Today, we are candles.
He hoarded his Christmas gifts. We would get him cologne, ties, shirts, tchotchkes from our travels, treatments to soften his overworked hands, and they would all find their ways into drawers and cabinets, untouched for years. His clothing had to wear to nothing before he would discard it and start the next one’s slow disintegration. New, untouched things are a treasure to save for when they are needed, not an indulgence for in between. Scarcity is behind every shadow and over every hill, and a good hoard is insurance against doing without. It’s a habit my father, my grandfather, and I all share, to each other’s bemused frustration. They tangled with Communists, I grew up autistic, and we all hoard.
There’s nothing quite like a set of loaded questions from a believer to illuminate what being an atheist really means. For all the increased and increasing visibility that celebrity nonbelievers like Daniel Radcliffe and Jodi Foster are getting us, and for all that atheist thinkers like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett have rendered an exemplary case for non-belief as a philosophical position, we continue to suffer from a litany of stereotypes. (Often, our most visible proponents do little to disprove them…)