I doubled back to take a second look at the sticker fixed to the back window of the car. I had seen it first a few moments earlier as I walked past: a fish-shaped outline, but different from other ones I had seen. This fish had letters in it spelling ‘DARWIN’. The car window was open and I asked the lady if I could take a photo of the sticker. Surprised, she said ‘Yes’ and then told me that it belonged to the car owner. He happened to arrive back at the car just then, ice-cream in hand, and I repeated my request. ‘Sure thing’, he said. I told him I hadn’t seen this kind of sticker before and I asked him what it meant to him. ‘Like the born-again Christians’ symbol but with Darwin in. Notice the feet on the fish. I’m an atheist’, he said cheerfully, licking the chocolate coating of his ice-cream. ‘And a humanist’, he added.
‘Well, we’re certainly all humans together’, I responded with a smile, and thanked him again.
Curious, I thought, that twenty minutes earlier I had been reading about Darwin and his impact on many diverse fields of study some hundred and thirty years earlier, and that his ideas are still playing out in debate and contest.
Curious also, the man’s cheerfulness in his confidence about the absence of any deity. Surely that would warrant sadness, like the sadness of children grown old, whose parents had died.