So, I get hit with the anger issue again. This time I was talking with someone who assumed I was a Mormon. This assumption stems from the fact that I don’t drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and religiously avoid the ingestion of any psychoactive materials. There are people (who might be called pissants) who point out that caffeine is a powerful psychoactive chemical, and I ingest lots of coffee and the like. There is usually not coffee at events where I might be confused as a Mormon so that lack of purity was not immediately obvious.
There is a type of conversation where two Mormons will test each other’s status by listing their vices. When I am being honest in such a conversation it can appear like I am touting the robustness of my mormoness. Usually the conversation segues into a listing of church duties and it becomes obvious that I am not LDS.
When I make statements like: “I don’t do anything for the church, in fact I don’t even attend, because I am not LDS, and I have no intention of ever becoming LDS” the statements are carefully dissected by the LDS listener who sometimes gleans a hint at the possibility that I am not Mormon.
If they get the hint they usually ask: “So you are NOT LDS?”.
“No” I say “I am not LDS”.
Then, and they always do this, they say: “That’s OK”.
I often find myself wanting to retort with: “I think so too”, and sometimes I do.
Occasionally the Mormon conversant is less than pure in his (invariably a white male) mormonhood. When they admit to “tasting a few beers on the weekends” the conversation shifts from further delving into our mutual purity reports into other matters. Often the matters are political. I once got a detailed description of the nuts-n-bolts of the Lewinsky-Clinton affair; I should have resisted my urge to ask if he had bought his wife a blue dress. On the occasion that precipitated this blog entry the conversation shifted to atheists; I successfully resisted the urge to proclaim that I was an “Adult Onset Atheist”.
“What about that Richard Dawkins fellow, he is so mean and angry” said the pasty middle-aged man who thought I was a mormon.
“Dick?” I replied.
“HaHa good one, yeah these atheists just hate everything good in the world” he chuckled back.
“I hate it when that happens…” I said “But I always pictured Dawkins as a soft spoken English person with an agreeable somewhat pithy disposition. I don’t think I would like to have him on my dissertation committee, but can’t really say why without giving the idea more attention than it deserves. Why do you think him so angry and mean?”
“I know he appears nice and well mannered” he replied.
I found myself thinking “He seems some way, but you have inside information to the contrary?" You, who have been talking to me one-on-one for ten minutes and still think I am a tithing member of the LDS church? OK, bring it on.
“He is just hiding his extreme anger, sometimes it even comes out in what he says” He continued.
“What did he say that you found particularly angry or mean?” I asked; thinking at the same time that it would not be very hard to tease angry mean and lowbrow comments from me out of this blog.
“I can’t think of any” he said “but he is always saying such mean things”
It was time to end the conversation about unidentified ephemeral somethings that conclusively proved poorly-defined evilness in somebody I’ve never met.
“Have you seen the deserts?” I asked “I hope they have some Blue Jello; It is my favorite!”
“Blue Jello?” he replied “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Blue Jello. Are you sure they make Blue Jello?”
“Yes, Its my favorite. I’ll have to go pop into the kitchen and check” I replied while edging away “The Blue Jello…is…y’know….Blue”