Wednesday was a rather interesting day, to say the least. While it started out just like any other day, the moment I stepped off the bus I knew I was in for something different. That something was an avalanche of men dressed in suits with nicely parted hair and glasses. Indeed, it was the Gideons!
If you have never encountered the Gideons, allow me to describe the experience:
You're walking along your normal route, a heavily trafficked area of campus. You suddenly spy a couple of well-dressed (i.e. in suit and tie) men with a stack of books in their respective hands. They also have a large box full of their [presumably abridged] Holy Bibles. At each strategic location, there are at least two men present (I've never before seen a female Gideon). The idea is that, with two of them present, they'll be able to reach more disparate souls, statistically speaking.
You walk by, not about to let them disrupt your routine. Suddenly, a hand stretches out to hand you a Bible, only at first you think it's about to strike you, and so you rapidly jump backwards into your perfect Tai Kwan Do stance and karate chop with all your might the arm to which the hand is attached. Mere milliseconds before your karate chop strikes, you realize that you are in fact safe; that the Gideon means you no harm, only good. Thank goodness for lightning quick reflexes.
Okay, so it's not exactly like that. But the point is, you get a little book shoved in your face. The Gideons mean well, and are very interested in saving all the nearly hopeless souls on the college campus. Especially the likes of yours truly, who has several strikes against him thanks to those who (ahem) draw his attention, as well as a religious conviction that involves only an earlier edition to said text.
The real kicker is that the Gideons like to hit not just one, but all (or as many as they can) of the busy spots on campus. So if, like me, you had to run all over campus on that particular day (which would be unfortunate timing, to say the least), and your general destinations all involved fairly populous areas of campus, you would find yourself encountering the suited men repeatedly. Like ten times. And each time, you get asked if you want the little book by not one, but both or all three or four of the Gideons at each station.
Needless to say, it grows tiresome, and one can only say "no" with so much sincerity and creativity a finite (read: minimal) number of times. Before long, all you can say is "Hi" and keep your head pointed directly to the ground to actually make it through.
But beware, you might get certain comments in passing, as I did. One Gideon commented on my shirt in an effort to strike up a dialogue: "Dream Theater." It just so happened that I was wearing a Dream Theater t-shirt at the time. I gave him props for trying, but not enough that I actually responded. Sorry, Gideon.
So should you ever come across these fine folks (they really are nice people), you'll know who they are (that is, if you don't already) and what to expect from them. For my part, I thank them for breaking my routine as well as for providing me (unbeknownst to them) with some blog material.
Here's to you, Gideons.