The Bridge Troll


Joe Smith

Last Saturday morning I took a walk which began and ended painlessly, but got snagged up in the middle. Upon my approach to the midpoint of the local walking bridge, a young man wearing a white oxford shirt and black dockers emerged from his hiding place to the side and began to speak to me, no heed paid to my obvious white iPod headphones. His lips moved with the sperrit and I made eye contact — well of course I did, he was addressing me! The cunning! There I was, laid prone to an impromptu public sermon at the hands of Johnny Mormon. Me, with my imposing black hoodie and sideburns, an obvious hooligan in need of some divine guidance from an Elder much younger than myself.

I didn’t stop walking, but he fell instep beside me. I sped up, maintaining approximately three feet between us.

The earbuds flew from my skull with a waxy pop, perspiration starting to flow from both the slightly quickened pace as well as the building dread of my immediate future.

“Excuse me sir, but I’m with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I was wondering if you believe in God?”

Talk about a loaded question.

Here I could have had a field day, but I held back. Bit my tongue. I figured if this young man was in the business of accosting people with nothing more than a postcard and the power of the lord or Joseph Smith or, uh, Harry Dean Stanton, then who was I to piss on his parade? If this poor sap has nothing better to do than appoach complete strangers in the rain, then who am I to pass judgement? I don’t swear at panhandlers and I don’t steal candy from babies.

“I don’t know… not really. Not at the moment anyways.”

He’s still all smiles.

“Well then, is there any one reason you lost the faith?”

The intro riff to Raining Blood is coming out of my fallen earbuds.

“Uh…no not really.”

The general state of the world perhaps?

He then begins to ramble on about salvation, forgiveness and faith — pretty much the same Christianity for Dummies spiel we’ve all heard at one point or another.

I listen to him. But I really need to get going and the end of the bridge is in sight.

“We believe that there is a prophet on the earth right now who can offer hope in the face of hopelessness and I can tell you about him if you’d be willing to listen.”

“I can respect that, man, but I need to get going.”

“At least take a card. There’s a website on it that you should really check out.”

I took the card and stashed it in my pocket for later use.

No! I threw it on the ground and ground my heel into it until it stopped moving. No! Just kidding. I’m still using it. It makes a great bookmark for my limited edition Oxford Standard Satanic Bible. No, not really! Jeepers.

It’s actually lodged between pages 52 and 53 of Douglas Coupland’s Microserfs.


9 Responses to “The Bridge Troll”

  1. Kudos to you for not wasting paper, and for being polite and respectful despite being accosted. “Evangelism” was never really a concept I could get used to. I’m more of a “lead your life by example and answer questions when people ask them” person.

  2. The general state of the world wouldn’t be a reason to lose confidence in God, since the general state of the world is made by human beings. God didn’t make the world you see. You might want to check out the first few lessons of A Course in Miracles.

  3. 3 arsebundren

    Christian Prophet,

    Fair enough, but one could argue that the general state of the world has been brought about by people with confidence in god acting in what they believe to be their best interests, which — by transitive properties — one can only assume to be the interests of their god. It’s all fine and dandy to speak of god in abstract terms, but it ignores the simple fact that any church is an assembly of people, an organization which physically interacts with its surroundings. All of this happens whether god exists or not — a topic which I find trite and meaningless. The world will exist as it does whether I believe in Jesus, Buddha, or Jose Canseco — it doesn’t matter. Thanks for the sales pitch.

  4. there’s a real live prophet on the planet now!…. and he has his own web site!?!?!

    How come no one has interupted my choice of music to tell me? maybe I just dont frequent the kinda toll bridges that you do…

    Anyhow….. at least you can do is let us know the web address

  5. 5 arsebundren

    Nah, it’s just the official Mormon site… nothing too spectacular. I was hoping for so much more.

  6. I have to say I admire you for successfully bitting your tongue. In events like that I can almost never do that. To not much effect unfortunately. 😐

    However a friend of mine once went as far as joining some weekly debate club of a group like that. You know, he is a bit on the philosophical side.
    As he said, even when he proved his (maybe a bit heretical) point beyond a reasonable doubt and the others had no more arguments, they still didn’t agree with his point of view. The only result was a bunch of pitiful looks.
    They had good (free) sandwiches and snacks on those meetings, so he kept going for more than a month. 🙂 He never successfully talked me into tagging along though.

  7. Someday I’m going to muster up the nerve to ask one of those Mormons if I can see their special underpants.

  8. Just one? Don’t they usually travel in pairs?

  9. 9 arsebundren

    There were two of them, but the other fellow held back and let his partner approach me on the solo tip.

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