It happens to all of us from time to time. You’re nodding and amen-ing your way through your pastor’s third sermon in “The Burning Bush Diary” series when it hits you like a crate of wet socks: that boney-bag of sinews and tendons sitting next to you might be a Russian spy! Don’t fret, and hold off on summoning the deacons for an old-fashioned spy-clubbing for now. We’ve compiled a fool-proof list to keep you from playing the role of “Naive Netty” as you discern if your vodka-breathed pew neighbor is a part of Putin’s Posse.
1. He stands on the pew and faces the back wall when praying.
This is textbook Russian spy shenanigans. Just keep a small slit of your eye curtains open during the next prayer session. He won’t be able to resist.
2. He constantly hums “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson.
This is the standard KGB fight song. Keep your ear holes tuned for any sign of this family classic.
3. He responds to “Can I Get an Amen?” with “Lemon Tarts!”
“Can I get an Amen?” is often misunderstood by Russians to mean “What’s your favorite naturally flavored sugar snack?”
4. He claps every time the Philistines are mentioned.
This needs no explanation. Do the math, you delicate pew swan!
5. He cheerily volunteers to wave the Ceremonial Temple Cleansing Flag.
This is a subtle yet telling sign of dedication to communism and the suppression of free speech.
6. He refers to litter boxes as “Yaroslav’s Drawer.”
Try bringing up litter boxes in a friendly, casual manner.
7. He tries bartering three candles and a bucket of paper mache for your spouse.
Ok. There’s no denying it any longer. Whip out your musty spy whistle and let the chirp of freedom ring!