I’m not a hugely religious man, in fact I’d go so far as to say I have very few brain cells devoted to the concept of religion at all although I understand that religion brings some sort of internal solace to a lot of people, its harmless (until they start fighting each other) and it does not interfere with me in any way at all (can’t be said for many other countries), and so I hold no opinions of any of the worlds religions at all, nor do I cast aspersions against any of them.
Apart from Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Fooked-up, bumble brained, hysterical, superstitious stick-shakers the lot of them, especially Derek Ostler.
Derek Ostler was an electrician who worked for the company that I worked for when I left school and I didn’t need anyone to tell me that he was a raving lunatic of a Jehovah from the minute he parked his VW Kombi bus in our company car park, nor did I need the orchestrated groans from some of our other electricians when they saw him arrive with a collective “Fook me thats all we need, the god-botherer”
“Hallelujah !!!” they all cried in unison as Derek Ostler stepped from his van
“Thats not funny you know, its un-necessary” rebuked Derek Ostler
“Fuck off” they all cried back
“God will punish you” was his response
The VW Kombi was a requirement of being a Jehovah for he had the compulsory six or eight or ten kids, Derek Ostler was trying to big up the Jehovahs worldwide population all on his own and the size and appetite of his slong was also the target of much abuse from our workforce all of which was responded to in the same way, “God will punish you”.
And then one day I found myself as his apprentice, I like to think it happened by accident, a random fluke rather than someone’s idea of a joke but there I was one hot August day in 1975 wiring up a new house in Whinmoor, stood on a milk crate trying to twist a three foot long hand auger bit through a four inch joist, it was stuck, I was sweating like a very sweaty thing indeed, and exhausted – we broke for lunch.
Sitting on the dusty chipboard floor upstairs in a shell of a house with no internal walls yet he started on the indoctrination.
“You’re an intelligent lad”
“Am I ?”
“Yeah, you got your O levels didn’t you ?”
“Got your maths O level ?”
“At the second go yes”
“I can’t do maths, can’t add things up”
“Could you teach me ?”
“Yeah, you’re a clever lad, smarter than the other apprentices, you could explain it to me”
“On a lunchtime, you teach me all about maths and….”
“Well, you teach me all about maths and….”
There was a long silence, wood dust swirling in the strong beams of sunlight that streamed through the newly fitted windows
“And I’ll teach you all about The Scriptures…”
“Fuck off Derek”
Its an approach I still take when they come knocking at the door.