Field Service, Anyone?
The human brain is a non-stop chattering machine. It is constantly evaluating, making decisions and judgments. There is not a human being alive that isn't an abject hypocrite nearly every day. When we engage in normal pleasantries, our minds are constantly thinking thoughts that are directly opposite to what comes out of our mouths.
VOICE: "My, what a lovely dress, you are wearing?"
MIND: "But YOU are still uglier than sin!"
Stuff like that. Well, dubs are no different. I was thinking about my old field service days recently and about what I said and what I thought at the time. I'm sure what I did, said and thought were not dissimilar to what many of you did, said and thought. My field service "presentation" was probably not much different that what is still being used today, either. Despite the thousands and thousands of hours in Service Meeting training sessions, the field service presentation usually boils down to:
"We sure live in a screwed-up world, don't we? Just look around and you can see how screwed-up it really is. For instance, the news recently reported....(add the latest bad news here)....Would you like to live in a world that isn't screwed-up? The Bible will show you how, and these magazines will show you what the Bible should have showed you in the first place."
That's about it.
So, around thirty years ago for me, it was time for Saturday field service. We all gathered at the Hall for the text and the standard pep-talk, and everyone of us wished for the same thing during it all: "take all the time you need giving us that pep talk. The more time we spend in here, the less time we have to spend out THERE."
Then it was time to organize the car groups. Even though there were only about fifteen or twenty people, that whole process still takes another twenty minutes. Yep, everyone ELSE is trying to stall, too! Whoever is in charge of car these groups has this uncanny knack for assigning field service partners who cannot stand each other. I don't know how they do that. Finally, we are in the cars headed for our territory and going five miles per hour. On the Freeway, no less.
After we get out of our cars we survey the neighborhood and carefully note in our minds how many parked cars we see. In dubland, the good/bad experience of field service is in direct proportion to the number of parked cars in the neighborhood. Lots of parked cars = miserable field service day. No parked cars = great field service day.
As we are walking to our first door, a strange thing happens. The gravity in the neighborhood has suddenly shifted from "normal" to "black hole." Our legs begin to weigh hundreds of pounds and lifting them to take each step becomes a most difficult task. In order to not abuse our bodies, we respectfully subject ourselves to this new gravity and take it very easy as we walk.
MY VOICE TO MY PARTNER: "What a lovely day to be serving Jehovah."
MY MIND: "Can't you walk any SLOWER?"
MY PARTNER: "Yes, it is. It is such a privilege to be sharing in the world-wide preaching work."
MY PARTNER'S MIND: "I wish he would walk SLOWER."
MY VOICE: "Would you like to take the first door?"
MY MIND: "PLEASE say 'yes!'"
MY PARTNER: "Oh, why don't you do it, so I can learn from your presentation."
MY PARTNER'S MIND: "I sure hope he falls for this one."
MY VOICE: "Alright."
MY VOICE: "Just remember, NEVER thank householders for their time. Remember that we are taught that WE are doing them a favor and that OUR time is what is valuable in this life-saving work. Their time is not important because WE are offering something life-saving.
MY MIND: "I feel like a dork not being polite and thanking them for their time."
We push the doorbell, but can't hear a ring. We wait five minutes and push the doorbell and still can't hear a ring. After another five minutes we come to the sudden realization that perhaps the doorbell doesn't work and remember that Jehovah is watching us. Jehovah is always watching us and Jehovah has also figured out that the doorbell doesn't work. So we'd better do our best to make sure someone is home. One of us knocks ever-so-softly on the door. We do this because we want to GENTLY wake them up from a sound sleep so we can tell them something we are certain they won't want to hear in the first place. After another five minutes and second knock which is a little louder, someone answers the door."
HOUSEHOLDER: "Yes? Can I help you?"
MY VOICE: "Good morning. Beautiful day isn't it? We are associated with a group of local Christian Bible Students in your neighborhood."
MY MIND: "Can't tell them we're dubs. Won't get anywhere by doing that."
MY VOICE: "Did you notice on the news last night that....?
(whatever bad news-of-the day there is) It seems that these times are really becoming dangerous to live in. But did you know that the Bible has promised us that there will be a time on earth when there will be no more wickedness or death and that this time is coming very soon?
MY MIND: "It's coming in October of 1975, sucker, and you'd better be nice to me or God will mess you up."
HOUSEHOLDER: "No, I didn't know that. But I have my own religion."
MY VOICE: "Yes, most people have their own religions and most people are trying to sincerely please God."
MY MIND: "But YOUR religion is satanic, you moron."
MY VOICE: "However, the Bible has clearly outlined what it requires of a religion to be pleasing to God."
MY MIND: "And your religion doesn't cut it, bubba."
MY VOICE: "In this Christian publication there is an article that shows you through the Bible what is required of you to please our Creator."
MY MIND: "At least I HOPE that's what it says. I haven't read it."
HOUSEHOLDER: "Well, thank you for stopping by, but I'm not interested."
MY VOICE: "Ok. Have a nice day."
MY MIND: "You are going to DIE, SUCKER! DIE! DIE! DIE!"
MY VOICE TO MY PARTNER: "If Armageddon comes tomorrow, we have done our part and that 'goat' will be sorry she didn't listen to our message.
The mark of a good book salesman is to always be able to adapt a presentation to the circumstances, so on the next door where someone is at home, we glance past the door and into the living room and see a big cross and a statue of the Virgin Mary(tm).
MY VOICE: "Excuse me, but I couldn't help but notice you have a cross in your house. You must believe in the Bible, don't you?"
MY MIND: "This house is drenched in demons. Better be careful."
And so the morning goes. Same nonsense, different day.
All in all, it was a typical day. In fact, it was a GREAT day: most people weren't home. We walked up to one house and knocked on the door eight times over the span of ten minutes. It was always a difficult balancing act to determine just how long to stay at a closed door without having the neighbors wonder what kind of idiots would wait that long at the door of an empty house, or even worse, think we were burglars casing the place, and how long we could actually stay on the porch and get away with no one noticing how stupid we really looked. That particular house had no cars in sight, no drapes. We could see through the windows that there was also no furniture inside. The sign on the lawn said, "For Sale. Immediate Occupancy." But as we were taught, "one can never be sure where one will find a person of "Good Will(tm)." So we waited patiently for ten minutes just-in-case someone was inside.
One of the most humiliating experiences for pioneers like me who had quotas was that we couldn't even GIVE that stuff away. Even if we begged. I often begged, too. That's one reason we pioneers loved Laundromats. Laundromats are incapable of saying "No. I don't want that crap even if it is free."
We finish our door-to-door "service" and all again meet around the cars. Another fifteen minutes is spent talking about our experiences. Each of the "smart" dubs has carefully saved ONE precious "back-call" (that's what we called them then) to make before we would finally call it a day and the field service clock stops. The rules for making a back call were simple: if the householder didn't pull out a shotgun and tell you never to return or he would blow your brains out and if you put a tract on the porch which soon blew away, you could make a back-call there.
But before we made that final back-call and legally end our time-reporting, we would hear the sweetest words of all:
MY MIND: "YES!!!"
That was great!
It's constantly amazing to me how similar our JW experiences and thoughts are. Underneath the zealous face, our minds were all thinking the same thing!
Now I'm thinking back to all the JW's I worked with in "service". How many of their minds were screaming the same things, I wonder?
ROTFL! Farkel, that WAS good.
And don't forget about how good it felt when you worked the same side of the street with another pair – how much of a relief it was when they got further ahead to finish more houses while you got to talking for a long time at someone's door.
Thanks For The Memories!
OH Gosh! I was just begining to forget my DRONE days but thanks for the laughs anyway.
Another clasic Farkel. Good One!
Reminds of the things I would do to get away. Like finishing early to make return visits (on my "Worldly" friends). Or calling on houses of friends to get out of the sun. i had at least one "safe house" on every map.
"But it does move"
That was too funny! I must have worked with the masters, we always fit in 3 coffee breaks between the hours of 9 am and 12 noon
Your mind is in your butt.
: Your mind is in your butt.
Right, Freddie boy. Unlike you, I take it out to breath every once in a while, though.
What can I say,
Truly a classical piece of literature you produced there Farkel.
Stunning in accuracy and wit. Carefully guiding the minds of your
readers past the panic and terror stage so that the blow is softened.
I too pioneered and it is amazing how many "publishers" thought that
just because I was proficient and experienced, that I somehow never
felt the panic or detested the first door.
BTW, I have managed to stay successfully at a vacant door for up to
30 minutes by discussing "private" matters. (works especially well if
you work with an elder and know something about the goings on in a
The last call works even better if it is from another "territory" and
it takes a long time to get there. In a car group, group time is
counted so that only one or two actually need a call to extend the
clock significantly. (Daves Rule)
Farkel, you are a god. (notice the small g in agreement with the