Monday, November 01, 2010

Washaterias and Watchtowers



In the course of my career, I have been involved in a number of enterprises "on the side." One of the most colorful endeavors was the broom-making business that my brother-in-law talked me into about 25 years ago. The business, if you want to call it that, consisted of a broom-making machine, a wizened little alcoholic from South Louisiana who knew how to operate it, and a broken-down van to transport said brooms. My brother-in-law owned the old cotton gin in town, and he set the operation up inside. He would handle "marketing," as well as keeping our key employee sober enough to operate the machine. My job was to deliver the brooms to our wholesale customers. As could be predicted, the operation broke down on all fronts. I couldn't keep the van running, and my brother-in-law couldn't keep the broom-maker sober.

As part of a convoluted trade this summer, my family and my nephew found ourselves as the new proprietors of a washateria in a neighboring county. I feel good about it, actually (or at least it has more possibilities than making brooms.) Washaterias are simple and honest--they provide a much-needed service at a reasonable cost. Early every Monday morning, I drive over, collect the quarters and fill up the change machine. I sweep the floor and bag the trash that has accumulated since the last cleaning. Invariably, the Jehovah's Witnesses have left reading material scattered around the laundromat. Generally, I gather it all up and into the round file it goes. Yesterday, however, I stuck a Watchtower in my back pocket to read later on.

I've had a good bit of experience with the JW's, as my favorite aunt is one. Back when that happened, my cousins maintained that whoever knocked on their front door that particular day would have had her. It just happened to be the Witnesses. For many years, my aunt would send us the books and reading material, but that has dropped off in recent years. At its core, the JW sect is just straight-out Arianism dressed up for the modern age. With many of their more noted beliefs oddly peculiar to themselves, the age-old heresy at its heart is sometimes obscured. I thought their Arianism might even be nuanced somewhat in the Watchtower, just as the Mormons do not hit you with the looney stuff until much later on. Most of the issue I read was devoted to knowing God by the "right name" (an argument they seem keen to have,) and various articles about being nice and helpful. But at the end, there is an article with this sentence: "Just think: Jesus Christ, the myriads of angels in heaven, and mankind on earth all have a beginning because of being created." As heresies go, you can't state it any plainer. At least on Mondays, I will suffer no qualms about consigning such publications to the trash can.

4 comments:

elizabeth said...

good to hear about the work and wow, yeah, I would not keep it (the wt) around either...

Ranger said...

So were these brooms made from broom corn... I realized while studying heresies that a rather popular singer's most famous song is very gnoatic, not purposefully or anything:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7Twk4N8dy8

Mary Alice Cook said...

I love "washateria" rather than the more Yankeefied laundromat. Calls to mind chugging, whining machines, pushing my sister around in the rolling laundry basket, stifling heat. Good times.

John said...

Elizabeth, I still have my day job--and my night job.

Ranger, I tried watching that clip. Man, was that painful!

Mary Alice, I agree. One of the unexpected benefits is meeting the clientele. You meet the most interesting people at a washateria.