So there I was, waiting for the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association Chaplain Training graduation to begin, and like any good Baptist, I was sitting as close as possible to the end of the pew and the back of the auditorium.
The chapel was fairly small, and to make more room, the pews were pushed all the way to the walls, leaving one aisle up the center of the room. I was trying to be a good Baptist, but as things tend to go for me, I was on the wrong end of the pew, and ended up sitting against the wall.
Suddenly, and without warning, a green lizard appeared on the wall beside the man in front of me. It was one of those kind of lizards that can let its tail drop off if it feels threatened.
So far, this little guy was feeling pretty comfortable because the tail was still there.
The man in front of me did not notice the lizard that was mere inches away from his neck. But the lizard was not interested in him. Instead, he turned his beady little lizard eyes to the man on the pew in front of the man in front of me.
If you are trying to do the math, the lizard’s intended victim was two pews ahead of me.
He slowly crept along the wall, like a little green ninja, easing into position behind his target. The man in front of me was still oblivious to the lizard as he stalked his prey.
Suddenly, it leapt through the air and landed squarely on the back of the man two pews in front of me!
I could almost hear the roaring snarl as the lizard dug his talons into the back of his victim, baring its fangs for a vicious bite!
OK, I know lizards don’t roar, snarl, or have talons or fangs. But just go with it on this one. It makes the story better.
It was at that moment that the man in front of me finally noticed the attacking lizard.
And that is when the Great Lizard Revival broke out at the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association 2017 Chaplain Graduation Ceremony.
The man in front of me saw the lizard land on the back of the man in front of him and begin crawling up toward the man’s neck, so he sprang into action like a comic book hero!
Sadly, the soundness of his split-second decision-making capability immediately came into question, but there was no time to question his decision, because as soon as he decided what to do, he did it!
Now, there are plenty of things he could have done in that moment. He could have told the victim to remain calm, and then gently picked up the lizard to remove him from the building.
He could have told the victim that there was a lizard crawling up his back, and then helped the man go outside where they could have worked together to get the lizard off his back.
He could have placed his hand in front of the lizard and let it crawl onto his fingers and then taken it outside.
But no. He chose plan D – None of the Above.
Instead, he decided to swipe the lizard violently off the victim’s back with a sweeping right hook!
Actually, it looked more like a girlie slap than a right hook, but I’m not judging.
That is when events began to cascade, and the Great GSA Lizard Revival cranked up.
As he swiped the lizard off the victim’s back, he shouted, “Ho!” and jumped to his feet with a look in his eyes that said he was terrified that the lizard might somehow get on him.
When our hero swiped the lizard, the victim felt the slap across his back and heard the shouted, “Ho!”
He immediately jumped up and turned around to see who had hit him and why, his eyes wide with surprise, and he responded with, “Woah!”
At this point, the laws of physics took over. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The lizard was slapped off the back of the man it was crawling up, and went flying down the pew.
It just so happens that there was a lady sitting obliviously next to the hero, whose swipe seemed perfectly aimed at her.
The lizard hit the lady squarely in the chest.
She screamed and jumped up.
So now, the hero is on his feet, shouting, “Ho!” The victim is on his feet spinning around, wide eyed and arms extended in a defensive posture, hollering, “Whoa!” and the lady in front of me has jumped up, screaming and thrashing around in a panicked state.
The lady’s spastic antics caused the lizard to tumble off of her chest, where it landed on the thigh of the man on the other side of her.
His first reaction was like that of anyone who hears shouting and screaming with people around him leaping to their feet, and then he looks down to see what he initially perceives to be something like an anaconda crawling up his leg.
His arms involuntarily thrashed wildly to his front for a moment as if warding off some invisible assailant.
He soon realized that it really wasn’t an anaconda that was on his leg, regained his senses, and grabbed the poor, confused and battered lizard in one of his hands. Then he, too, jumped up.
Now there are several people on their feet, arms waving around, breathless and in an advanced state of adrenaline-induced excitement.
Right about then, somebody shouted “Amen!”
The man with the lizard decided he had something akin to a live grenade in his hand, with the pin pulled, and he had to get it out of the room immediately.
He blindly pushed past the others sitting on the pew toward the aisle, stepping all over people’s feet, with the lizard held at arm’s length.
Several people looked up in time to see a man with a very serious face on, holding a green blur in his outstretched arms, coming right at them, and they managed a fairly decent imitation of Kenau Reeves dodging bullets in the movie “The Matrix.”
He got to the aisle, his little green grenade still gripped in his meaty paws, and began racing toward the door, dodging people who were standing in the way, while others jumped back out of the way of the racing wild-eyed man with outstretched arms.
Women squealed in alarm as they saw what he was holding when he passed them. Men hollered, “Ho!” as they stepped back.
It was pure pandemonium in the foyer as he staggered out the door, finally flinging the green lizard into the brush.
Everything was fine by that point and people were just starting to settle down, and all would have been well had the lizard not jettisoned its tail into the hair of the dignified looking elderly church lady on the end of the pew…
Man, oh man! I just love Lizard Revivals!