Bleach-blonde zealots

I was in the shower when I heard it coming. In between my Noxema facial scrub and Lever 2000 blue body wash personal rubdown, a thunder clap hit the house and rattled the vinyl siding. I hurried to get out of the shower. Not because I was afraid of the storm, mind you, but because I wanted to get outside as quickly as I could.

I threw on some old blue jeans and my Pig-N-Pancake shirt and ran downstairs, the dog trailing behind me with her own special brand of “I’m not sure why, but I’m exicted, too” excitement. I made it to the back deck just in time to see a giant flash of lightning streak across the sky and see the giant sweetgum tree bend against the increasing wind. Scoop ran into the yard and barked at nothing.

The rain came almost immediately and I called for Scoop to come inside. This time she ran with her own special brand of “that wasn’t so exciting” excitement and shook the rainwater off her short hair.

The hail started soon after, coming down first as a pea, then as marbles, then on the inside edge of golfballs. I called my wife at work and she reported that she thought her office had been hit by lightning. Five minutes after I’d explained the size of the hail, she said, “Wait. You have hail?” Shoot it!”

Despite my better judgment, I ran around the house for two minutes, finding the camera, and finding a tape that didn’t have footage of my kid babbling on it. By the time I’d rounded up everything, the hail had stopped and was melting on the lawn.

That was a few days ago. I wrote the above paragraphs in a few minutes while the news talked on and on about a Muslim man who had walked into a local evangelistic mega-church and demanded to be let on stage. The security force escorted the man out and into the hands of the FBI who, according to some folks who are supposed to be in the know, had the guy on their watch list.

Whether the man, who had apparently left a briefcase in the lobby, was actually a zealot or a crazy person demanding to be heard in the cavernous church will likely never be known. He was charged with “Disturbing a Religious Service,” something that even I, a fomer crime beat reporter, didn’t know existed on the law books. Apparently it is illegal for one form of zealot to disturb another form of zealot.

What the weather and the reputed zealots have to do with each other, I can’t rightly remember. Furthermore, at first I couldn’t recall why I titled this piece “Bleach-blonde Zealots.” Then, as I sat re-watching the piece about uber-fraud Stephen Glass, I recalled that I set out to write something about the London bombings and the use of a peroxide-based bomb.

While the news media have not fully explained what a peroxide-based bomb is, I did a little digging and discovered that Sally in the Stands’ blonde-making solution can also be used to make blasting caps for bombs if mixed with the right stuff. That’s all the explanation I needed.

None of this makes any damned sense, but I’m going to post it anyway. After all, I’m getting ready to head back to Europe in a few weeks and I’m tired of zealots. Not Muslims. Not Arabs. Just zealots. All of them. Evangelists, the FBI, the terrorists. All of them.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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