During the introduction to The Unbelievers, the announcer indicated that there would be a book signing after the film and Q&A. This was at once great news and lousy news, since I had brought my copy of Krauss’ The Physics of Star Trek with that very purpose in mind, but sadly, I have nothing of Professor Dawkins to that same end (yeah, yeah, I know, shame on me :-P). Still, half a loaf is better than none and I exited the theater for the lobby and the line. Uh, boy! There are our two heroes at the center back of the lobby and there is the line, which starts off to the left of the signing table, doubles back, spans the length of the substantial lobby, and out the door! I manage to find the end and not long after, this considerable queue has taken yet another turn and now trails off at least 30 to 40 feet behind me! My fellow atheists and I anticipate a long wait.
And are happily disappointed! Once the line does start to move, its pace is surprisingly quick. Obviously, this is not the organizers’ first rodeo, as we see happy people leaving the building with signed copies of The Greatest Show on Earth and A Universe from Nothing under their arms. After what can’t be much more than 20 minutes, plus or minus, I’m at the table. My camera phone has been handed off to the couple behind me, who have graciously assented to get a couple shots of me with Dr. Krauss. As I step up, I note that Professor Dawkins is in a pause between signatures. No, I don’t have a book for him, but I’ll never have a better chance.
I stick out my paw. “Sir, I just want to say thank you … for everything and everything.” He accepts my hand in a measured grip and a facial expression which gracefully acknowledges my stumbling phrase. Sounds foolish, I know, but how do you show appreciation to someone who has worked so hard and done so much and been thanked for it tens of thousands of times?
Krauss has just finished with the previous guest and is ready for me. I hand him my book. “Hi … Case, Class of ’73,” I tell him. “Wow, you went to Case? That’s a tough school,” the former Case Tech professor responds as he puts his scrawl on the title page. “I know, I barely survived the place,” and to this day, I wonder how I did. We turn to the camera for the pic, then I take Lawrence’s hand. “Thank you so much, we owe you a lot.”
“Thank you for coming.” Not an empty phrase, that, I think. Yeah, he and Richard are the superstars, but without interested and engaged people, there’s no film, no event and maybe no atheist movement challenging the millennia-old superstitions which would take our world back to the Dark Ages if we let it.
Walking back to the garage, I’m met by yet another couple, and we chat about Seth Andrews and Peter Boghossian’s new strategy and the book that describes it and YouTuber Steve Shives as we walk back to our cars. I wish them safe journey and settle into the driver’s seat. On an impulse, I check my phone to see how the pix turned out and am very pleasantly surprised. The person I entrusted that task to clearly went above and beyond the call.
Amazing time, amazing people … and all I can think about is: “When can I do this again?”