Demetrios’ Great Uncle Panagiotis was a journalist. (That’s “Pahn–ah-YO-tees”.) He came to America sometime around 1920 and worked on the staff of the Greek-American newspaper, The National Herald. He stayed in America several years before returning to Greece.
Once, Uncle Panagiotis attended a service of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In those days, they were expecting the end of the world in six months. The preacher was talking about how money would become worthless and would be lying in the streets like trash, when Uncle Panagiotis stood up and said, “You don’t believe a word of this!”
There were gasps and protests, but Uncle Panagiotis stood his ground. “No, not one of you here believes this,” he said, “and I can prove it to you.”
“How much are you paid per month?” he asked the preacher.
The preacher told him.
“Fine,” said Uncle Panagiotis. “I will pay your salary for the next six months so you can quit your secular job and devote yourself to preaching the end of the world to as many people as possible, to prepare them.”
Silence, while people weighed the pros and cons of the preacher giving up a good job.
“But if the end of the world doesn’t happen by the end of the six months,” Uncle Panagiotis continued, “then each member of the congregation will owe me $2 per month for the rest of my life.”
No, no, that was too much. No deal!
“But you’ve just said money will become worthless,” Uncle Panagiotis replied. “Well, then, make it one dollar a month from each of you for the rest of my life.”
They didn’t want to do that, either.
“You see?” said Uncle Panagiotis, with a shrug. “It's as I said. You don’t really believe the end of the world is coming.” And out he walked.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007