Crazy psycho religious nuts and normal jailed citizens. Something interesting seems to happen every day at the animal shelter.
First, religious nuts. When someone wants to adopt a young kitten, we have them foster it for a couple weeks first, to make sure it's not going to die on them. If it's healthy after two weeks, they bring it back to us, we finalize the adoption, then they can take the cat home.
So this guy brought in his kitten to finalize the adoption. He was a pudgy, middle-age guy with a butch haircut and worst of all, a truculent expression on his face. The first words out of his mouth after the poor girl (we'll call her Amber) at the front desk said hello was, "I ain't getting the cat microchipped."
That was somewhat of a non sequitur, but Amber said, "Excuse me?"
The man snapped again, "I ain't getting the cat microchipped, and I don't care what you say."
Amber was somewhat at a loss, but hesitantly pulled out the fostering agreement and pointed to a line in it. "But you agreed to get it microchipped, and you even signed right here that you would."
The man was adamant. "You can take the cat back, but you ain't putting a microchip in it."
Amber didn't know what to do next, since our director wasn't in (it was Saturday), and the man was very confrontational. I stepped in, "Why don't you want to get it microchipped?"
"Religious reasons," he said.
"Oh. What religion are you?" I asked.
"Mormon," he said. That happened to be my religion also, but I couldn't remember hearing any sermons about the evils of microchipping, or reading any scriptural verse warning against it.
"Exactly what religious tenet warns against microchipping?" I inquired.
For the first time he hesitated. "Well...I just have my own ideas about where microchips are heading."
I got the impression he thought we were going to tattoo a "666" on the cat's forehead, then have a dozen spy satellites tracking its every movement. How do you argue with religious belief, though, especially when it's a "personal" one and not even in line with the man's religion? "Um, I'm sorry, your religion doesn't actually believe that. Now, do you want a matching microchip in you, so our agents can know where to find you at all times?"
Amber and I huddled, and I suggested that she go ahead and do everything else, let the guy take the cat, then we could discuss what to do on Monday, when our director would be in. We had the guy's address and phone, so we could get the cat back if necessary. She agreed, and the guy left, happy in the knowledge that he had saved one more poor cat from the belly of the Beast.
Later than afternoon, I was sitting with our three inmates in the break room, eating lunch with them. I was telling them about the psycho guy, and bemoaned the fact that there were so few normal people around.
"Hey, I'm normal," one of them protested, hesitated, then added, "Well, except for being in jail," and he grinned.