I’m fascinated by this preacher I see on the Staten Island Ferry every morning. He’s a little African preacher. He calls himself that. He says that even if you don’t want to listen to him on you way to work you’ll remember “this little African preacher” fo shiz on Judgment Day. Before the ferry arrives he stands in the terminal going on about Jesus and eternal damnation and such. Then he gets on the ferry and preaches some more. I imagine he does this all day long, back and forth. Or at least all morning, because I never see him on the way home.
It’s really funny to see how people react to him. Sometimes people and shake his hand and tell him what a bang-up job he’s doing. Other times people get up and make speeches of their own about how annoying and intrusive he is, and how we should all ban together and call 311 to put a stop to it. Every now and then someone gets really pissy and tells him off, or they make fun and laugh at him. A couple of days ago a guy got in his face and started singing and following him around. I couldn’t figure out if that guy was pro- or anti-preacher, or just crazy. Either way, it made for great theater.
It doesn’t matter to the Little African Preacher though; he takes it all in stride and just goes right on yapping about Jesus. He has a few confederates that preach sometimes too. I guess even when you’re doing something important like spreading The Word you have to take a sick day every now and then. None of the others are as good as he is though. I suspect one of them may not have always been a Christian, he just got assimilated along the way somehow. I wonder what his mom thinks about that.
Anyhoo, I can’t figure out what this guy’s angle is. He never asks for money and he doesn’t pass out any literature or anything. I think he might just really care about all the lost souls floating around Staten Island. This morning one of his disciples was carrying a small plastic bag. I thought maybe he had some propaganda in there but I didn’t want to ask. I thought about asking, but if I did that he might think I’m interested in what he’s saying, which I’m not. Then I’d have to tell him that I was an idol-worshipping Catholic and he’d never get off my case. I suppose I could just tell him that I had a friend that was going to hell, but that probably wouldn’t work either. I don’t want to get that deeply involved, I just kinda like the guy and I wonder what his story is.
I’ve decided that the next time I see him I’ll just stand near him and try to look all bewildered and unsaved. Maybe then he’ll approach me and tell me what the scoop is, and I can just politely decline. I’ll let you know how it turns out.