Don’t Be A Dick: The Will (A PSA for Nonbelievers)

This short film is one of four Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for skeptics, atheists, and others who need a bit of help when it comes to being social and friendly while still staying true to their (lack of) belief.

This episode stars Professor Chris French, Chris Blohm, and Mrs Cat.

Scripted by Rebecca Watson

Filmed and edited by Charlotte Stoddart

Directed by Adam Rutherford

Title cards by DC Turner

Thanks to Tracy King & DC Turner for the filming location

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. Wow. That was exactly as obvious and patronizing as the PSAs you see on tv. You got the tone just right.

    Tracy King & DC Turner – don’t forget that your location fee is non-taxable income in the US. Oh, wait. That looks like a European location. Not sure if other countries have a Super Bowl exemption.

  2. @FlameTest: Excellent point. Make sure you know whats at stake before you compromise your principles…
    But honestly, Mr Tiddles didn’t even say cover your mouth…Why should he get the money?

    We are a persecuted lot…

    As an aside to the recent AI on this subject – I have come up with a good alternative for the sneeze response. “Oh Dear, I hope you are feeling OK?”
    or “I hope you feel better soon.”

    It has two advantages:
    a. No compromise for those who have issues on the subject.
    b. It actually sounds nicer and more personal than Bless You.

  3. The correct response in the current climate is to whip out one of those plastic segmented party trays, and offer the sneezer a selection of antihistamines, nasal sprays and eye drops, a bit like the scene from the movie “dragnet”

  4. Cute video.
    In our household we are trying to initiate a new habitual response to a sneeze: “Be well.”
    Beats not saying anything. Or the traditional “dog mess you!”
    Oh, have I had that wrong? Shoot, no wonder why I haven’t inherited millions yet!

  5. If Reginald was just deploying niceties to get some fat wads of cash, rather that genuine kindness and concern, he’s still kind of a dick. A greedy, greedy dick.

    Of course, he maybe he’s planning on donating all that money to the Foundation Beyond Belief (as well as a nice new scratching post for Mr. Tiddles), in which case I may be willing to forgive him.

  6. Excuse me, ladies, gents, but I refuse to believe that after being here for like 2 days, I am the first person to note that not only does this person feed her lolcat vermouth, but her name is Nadine Cumspongeson-dicke! Also, do you really fill out a will like a Mad Libs? I’ve never done one. Also also, I never say god bless you when people sneeze. I tried saying gezuntehit once but I think it made me sound like a silly ponce.

  7. I started saying Gesundheit as a teenager when I decided there was no god but was getting crap about not saying “bless you”.

    I recently said it to another mom and when her kid asked what that was she said, “It means ‘bless you'” and I smiled and said, “Actually I think it literally means health-have.” She laughed and said, “Same thing!” and I thought, “Um, no” but didn’t say it…didn’t feel like getting philosophical beyond that in front of the kidlets.

  8. Granny died before she signed the will, so it won’t count.

    Fill-in-the-blank wills do exist (unfortunately), but I recommend you write the full name of your devisees.

  9. Why are people expected to say anything after a sneeze? I have allergies so I sneeze a lot and I would prefer it if people pretended not to notice me while I’m scrambling for a kleenex.

    And while I’m complaining about dumb social conventions, why do men insist that women always have to be the first freaking one off of the elevator or through the door even when it’s completely awkward?

  10. Even when I was a fervent believer, I never considered “bless you” to be in the least connected with my religion, but simply an arbitrary (as most are) rule of etiquette that happens to use a formerly religious phrase. Not too different from saying “goodbye (< God be with you)," although less obscured by phonetic changes. "Gesundheit" doesn't really seem like a less superstitious alternative. Who are you wishing to bestow health, and will saying so make it happen? Sounds like magical thinking to me.

    I don't know how normal it is, but I know that there are cultures that don't require anything to be said in this situation, so there's no particular reason why *we* need to say something. At worst, saying nothing is no more rude than saying something that deliberately draws attention to both the sneeze and the difference of world-views.

  11. Late and OT, but … What about applauding when a someone drops a tray in a restaurant? Are people doing that solely to mock the recipient or is it supposed to be polite? Mostly I’ve seen this in movies rather than in real life, and my gut reaction has always been “What a bunch of assholes!”

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