Last night was a bit different than most Saturdays, because I'm usually the last to get there. I was the first this night, and also allegedly the first member of the group to be physically assaulted.
I knew that Rocco would be there later, so I went to scout out the preacher action. Unfortunately, Jonathan and Ken were out, with their characteristic "you guys!"es and enormously uninformed style. Almost too easy, really. A couple kids who had been around on Friday night were out, one heckling and the other passionately debating with Jonathan.
I decided it was time for a sign, since I was effectively the only one there as yet. I let the kids handle it for a while as I got some materials for a sign saying "GODS = FAIL!!1" However, as I got back, I couldn't resist my trademark - a sign saying "BUTTSEX 4 JESUS", the original of which has been stolen or destroyed.
I held it up, pleased, and saw the disgusted looks on the faces of the preachers. The crowd began to laugh. "Come on, why you gotta do that?" Jonathan asked, perched on his bike for the moment. Behind him, a guy whose name I can't recall was bouncing up and down on the stool, saying something nonsensical. And behind this guy was a scruffy busker I'd seen before.
He saw the sign, and put down his guitar. He walked over to me quickly, and tore the sign out of my hand. I was terribly amused and annoyed, as I watched him tear it in half. Then, for good measure, he whacked me across the side of the face and neck with the thin end.
Cops are never around when you need them, so I decided not to bother with it. Right after, the three stooges decided to pack up their act and go home, after apologizing to me and assuring me that he had no affiliation with them in the least. I took this assurance of legal non-liability in stride, specifically in stride down Mill.
Rocco was crossing the street at the next light down, and I flagged him over and told him what happened. We found the guy, and Rocco reassured me that he was a crazy hobo. So we went back to the center of the street, which was closed for the Art Walk and covered in tents. Another preacher was setting up, one I hadn't seen before, called Jeremiah. He seemed particularly resistant to reason, and used the tiredest, tritest old excuses for why the Bible was infallible, Jeezus iz Loard, blah blah blah.
We took turns with the bullhorn, and I feel I did pretty well with my debate for once. I could see Jeremiah getting physically frustrated with my presence and loudness and (dare I say it?) rationality. Rocco proceeded to whip out the Maul of Science and bash him into his component atoms, which by the way are fundamentally no different than the atoms that comprise anything else. :P
The rest of the group had abandoned the party and decided to come to Mill, and were quite annoyed with my story of earlier. Kyt knew who I was talking about and so, urged by them, I lead them to the Hippie Cove, where he was standing and looking nutty and hobo-like. Kazz gave him a stern talking-to away from us. I can admit that I really was asking for it, though: I was out entirely alone with an offensive sign in a sea of drunkards, mad bums, and preachers. It was something I should've thought about, but then again I generally see myself as being invincible...
Later we went back to the side of the street, where Jeremiah had set up again. Kazz and the others went home, and Rocco and I stood around calling to the drunken, unsaved masses the message of the Cookie-Dough Dragon. Jeremiah was again not pleased, and after an hour or so he packed up and left. It was an evenful hour though, with guest appearances from local drunks telling him to get off his damn stool.
Overall, I'd give this night a rating of 7.5 stars out of 10. It wasn't as much of a social event as our protests usually are, but it was definitely eventful and also a lot of fun if you leave out the whole being whacked in the face part.
I know I don't have to tell any of you veteran Mill Ave. peeps this, but to others who are interested in protesting religion (especially in possibly offensive ways), make sure you don't go out without some kind of backup. I often feel, upon entering the fray, that we're going into some kind of battle. And it is - a battle of ideas. We're not trying to convince the preachers, since we know they're too far gone. But the people around us, those walking the Ave., might stop and hear us, and they might even think about what we're talking about. Anything that provokes thought is a good thing, in my eyes. But when the battle becomes physical, there is a problem. My incident was just an isolated crazy bum, but it could've been much worse than that. Make sure you've got a good group of people with you, ones you can trust to back you should something go awry.
Okay, that's enough public service announcements for now. :P I didn't mean to get so tl;dr. Our next event is going to be on Wednesday, where we will pretend to be fire-and-brimstone preachers for April Fool's Day (specifics to be determined). Should be fun, and if you live around here and are interested, don't hesitate to come say hi.
That's all for now. I'll post more as the occasions warrant.