When trouble knocks on your door and answers the call of nature…
If you know me, you’d know that I love discussing history and theology with anyone who knocks on my door. And that’s why I love the Mormons. Over the years I’ve had many really great conversations with total strangers wearing the white shirts, black pants and suspenders and snappy ties. I’ve got a place in my heart for people who are sincere about their beliefs, even if those beliefs are far detached from reality. So often do Mormons call, that the local brigade knows where my house is, and visits semi-regularly during the campaigning season. Which is why this story is hilarious.
One time our lawyer needed to drop by in the evening to grab a few signatures for some paperwork just before the dinner hour. Signing a few papers is normally something which would take about five minutes, but it took just over an hour before the guy left because he kept shooting the breeze about life. Meanwhile, my dog (who loves doorbells and any male visitors) was barking incessantly in the basement where I had caged him; my nine month old son was getting hangrier by the minute; my two year old daughter was attention-seeking; and my smokin’ hot wife was trying to make dinner while giving me that glaring look which silently screamed “you’ve got to be kidding me”. C’mon guy; look around you. Beat it.
Once he was out the door, and off the lawn, and driving down the street, and out of our zip code and on a plane to China, we ate a hurried dinner while my son lost his mind, and then we quickly bathed the kids. My wife took the baby boy into our room to breastfeed before some much-needed sleep, and I took my daughter to use her potty training seat: you know, the kind which fits over an adult-sized toilet seat so they don’t fall in. It’s got a small hole in the center about the size of a fist, surrounded by a puffy cushion and two big handles on either side so the kid can hold on for the ride as they do their business. She finishes her piddles and its time for a diaper and pj’s.
Just as I’m about to slap a diaper on the naked toddler, the doorbell rings. This causes the pooch to bark like crazy downstairs, which disturbs the oh-so-delicate silence required to put the baby to sleep. Knowing my wife is telepathically commanding me to shoot the dog, I tell my naked two-year old to “stay right there; Dada is going to go downstairs, but I’ll be right back”. Famous last words. We have locking gates at the top and bottom of our stairs, so I knew the naked kid couldn’t get far as I ran down to the door to see who the dog was barking at. I opened the door and guess who it is?
The Mormons. Two guys, as usual. One was younger and I recognized him as having been at my door before; the other was a larger, much older fellow in his late fifties, still wearing the company uniform with the white shirt, black slacks, ties, suspenders, nametags and all. I was happy to see them, but not at all at that moment. I stuck my head out the door while holding the hyperactive, renegade dog inside. “Hey guys; I’d love to chat, but now just isn’t a good time. Maybe we could schedule another time for the weekend.” The younger guy spoke up first, and shifted his weight back and forth uncomfortably. “Uh, yeah; that’s fine. Um, could I please use your bathroom?
There was a moment’s pause where all of us, including the dog, pondered the awkwardness of the question. My mind raced. The bathroom. The inner sanctum of my domicile. It’s way upstairs. With the naked kid running around. And my wife is breastfeeding a ticking time bomb in the dark who screams at the drop of a pin. And the bedroom door is ajar. Plus this crazy, man-loving dog. What to do? But then I looked at this poor kid’s face, and looked at the whites of his eyes turning yellow, and remembered that he had probably been walking all over tarnation for the cause of the heresiarch Joseph Smith and likely hadn’t used a bathroom all day. I looked into his face and saw a suffering human trapped by circumstances beyond his control. This guy was about to lose it on my doorstep; like right now. “Yeah man, come inside. Sorry the kitchen is such a mess.” This is what the younger guy and the dog were both hoping for; the dog especially. If the presence of one lawyer made him got nuts, imagine how two door bell-ringing Mormon elders made him feel. The pooch couldn’t contain himself. This sucked. I left the older guy in the kitchen with the gushing animal and quickly escorted the suffering missionary upstairs to release his stress. As I pointed him towards the throne room, my eyes frantically searched for the naked toddler somewhere on the loose. Where’d she go? I couldn’t see her anywhere. Crap. My naked toddler is playing hide and seek.
My wife began to whisper-yell at me through her teeth from the dark bedroom. “What’s going on? Who is that?” The door was open, quite a bit. I ran into our room to try to explain things as quietly as I could. “Lovey”, I said calmly; “there’s a Mormon in the bathroom.”
“Honey, there’s a Mormon in the bathroom and another one downstairs in the kitchen with the dog.” That didn’t sound any better.
“Wife, I promise this is not a theology or history dialogue. The kid really needed to use the bathroom; he was literally about to pee his temple garments on our doorstep. The guy downstairs is ok.”
“WELL, SHUT THE DOOR!” she hissed in domestic fury.
“Ok, let me just step out quietly-..”
“NO, SHUT THE FRICKIN’ BATHROOM DOOR!”
My head snapped back to look outside our bedroom. There was my naked toddler, emerged from hiding, curiously opening the bathroom door with the poor Mormon inside. AH!! I ran to grab her and quickly shut the door before either he or I or she saw too much of each other. As the door closed, I caught the wretched waft of an air biscuit assailing my nostrils. WOOF. Is this Elder tearin’ it up on my favorite chair? Nevermind; I ran into the nursery and put a diaper on the now giggling offspring, shut the wife and boy inside the bedroom and hustled downstairs to check up on the older elder petting my excitable canine. After some small talk to pass the time, the younger elder comes downstairs and all four of us walk outside, where the old guy then proceeded to yak about his grandkids visiting him by the lake this weekend, and how he is a convert from Orthodox Judaism (ORLY?), and yadda, yadda, yadda, the guy was just like the never-ending-lawyer who just wouldn’t leave. Soon the wife comes downstairs, takes the diaper girl and gives them a smile and me the stink eye. They asked again if there was any time that night to convert me. “Sorry guys; still busy tonight. How ‘bout on Saturday?” And then they left.
That’s when I realized I had left the toddler potty training seat atop the toilet. It was still there. How did he? With the thing on top of the? What a night.