I recently read an article in the New York Post (which I don’t make a habit of reading, I promise) that was written by the guy originally tasked with writing one of the biggest cinematic dog turds of all time: Battlefield Earth.
Battlefield Earth, for those of you who don’t know, is a novel penned by L. Ron Hubbard; the guy who invented (yes, invented) the “religion” known as Scientology. The Post article (written by J.D. Shapiro) chronicles how he basically visited a Scientology center in Los Angeles in an effort to meet women. That visit led to him writing the screenplay for the cinematic version of Hubbard’s Sci-fi story. It’s a good article, and you should check it out if you can find it.
Anyway, the article reminded me of my very own brief brush with Scientology. I’m always looking for great topics for my blog, so I thought I’d tell all of you about my experience.
This takes place way back before your ole’ pal Judge Fudge was handed his gavel and powdered wig. It was 2005, and I was working as a sales associate in a shoe store. One autumn evening when I was sweeping up the floor, a young woman walked in wearing a backpack and carrying a clipboard. I was sweeping right near the door, so she came up and introduced herself to me. She said that she was doing a consumer survey. That, coupled with the clipboard and backpack, made me think she was probably doing a survey for a college course she was taking.
I immediately had two thoughts:
1. 11. This is something a store manager should be dealing with.2. I don’t have time for this bulls*it.
So, I pawned the woman off on our assistant manager Stacy (who was the only other employee in the store that evening). A minute or so later, the woman came back and said “Stacy said it was ok if you took the survey.”
Well played, Stacy.
All told, the young woman wasn’t bad looking, and since I figured her to be a college student I assumed that she was roughly my age. I figured that instead of finding a nice way of telling her “I don’t have time for this bulls*it,” I’d indulge her for a few minutes.
The woman started off by asking me pretty inane questions. They were the kind of questions that are designed for everyone to say “yes” to. Questions like “Do you often feel negative emotions?” and ‘Have you ever had an unhappy relationship?’
Anyway, she and I go through about 15 or 20 of these questions, and finally she asks, “What would you say if I told you there was a book that could help you with all of those things I asked you about?”
What I said was “I’d love to learn more.”
What I was thinking was “Awww, crap! If she pulls the Book of Mormon out of her backpack, I’m going to shove it up her ass!”
Turns out she had something much worse: Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard.
At this point, I’m thinking “Is it 'Just' to fake interest in a religion just to possibly get a date with this woman?”
I determined that since Scientology is a fake religion, faking interest wasn’t unjust on my part.
I made small talk with her for about 5 minutes. That’s when she, in passing, mentioned her husband. Seconds after that was when I finally noticed (duh), the gold ring on her finger!
Long story short, the woman had gotten my mailing address and email address before I noodle through the fact that she was going to be going home to a another brainwashed Thetan. As a result, I still (despite moving to a new address in the years since 2005) get nonsense in the mail from this fake religion.
So, Mr. Shapiro of the New York Post and I have something in common. Our respective “little buddies” have gotten us both in trouble with a religion that worships space aliens and (ironically) hates psychologists.Oh well. At least I got out before I was asked to write one of the worst movies ever made.