Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Atheist Holiday Spirit

This week on the bus I overheard the following conversation.

BUS DRIVER: So have you finished most of your holiday shopping?

MILITANT ATHEIST: Well, it's not my holiday, so no.

BD: Oh.

MA: But we have a number of friends who celebrate Chanukah, and also a number of friends who celebrate [resignedly] Christmas. We give small presents to those friends, and yes, we've bought most of those presents.

So the correct answer to the driver's first question was "yes." Idiot.

The driver was trying to make pleasant conversation with this guy, and was even courteous enough to talk about "holiday" shopping without specifying which holiday. Could be Kwanzaa, could be Festivus. But the atheist saw an opening for rubbing his atheism in the driver's face, and he ran for daylight!

And the assumption that the noun was "holiday" is facile, since that leaves no purpose for the word "shopping," since we've already heard the verb "have finished." It is obvious to even a grade-school listener that the subject of the sentence is shopping, so the "your" modifies shopping, not holiday. Nobody was making an assumption about your belief system, dude. You don't have to always be "on."

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