I had an uncle once who was employed as a missionary. He spent half his life trying to convert the good natives of Brazil to his own particular brand of foolishness. All told he saved a total of six souls from perdition and drove countless thousands of others into various enemy camps with his incessant pestering and nagging.
One day a band of would-be converts in a little village on the banks of the Amazon repaid him for all his troubles by eating the old fool. And I say he had it coming. I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did considering the nuisance he made of himself over the years.
Consider the facts. He left the wilds of Detroit in 1932 to save the "sinners" in the jungles of Brazil. Obviously, we're dealing with an absurdity right from the start. Why would any reasonable man want to trek all the way to Brazil to save some poor clod from Hell's fires when there are whole troops of sinners available right in the immediate neighborhood?
Why, think of the possibilities for sound missionary work in and around the various centers of government. You can repair to any local city hall and find enough scalawags, humbugs, sneaks, and mountebanks to satisfy the most dedicated of missionary spirits.
A gang of missionaries could lay siege to the courthouse and demand that the sinners and rogues residing therein come out and face the music. The judges and bailiffs and paunchy cops and shyster lawyers could provide entertainment for several squads of missionaries and they wouldn't have to leave the city to find 'em.
All politicians are so crooked they could hide behind a corkscrew. These guys would lie when the truth would do them more good. A missionary could throw a stone into a crowd of pols and hit a sinner every time; think of the field day the missionary brood could have in Sacramento. Saving our state legislators would provide a challenge for Billy Graham, Billy Sunday, and Billy the Kid working in concert.
A caveat, though. Any missionary who undertakes to "save" a politician would be well advised to arm himself to the teeth and advance with care. Politicians are dangerous animals with a bite known to be fatal to everyone except other politicians. In fact, everything considered, it probably isn't a good idea to even bother trying to save politicians since all of that breed are known to be in league with the Devil himself.
Missionaries should avoid Washington altogether, of course. The angel Gabriel himself couldn't save that crowd. Look what that town did to Obama in one year. You can hardly tell him from a lobbyist or insurance executive now.
But our missionary friends wouldn't have to rely on politicians alone as fuel for their burning ardor. They could always direct their efforts toward saving the business community and have ample work for every humbug plying the trade and still support thousands of apprentices anxious to go out on raids of their own.
When one thinks of the hordes of crooked garage mechanics, medical quacks, used-car salesmen, lawyers, charlatans, deceivers, and similar scoundrels lurking about in every corner of the city, the task of the missionary crowd takes on a truly monumental aspect.
And even that's not all. What about the dope sellers and astrologers and stick-up men and hookers and fornicators and movie producers and countless millions of others who are steeped in sin and depraved beyond belief? It's clear we need an all-out missionary attack on the forces of evil right here in our own town.
So my uncle got what he had coming to him. Those guys down there in Brazil were doing him no harm at all and they never would have eaten him if he hadn't gone there and got 'em all riled up over nothing. He should have stayed home and minded his own business.
Let that be a warning to all would-be missionaries everywhere: Do something about saving yourselves first and then concentrate on the guy standing nearest you. Lord knows we all need saving of one kind or another and it isn't necessary to cross two or three continents to find fodder for your canons.
I say forget those guys in Brazil and save us from our selves, for God's sake.