If you read this blog even causally, you know what a fan I am of Don Quixote. It is a delightful book that everyone should read. In a way, my writing about the book is an effort to share my joy about Cervantes’ crowning achievement. But there are other ways to do that.
Here’s one. I could go door to door every Saturday and talk to people. “Hi! I was wondering if you’ve read Don Quixote?” The middle aged woman stares at me blankly. “No? I’d like to read you a passage from Part 1, Chapter 7, The Second Sally. ‘At that instant Don Quixote began shouting…'”
I suspect if I did that people would either think that I was crazy or that I was involved in some kind of prank. They would just want to get rid of me. But it would be different if somehow they managed to see that I really do love that book and I really do want to share my love of it. In that case, they would think that I was just this rude guy who thinks that he has a right to bother other people who are otherwise enjoying their weekend.
But wait, there’s more! Suppose that I wasn’t just spreading the good word about what a great read Don Quixote is. Suppose I was selling a subscription service. Suppose I wanted to get them to come to Don Quixote appreciation meetings where they would be expected to pay dues! In that case, I think these front door confrontations might turn violent.
This is how I feel about the Jehovah’s Witnesses who come to my front door almost every Saturday: they are incredibly self-serving and rude. It is every bit as repugnant as the kids who come through the neighborhood selling magazines. Perhaps worse, because the kids at least admit to what they are doing.
What’s more, because I truly am interested in spiritual matters I find it annoying that I can’t discuss these issues with them. If you’ve ever talked to them, you know how it goes. Start talking to them about cosmology or theodicy and what you get back is some Bible verse. Truly, if you argue with them about how all of their beliefs depend upon the core belief that the Bible is actually the word of God, they have an answer. They will turn to John whatever and show you that the book says right there that it is the word of God. So any discussion with them is nothing more than the most aggravating tautology you will ever deal with.
I really don’t know what to do about these people. I don’t like to be rude to people, even when they are being rude to me. Perhaps the next time they come, I can bring a copy of Don Quixote to the door. And for only $12.95, it too can be theirs.