You’re The Third

Monday afternoon, I was standing in line at a store, waiting my turn to check out. A pair of Mormon missionaries — the kids that go out on behalf of their church to proselytize — were standing in line behind me. You can tell who these kids are by their uniform: white shirt, black tie, and black plastic name badge pinned to their lapel. They did not have anything in their hands, so I was wondering why they were standing in line.

As these kids usually do, one of them tried to strike up a conversation with me. They do that to open the door to what inevitably would be a pitch for their church’s teachings. I’ve had that happen dozens of times and recognize the approach.

One of these kids looked at my left hand, saw the ring on my ring finger, and figured out that I was married. Knowing that we recently had a huge snowfall, he smiled and said,

“did you enjoy playing in the snow with your kids?”

Me: no, I don’t have children. (I was going to say more … like I removed snow from six neighbor and senior pals’ drives … but I know that the more you say, the more it encourages these kids to pursue the conversation. I just wanted to check out and leave.)

MormanKid: so did your wife and you enjoy the snow anyway, like go sledding or skiing?

Me: My spouse is a man. I have a husband.

MormanKid: Oh. [pause, breath, pause, then:] You’re the third gay man who I’ve talked to today who said he was married. (I have to give him credit — he did not back away or behave as if my gayness was contagious.)

Me: Welcome to Maryland, where your church was unsuccessful in preventing the vote the wrong way on a referendum on the law that allowed me to marry the man I have loved for over 20 years.

MormanKid: Thanks. I wasn’t here then.

Me: Actually, after the fiasco in California where your church intervened with disastrous consequences that cost millions of dollars in legal battles, I think your church learned its lesson and left us alone in Maryland.

MormonKid: I really wasn’t aware of that. I just arrived here from my home in Utah a few weeks ago.

Me: At least you’ll be here in the Spring. Our state is lovely in Springtime. Enjoy your visit.

… and that was it. I was served by a cashier, paid for my item, and left. I don’t know what the Mormon kid said to his companion, but probably was like, “well, strike again. Who’s this guy?” — looking at their next victim. 🙂

I have to give these kids a lot of credit. They must hear much more negative things than what I said. I have always wondered though — I never see any of these kids alone. They are always in pairs. I guess it helps them to have someone else by their side as they go about fulfilling their mission, as well as to have someone else to talk to.

I am happy to know that “You’re the third” … Monday … probably a lot more of us in same-sex marriages around than I thought.

Life is short: enjoy providing an education in a civil manner.