I like shopping at ALDI. You can find cheap chocolate in plenty. Not the lousy American kind, but dark, sweet European happiness wrapped up in a pack of five. While most of their products are nothing much to look at, they are all priced so low that you can’t complain. It’s genius really: low overhead and one choice translates into dirt cheap food. It works for me. And don’t even get me started on the brilliance of the cart system . . .
I was returning flip flops at ALDI yesterday. I practically power-walked through the whole store, lest I deviate off track and make an ill-advised purchase. While standing in line I spyed an unlikely pair of Mormons weaving their way through the frozen food section. Had it not been for the name badges I could have guessed they were mafia who took a wrong turn off I-87. One was tall and burly. He had to be a football player. With broad shoulders, a thick neck, and enough height to be intimidating, he could also have been the hit man of the pair. The other was short, shorter than myself even. He wore neat little spectacles, presented a sharp appearance, and walked as if all was under control: clearly the boss of the operation.
They meandered up to the check out line accross the store from my own. Rarely talking or even looking at one another, they didn’t seem to be having a whole lot of fun. Perhaps they were dreading their afternoon visitations. Perhaps they just had an argument about how much money the shorter one spent on hair gel. Or maybe the big guy had exhuasted their budget on steak dinners, thereby forcing the ALDI visit. None of the above surely, but you have to wonder . . . if you’re bored like I was.
Walking away from ALDI $14.73 richer, I wondered if they were really on their “mission” in Vermont. Wow, they really drew the short straw. Driving down the long country lanes that say “private” on the steet signs, walking up to some guy loading his pick up truck with fishing gear, beer, or weapons, and then expecting a conversation . . . if they don’t get shot, they may get run over by the guy’s son who’s prowling on a four-wheeler. Oh, and then there are the bears who swing by for an afternoon snack at the bird feeders. Suburbia this is not. Very rarely will these venturous fellahs find a convenient string of houses in a row. Even more rare will there be people interested in what they’re peddling.
I can imagine some Mormons receiving assignments to Asia, the Carribbean, or a country along the Mediterranean . . . and these two guys draw Vermont. They clearly did not have connections within the hierarchy. No one was pulling any chains on their behalf. Bennington? They don’t even have a battlefield to go with their battlefield memorial! As they say around here, New York got the battle, New Hampshire won the battle, and Vermont got the battle monument. But Bennington was the first town in Vermont to have a Wal-Mart, something that few on the left will ever forget I’m sure. Hey, how bad can it be? It is the warmest part of Vermont and at least the flies are so big that you can dodge them when you see them coming. Yes I’m sure that these guys, so used to good ole’ Salt Lake City, Utah are having a time of it in Bennington.
I thought to myself about what I would say to them if they tried to win me over in the bagging section at ALDI. Here is the best I could come up with: “I’m a trinitarian Christian who believes that Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are all equally God.” I decided to leave off the “Now stuff that in your pipe and smoke it . . ., but then you wouldn’t,” part of it. I think that response is the best way to affirm what I believe, while also gently pointing out that I disagree with them. My previous conversations with Mormons have revealed that they want to show how alike we are. They sing the same songs in the same way. They love the Bible. They even think Jesus is swell. But somewhere, somehow, I know they are lurking with insidious plans to bop me on the head with their false doctrines and bring me into their false flock.
And so I hope the Mormon fellahs found what they were looking for at ALDI. I also pray that their choice of religions will one day match the wisdom of their shopping decisions. While I do not have a great plan in place should I encounter them, I think that I can at least stir the pot a little without becoming theologically hostile. Of course my attack rabbits don’t have the Monty Python bit down, so it wouldn’t be much fun inviting them in any way. The best I can hope for is a foot nibble.