I have given it serious consideration and come to this conclusion: doorstops are dangerous. In fact, they are so dangerous that I prefer to call them menacing. Now, before going further, maybe we ought to discuss our terms.
Lets define the first, namely, doorstops. Put simply, doorstops are mechanisms installed and employed for the purpose of maintaining the open state of doors. These doorstops come in every shape and size imaginable, but they come mainly in two types—those attached to the door and those not attached to the door. The ones not attached to the doors are, generally speaking, more interesting than the attached variety. Whether it’s a cute little puppy straining with his every effort to keep the door open or a miserable little man getting his guts squeezed out by an unmerciful door, the variations are seemingly endless. The second type, those attached to the doors, are generally more prosaic. Whether attached to the bottom of the door or installed on the hinge, these are typically just a simple, one-piece, slightly bent piece of metal affixed with a rubber cap on one end and attached to the door by a pin on the other to allow for pivoting. The pivoting allows for unobtrusive storage when not in use.
Our second term is the word menacing. When I think of menacing, I think of a bulldog sitting on its owner’s front step, baring its teeth and daring the fool to challenge him. The bulldog has a look of menace in his eyes that should make any man think twice before attempting entrance. The bulldog is a menace, because he could, no doubt, kill the man stupid enough to try. Merriam-Webster defines menace as “one that represents a threat.” An angry bulldog, I think, fits that definition quite well.
Now, lets think of these two terms together—dangerous and threatening mechanisms that keep doors open. Interesting. I’ve never heard anybody put it this way before. In fact, I regularly see people using these mechanisms, and they appear quite healthy and happy, at least most of the time. Sometimes when the doorstop fails, they can get pretty upset. It seems that they expect these mechanisms to perform flawlessly. Maybe that’s why they’re a menace; they appear to be working, but then they sometimes get a bad streak and decide to fail. Just like the bulldog, they look all friendly and happy until—POW—they bite.
Okay, so maybe I’m being somewhat facetious. We all know, after all, that doorstops really are not comparable to an angry bulldog. They just simply don’t bear the threat to our well-being like the stocky canine. However, I still remain convinced that they are not as safe as we might think.
The primary function of the doorstop is to keep the door open. This poses at least one major problem. Lets say we’re moving into a new home and, instead of employing someone with the job of opening and closing the door, or simply doing so ourselves as we lug in the boxes, we drop the doorstop to keep it open. It’s a hot summer day. Lots of bugs are buzzing about. Some of them have stingers, and others have terrible, skin-ripping, blood-sucking devices attached to their anterior. While we’re in the living room stacking boxes, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, malaria-packing mosquitoes, ticks, and a whole army of other bugs march through the open door. Clearly, the doorstop is held responsible for allowing the entry of such menacing bugs. The doorstop probably even called them in while we had our backs turned.
While the above scenario is a bit unnerving, it certainly is not the most extreme example of the doorstop’s menace. It gets worse, much worse.
It’s a beautiful Sunday morning, and the janitor props open the church door with the doorstop as a gesture of kindness. While it does ease the church attendees’ burden of having to open the door, it also poses a threat similar to the scenario I depicted in the previous paragraph. A little winged critter sneaks in unnoticed. The church service begins, and the janitor closes the door. All goes well during the singing, Sunday school, announcements, prayer time, and even the first part of the sermon. It’s not until about three-fourths of the way through the sermon that things get interesting. Pastor Gilbert paces behind the pulpit, preaching a very animated message about the power of the Holy Spirit. His eyes are blazing with energy. He viciously pounds the pulpit to emphasize his various points. With increasing fervor, he preaches. And he’s really preaching—preaching so hard that the sweat starts running down his back, trickling down his forehead, and even dripping off his nose. But he doesn’t care. He’s preaching about the power of Holy Spirit, and he’s showing his church what it looks like.
Pastor Gilbert is about getting ready to start winding down his sermon when his voice suddenly reaches a higher pitch. He had been preaching, but now he’s really preaching. He’s even dancing up and down and running around like a madman. His eyes get a wild, desperate look. His hair stands on end. Tears start streaming down his cheeks. “Look! He’s got the Spirit now!” one of the members whispers to another. “I ain’t ever seen him so animated!”
But he ain’t got the Spirit; he’s got a yellow jacket down his pants. And that yellow jacket is doing a right smart job of sewing it up. Every member is now wide awake. They’re listening with rapt attention. They realize now that they’ve never known what it means to be powered by the Spirit. One by one they stand to their feet, hands raised, shouting amen and hallelujah. But Pastor Gilbert isn’t having much fun.
It all reaches a climax when the pastor jumps so high that he clears the pulpit and crashes into the aisle, breaking an ankle. And then the allergic reaction begins. His throat constricts. His heart goes crazy. Because everybody thinks it’s just the working of the Holy Spirit, they don’t realize that the man’s dying. So he dies.
When the church finally realizes that their pastor is dead, they become so grieved and disillusioned by it all that they leave the faith. As one member expressed it, if the Holy Spirit kills a godly man like Pastor Gilbert, then God must be an awful, bloodthirsty tyrant.
This all happened because the janitor used the doorstop. The doorstop killed the pastor.
I don’t suppose that it would take much more to convince my dear readers that doorstops are a real menace. Not only do they allow dangerous bugs into one’s home, they can go so far as to kill a man, even a pastor. I wish I could stop here, but the fact remains that doorstops are dangerous in still another way. It may not be as dramatic as the death of Pastor Gilbert, but still dangerous nonetheless.
Doorstops do one thing quite well: they keep doors open. While this is great, since it greatly reduces the stress of repeatedly opening the door, the use of the doorstop conveys a subtle attitude. When I use a doorstop, I convey a message of autonomy, independence, freedom from needing others. You see, the doorstop allows me to do it myself. I can engage the doorstop and carry things through the door myself. I don’t need someone else to hold it open for me. This is often done under the guise of convenience and efficiency. After all, if we’re moving into a new home, the doorstop frees up another person to help bring in boxes, but even this is not as good as it appears. Freeing up another person to help bring in boxes means that I’ll get moved in more quickly, which means it’s still all about me. The use of the doorstop gives a subtle but clear message that I don’t need other people. I can survive just fine on my own.
This attitude of individualism is rampant in our society, and it’s also a real problem in our churches. If I don’t get in church what I want, then I move on or make a big fuss about it. If the pastor isn’t funny and engaging, then I find one who is. If the church doesn’t have enough programs to suit me, then I just won’t come. It’s all about me, myself, and I. And the doorstop feeds this attitude, or at least compliments it.
This attitude, if allowed to grow unchecked, will eventually spiral down into the cesspool of moral depravity in which Adolf Hitler swam. He lived with the intent of establishing a superior race, and he didn’t have noble reasons for doing so. I don’t believe it unfair to say that individualism was a powerful motive. He certainly didn’t do it because of having benevolent feelings for others. In a cruel and heartless endeavor, he set out to show himself the best of the best, following the philosophy of macro evolution in which every creature fends for itself. Without individualism, evolution perishes. The philosophy of the doorstop is one of individualism; therefore, the doorstop supports evolution.
I suppose other conclusions could be drawn about the doorstop, but I think I’ve revealed enough to convince most of my audience that doorstops are not to be trusted. They should be used as sparingly as possible. They look harmless enough, but just like a friendly bulldog, they can bite at the least provocation.