Hey mister, whatcha reading?

I had a funny experience this afternoon. I was at the University bookstore, and I went to take a look at the atheist shelf, just to see if there was anything new – after I looked to see if Does God Hate Women? is still on its shelf (it is, next to Why Truth Matters), and noticing as I picked my way through the maze of shelves what a lot of shelves there were with ‘Spirituality’ as their label, especially compared to the one short shelf that holds the atheist books. So I got to the (tiny) atheist shelf and behold – there was another human being there. Aha, thought I; it is spreading! I snickered inwardly, and looked at the shelf, and when this guy put back the book he’d been looking at, I naturally looked to see what it was. It was 50 Voices of Disbelief. This is very bad, but I couldn’t help it – I blurted out ‘I have an essay in that book!’

I know, I know, but come on. Life is short, and how often do you get the chance to do that? Be fair. So I blurted it out, and the guy asked if it was a good book, and I said (truthfully) yes. So he decided to buy it after all. Then he said, looking at the shelf, there were more of these all the time, and I said ‘About time,’ and he said ‘Yes – two thousand years overdue.’ Then I sidled away so as not to embarrass myself any further.

Look, it could be worse. I could have gone back to the philosophy section and grabbed those two books and come back and shoved them in his face. I didn’t do that. Very self-abnegating, I was.

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