7/05/2010 06:27:00 pm

Shovel

Posted by Tom French |

Yesterday, on my way to my car to go to church to preach I had an encounter with a man who I have very little relationship with, wielding a shovel, who was very angry. He swore at me, and got in my face. I was pretty sure he was going to hit me, but happily he didn't. While I'm rather unsure as to how I upset him, I do know he really was upset with me. He seemed mostly upset about all the noise I was making disturbing him. Seeing as I had just spent the previous 25 minutes practising my sermon, in doors, in a whisper, I was pretty sure my noise wasn't the direct cause of his anger.

I learnt a few things in the encounter:

  • Fight or flight needs a third option like "stand there and look confused as to why you're being attacked", because I took the third option.
  • It would be totally disappointing to be murdered because I picked the wrong moment to walk to my car, rather than say, get murdered for my faith, or because I was standing up to a corrupt mafia gang.
  • People really do use shovels when angry. This was something I had been pondering just the night before, as I was thinking about putting a joke in my sermon about someone hitting me over the head with a shovel. I thought perhaps it was a little obscure and I should find a more common household implement to be hit over the head with. But I left it in because saucepan sounded a little too Looney Toons. And then, to my small delight, I was vindicated in my decision to leave the shovel in, because as I headed off to preach the sermon with the shovel joke in it, a man came at me with a shovel. I also felt happier to make the joke. in light of my encounter I felt I had more permission to joke about such violence. Like fat people have permission to make jokes about being fat. Although really, for it to be a direct correlation in analogy it'd be potentially fat people making fat jokes, which I think probably isn't PC.
To be totally fair to the guy, while he did approach me very angry, with shovel in hand, he never raised it up to hit me. It was always by his side. In fact, it took me a while to figure out that the shovel was actually a potential weapon. I was wondering for a lot of the encounter why in the middle of doing some gardening he suddenly became enraged at me.
In the end, after a while of me trying to decipher his rage, his wife pulled him off, a couple of times, and I got in the car and left while he stared at me.

A quiet Sunday afternoon.

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