Columnist offers advice on how to avoid canvassers

Joey Pasko  offers three tips to keep a class commute bother-free from canvassers and preachers. All the signs are here: The trees are beginning to bloom, the weather is warming up once more and that

Screen shot 2012-03-26 at 7.48.05 PMJoey Pasko  offers three tips to keep a class commute bother-free from canvassers and preachers.

All the signs are here: The trees are beginning to bloom, the weather is warming up once more and that weird guy who sits on Beury Beach with a guitar playing Hootie and the Blowfish songs is back. All of these events can only lead us to one logical conclusion: It’s springtime on Main Campus.

Yes, springtime, people. And while we’re so quick to celebrate the good weather with a 40-ounce Hurricane in hand, let us realize that with warmth comes more than flocks of scantily dress students to the Bell Tower.

I am of course talking about the colorful collection of volunteers and fanatics who will soon inhabit the Bell Tower area with clipboards and handouts in tow. These people range anywhere from religious and political activists who would just love to talk to you about Jesus’ views on abortion, or even the Green Peace guys who are so eagerly awaiting to ambush and guilt you into joining their cult, or club or whatever.

But fear not, children, I have prepared several techniques that could possibly aid in your quest for avoiding human contact. These techniques have undergone rigorous testing done by myself on the various vagrants of the city. I can personally guarantee that if these techniques don’t work, you will at the very least have an entertaining story for your friends.

When being approached by these green-vested volunteers and asked if you wish to join this organization it is best to try technique No. 1, which is to say, “Why yes, sir or madam, I am a member of your cult.”

This is risky, but it is a great way to avoid the situation leaving both the Green Peace volunteer and your feelings in tact. He says, “Oh great. How long have you been a member?” You lie and say, “Why, like 3 years, brother.” Be specific. Say you know people. “Oh yeah Jennifer Sherriff got me to join, do you know Jennifer?”

They say “No,” of course, because Jennifer is your made up friend in Green Peace. But they won’t know that until they go home and Facebook-stalk her to no avail. Poor sucker.  But either way, you walk away dodging a bullet and they sit there thinking they just met a friend with whom they can go with to Whole Foods.

Technique No. 2 is a bit more risky and requires you to let go of more of your inhibitions. However if done correctly, you can effectively save yourself from ever having to talk to one of those crazy religious dudes ever again. The trick is to out-crazy them. That’s right, if they bump the crazy to a 10, you flick things right up to 20. So when they say, “Hey do you think Jesus would approve of Obama being a socialist Nazi?” You reply, “Does my face smell like ghost monkey? Of course Jesus is a can of soup.”

Simply baffled by your new level of insanity, you can tip your hat, wish them a Festive Don Cheadle Day and continue on your cross-campus romp. Like I said, it’s a bit riskier, but big risks can bring big rewards.

Technique No. 3 is fun but stands to embarrass you a little more. Instead of engaging in a conversation with these people you can simply bypass the whole experience by pretending you don’t speak the English.

“But wait Joey, I don’t speak another language!”

Oh you silly Billy. Neither do I, but that doesn’t stop me in the least. Just pretend you do. If someone tries to quick grab you with a pitch like, “Hey do you like living on Earth,” just throw out something that sounds vaguely like Russian or perhaps a weird Italian dialect. And for God’s sake, commit to it.

Do right and they’ll just weirdly feel embarrassed and say something like, “Oh, OK, sorry about that. Bye.” I’ve done this before and it is just simply hilarious. I for the love of God don’t do a Borat accent. Nothing says, “Hi there, I’m a huge turd,” than a Borat accent.

Also make sure it’s believable based on your looks. I turned a corner once and was bombarded and thinking quickly I used technique No. 3 but I accidentally sounded Asian. He knew I was full of crap, I knew I was full of crap. It wasn’t the best. Be mindful of that.

I hope that in sharing these techniques you are able successfully avoid being a target for these volunteers with their agendas to save the Earth, make the world better and what have you. I mean you could totally disregard all of this and actually talk to them, too.

I mean if you care, you might actually be able to help. Sometimes they aren’t so stupid after all. But that’s if you’re a super good person, which I am not and I’m pretty sure you aren’t either. So just do yourself a favor and take my horrible advice. And don’t forget to really sell it.

Joseph Pasko can be reached at

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