Last Saturday afternoon, I was taking a well-deserved nap, when my pleasant dream was interrupted by the all too familiar and rhythmic sound of knuckles tapping on my front door. As the sound continued, and seemed to increase in speed and volume to a frantic crescendo, my once lovely dream of sitting peacefully by a stream with a fishing rod ended.
It was replaced with a nightmare, involving a surly, impatient gravedigger, the hammering of nails to seal my coffin, and my still living body being buried deep in the cold dark earth.
“What in the world is that sound……….”
I managed to mumble, as my mind cleared, and I realized that I wasn’t trapped in a satin-lined three by eight foot prison, as the last remaining air was sucked into my laboring lungs. Sitting up, and still slightly disoriented, I looked around and saw my familiar living room, my comfortable and rumpled couch, and my dog Chase, ears perked, ready to run to the front door to confront whoever had the temerity to disturb our human being and dog slumber.
Gathering myself, I headed down three steps and across my landing towards the still insistent rapping of most likely sore and chaffed knuckles, as they relentlessly pounded the hard surface of my solid oak door. I made a mental note to put fixing the doorbell on my to-do list. As I opened the door I was greeted, not by a tall, gaunt man in black, with a hammer in his hand, but by a smiling young lady, holding a massive stack of delicious and mouth-watering Girl Scout cookies in colorful boxes.
Later, as I sat at my kitchen table amid a pile of opened Girl Scout cookie boxes, I had time to ask myself a few questions. How in the world will I explain to my wife, the twelve boxes of cookies, and my obviously blown diet? Why do people always come to the front door at the most inconvenient times, and who in the world invented those “Samoa’s?”
They must be culinary geniuses. The combination of thin and light vanilla cookies coated in a mouth-watering layer of caramel, lightly sprinkled with just the right amount of coconut, and laced with smooth and creamy chocolate strips is…. is…. Sorry, I’m getting a little off track here. Now, where was I? Oh yeah, now I remember. What’s with all the people always knocking at my door, and why do they inevitably show up at the worst possible times?
You may have noticed this, but how many times have you rushed to your front door wrapped in nothing but a robe or a small and revealing towel, after hastily exiting the shower? How many of those times have you been greeted by a huge check with your name, along with one million dollars written in bold lettering on the front, a good Samaritan with your lost wallet in his hands, or your neighbor Earl, with the hedge trimmer he borrowed three years ago? If you answered never to each question, then, you got it right.
You may have also noticed that knocks at your door never occur when you’re fully dressed, are wide awake, have just indulged in a long and satisfying dinner, or have recently finished a fascinating article in Reader’s Digest, and are looking to have an engaging and intelligent conversation with a complete stranger.
I don’t even mind having people on religious missions at my front door at the proper time. I actually, admire their faith and determination. The problem is, they never knock after you’ve had a spiritual epiphany, just finished memorizing the entire Bible, or witnessed beautiful angels, along with a burning bush in your backyard next to the fish pond. They usually show up, right after you stubbed your toe and cursed like a sailor, finished opening a stack of bills two feet high, or just watched a risqué, R-rated movie, with partial nudity and gratuitous sex.
I made a list of all the people who have come to my door over the past month. They included: multiple campaign workers for various local politicians looking to procure votes, and seventeen assorted men, women, and children looking for donations for various charities, clubs and school activities. I was also interrupted by three separate girl scout troop members, and four different salesmen. The salesmen were selling everything from energy-efficient windows to landscaping services. Whatever happened to all the salesmen who would knock on your door, and actually have something tangible to sell?
Do you remember the days when salesmen would walk up your sidewalk, and approach your front door bent over like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, as they struggled with the crushing weight of the entire twenty-six volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica – in hardcover?
Even those pesky vacuum-cleaner salesmen, would show up with a technologically advanced chrome and silver monstrosity that looked like a cross between a robot, and a piece of a rogue Russian satellite. They would often carry a sealed bag full of dirt, so they could dump it on your clean carpet, and then enthrall you with the cyclonic power of the amazing Dust Demon 5000. Today’s salesmen don’t bring anything with them, and then expect you to buy something! Just once I’d like to say,
“I’m sorry sir, but unless you can instantly produce that five-thousand square foot system of advanced solar panels, power inverters, absorbed glass mat storage batteries, the new and improved support structure, and that amazing and wondrous green technology, then I’m not interested.”
Before I go, I have just one more thing that’s been bothering me. Let me find that darn canine of mine. There you are. “Chase……. Could you come over here, please? We need to talk. I need to know something. You’re a large and powerful canine with speed, strength, cunning, powerful crushing jaws, and shark-like teeth, right?”
“Okay, I thought so. You’ve proven yourself time after time in protecting me, and this house. Remember how on that trip to Alaska you saved my life by dragging a six-hundred-pound caribou back to camp as I lay with a high fever, and a severely broken leg?”
“Chase, you even have check-marks by the front window for every burglar you’ve terrorized, before they fled in abject fear, for Heaven’s sake.”
“For my own sanity boy, I need to know something. Why do you not only, not confront people who knock at the front door, but often turn the knob, open the door, and wag your tail as they rub behind your ears?”
“Woof woof, woof, woof, woof woof woof, woooooof.”
“Okay, now I understand. It is, pretty hard to resist those incredibly delicious Girl Scout cookies. I thought that was it. I also agree with you boy; those “Peanut Butter Patties,” are unbelievably good. No, you can’t have any of these mint flavored wafers dipped in milk chocolate. Don’t you know chocolates bad for dogs? Here, have the last of the “Shortbreads.” Oh, oh, we’re almost out of cookies. Wait a minute. I think I hear a knock at the door. Hey Chase, where are you going?”