The Intervention of Jerry Coyne.
Jerry Coyne, evolutionary biologist, and sharp critic of religion, saved my workout.
I was running a bit behind last night at the gym, a slightly dilapidated YMCA, in northern Maine. It closed at 8 pm, and I managed to get on the stationary bike at 6:40. If I was diligent, I'd just barely finish my workout before they closed my shitty gym. My plan was twenty minutes of cardio on the bike that doesn't move forward by way of warm-up, followed by about an hour of chest and back super-setting. It would be tight, but if I could keep flat bench moving at a reasonable pace, I would get it done.
With only five minutes left on the bike, up to me sidled the Talker. God fucking damn it was the thought that immediately exploded in my mind. This fucking guy. I have seen him vaporize half hour chunks of people's work-out time before. I've watched as horror set in on his victims, who realized, with alarm and dread that they were, in fact, cooling down. True deer in headlights behavior. The Talker, I've observed, doesn't really give his victims a clear moment to break away and get back to their work outs. People start to walk away, and then he launches in with another salvo of fucking talk. They never keep walking, but turn back in defeat. They don't realize that walking away, sans intro, sans segue way, sans any preparatory dialogue whatsoever is the key to training a Talker, or breaking one of the desire to converse with or -and this is always the more terrible danger of a Talker- monversate to you. Simply turn your back on them while they are mid-sentence and go do your fucking set. If that offends them and they don't want to bore you with whatever dumb shit they just read in Flex magazine anymore then you win. If you get them to at least respect the proper cadence of gym conversation then you win (and maybe others do too). Talk for thirty seconds or a minute, go do your fucking set. Its not fucking rocket science, and it isn't conversation hour at the fucking coffee shop. Its gym time. GYM TIME DAMN IT!
Do. The. Fucking. Work.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, up to me walks The Talker.
"Anything good?" Asked the Talker.
I looked at the time. Fuck he has me for at least five minutes.
"I'm sorry?" I asked.
"What are you reading, anything good." He asked, fleshing out his inquiry.
"Faith vs Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible." I said.
It was kind of sad. His face transformed, going from really excited, to sad and confused. It wasn't instantaneous, there was a struggle as desire to talk fought with the turn of events. I was the only other person in the gym, the only potential victim of his chatty depredation, but here I had thrown him an unexpected and obviously unwelcome curve ball.
"Uh, do you think they are incompatible?" He asked, his voice betraying a lot less excitement than it had a moment earlier.
There was a bit of silence.
"I've known Christian scientists." He offered, but without much enthusiasm. "...I mean scientists who were Christian, not Christian Scientists."
"Yeah. So have I." I said.
Apparently there was no where left to go for him but silence. Which was fine because I had work to do.
Who would have thought that Jerry Coyne, author of the offending book, could intervene and save a poor wretched atheist like me from the long form of the gym Talker problem? Not me. But, alas, here I am confronted with this minor miracle.
Clearly Professor Coyne moves in mysterious ways.