This is the first in a series of guest posts from once and future Surf Report columnists, graciously provided to take up the slack while I’m off crying softly into a book manuscript. This first offering is by Brad, who used to write a great column here called Exit 149. Enjoy! -Jeff
Not much good comes from an unexpected knock on the door. I don’t know if people still ask to use the phone when their cars break down, but around here, an unexpected knock usually means a wino or a druggie who “wants” to do odd jobs in exchange for quick cash. I’m not having any of that, thank you, so most knocks go unanswered at my house. They’re a hassle and usually end in disappointment.
I remember a time during my first go at college an unexpected knock
occurred after 11 p.m. on a Saturday night. I went to the door and was
pleasantly surprised to see a girl I had a crush on standing in front
of me. It was like a dream come true and I immediately began composing
a letter to Penthouse Forum in my head. However, I wasn’t even near
the end of the opening sentence of the first draft when she told me
she was looking for the lacrosse-playing drug-dealing studs who lived
across the hall. My luck answering doors haven’t improved much since
But I was expecting someone recently when I answered a knock. I had no
clue what was waiting for me on the other side.
Instead of the person I was expecting, there were two well-dressed men
on my porch. One of them had a nice-looking hat–not a fedora, but
somewhere in that neighborhood. It was obvious they were not here to
offer up their services for odd jobs. These men were Jehovah’s
Witnesses and they wanted a few minutes of my time. My gut reaction
was to tell them no and never come back, but I opened the door, so I
had to pay the price. It’s not a set rule–more like a code I follow.
These Jehovah’s Witnesses were nice enough, but that’s to be expected
from them. I don’t recall many stories of surly Jehovah’s Witnesses
roughing up homeowners. It’s possible I missed one somewhere along the
way. I think they were surprised I let them stay on the porch and
talk. I wasn’t going to convert. I have nothing against religion, but
it’s not really my cup of tea. I also have no problem with people
following what they want. It’s a tough world and everyone needs to
find something to give him/her comfort. That being said, I don’t think
your religion is exactly kicking ass if you have to go door-to-door
So I stood on the porch and let them have their moment. Non-hat did
all the talking and all the pamphlet handing out. The hat-wearer stood
off to the side and did his part of nodding his head. Until the end of
non-hat’s speech. That’s when hat-wearer kicked it into gear. Like I
said, I suspect these men are used to door being closed in their faces
and since they had someone actually letting them talk, they were going
to take advantage of it. Hat-wearer told me tales of woe in this world
and how people are going to hell. He never tried to directly recruit
me. He attempted the fear method on me. To no avail. I mean, Fox News
is the king of fear mongering and even it doesn’t faze me.
They left after they were both talked out and I went inside, tossed
the pamphlets onto the table and waited for the person I was
expecting. An hour went by, give or take, and the doorbell rang again.
I went to the door, opened it and was greeted by a scraggly looking
“I noticed your gutters are in need of some cleaning. I can do it for $20.”
What’s the most recent unsolicited door-knocker you’ve encountered? What was his/her angle? Please tell us about it in the comments. And thanks for reading!