitalism (2014), a primer on the philosophy of peaceful, stateless cooperation. His curriculum vitae include a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego State University, and a Post-Baccalaureate secondary education credential in both Social Science and English Language Arts. Kelso taught for nearly a decade in the American public school system, and was voted by colleagues Teacher of the Year, twice in his short tenure, earning numerous accolades from chambers of commerce, mayors, state assembly persons, governors, congresspersons, senators, and even Wal-Mart. Currently he struggles to earn an opportunity to be employed, working as a laborer, dishwasher. He is deliriously happily married to Myra Kelso, living in Southern California with their adorable children. 

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