The first thing he mentioned was my laptop; he asked what my major was and I
said computer science. He told me that computers are completely beyond him, but
that he's auditing classes at Binghamton (didn't catch exactly which ones he was
taking), since he wanted something to do and he doesn't think you're ever too
old to improve yourself. I was pretty impressed by this.
As the bus went on, he started - on his own, without any suggestion on my part -
talking about religion. I thought it was a pretty strange topic to bring up with
someone you'd just met, considering how touchy a subject it can be and what his
views were. But he did, and to my amazement, I learned he was an atheist. I wish
I could remember exactly what he said better, but as I recall he expressed his
view that there was no life after death, ridiculed religious exclusivity and
salvation based on holding a particular belief, and stated his opinion that, if
there were a heaven, one good deed would do more to merit acceptance than a
lifetime of faith. Naturally, I was completely absorbed in the conversation by
now; since I didn't want him to think I was just agreeing to humor him, I even
showed him the "Born Again Atheist" button on my bag (which got a smile from
Needless to say, I was very impressed by now. I mean, a 90-year-old (he told me
that was his age) speaking frankly and with no fear about death - that's heavy.
I asked him a bit more about himself and learned he was a surgeon for 50 years,
now retired. (Back when he used to practice, he told me, there were no
specializations - you were just a surgeon in general.) Just think about it - a
90-year-old atheist surgeon! This guy was a living refutation of about half a
dozen fundamentalist stereotypes all rolled into one. ;)
We talked about a few more things before my stop came up, and I was actually sad
when it was time for me to shake his hand and get off. When I got back to my
apartment, though, I looked up his name on Google and found his name on an issue
of the electronic version of my university's newsletter - it said he was the
owner of an excellent collection of rare, ancient original Persian art, which
he's loaned to the college art museum.
Now how about that? It certainly renewed my faith in humanity, so to speak - I
spent the rest of the day in a considerably better mood (which helped since I
had to visit a friend in the hospital later that day). I think I have a new
idol - I only hope I'm like that when I get to that age. I'm actually
considering writing him (snail-mail style). Sometimes it's nice to be reminded
there are intelligent people out there. :)
"Blasphemy is a victimless crime."
Director, EAC Black Monolith Division - "My God, it's full of stars"
Operative: EAC Electronic Warfare Division
EAC Subversive Fiction Division
http://www.ebonmusings.org ICQ: 8777843 PGP Key ID: 0x5C66F737
That is an uplifting story; thank you for sharing it. It's good to
remember that the vast majority of "good" people are just quietly living
their lives, performing small acts of goodness on a day-to-day basis, but
being overshadowed by the minority of loud-mouthed assholes who are
trying to "bring America back to Christ".
> this space intentionally left blank <
> Now how about that? It certainly renewed my faith in humanity, so to
> speak - I spent the rest of the day in a considerably better mood
> (which helped since I had to visit a friend in the hospital later that
> day). I think I have a new idol - I only hope I'm like that when I get
> to that age. I'm actually considering writing him (snail-mail style).
> Sometimes it's nice to be reminded there are intelligent people out
> there. :)
Awesome :) He's got a lot to teach--you'd do yourself a grave disservice if
you _didn't_ get back in touch with him. 90 years of life...wow!
Doc Smartass-=-=-aa# 1939-=-=-BAAWA Knight
Blind Allegience is NOT Patriotism.
Is Your Computer RIAA-approved?
Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story. I'd like to meet more people
...and I think Septic must be destroyed
Fuck you, Kenny!
a.a. #2049 apatriot #17
AIM screen name: Non Homogenized
EAC Director of R.A.M.(classified)
an Official EAC Corruptor of Innocents
"With the first link, a chain is forged. The first speech censured, the
first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all
Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard, in Star Trek: The Next Generation
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