Let me be clear: the two reasons so many people come to The Amaz!ng Meetings are 1) we strongly feel that critical thinking and skepticism may yet save the world, and 2) we love Randi dearly. This little gnome of a guy is jam packed with energy, drive, and the ability to crush quackery, tomfoolery, hucksterism, and flimflammery across the globe. He's so densely packed with skepticism it's a wonder he doesn't collapse into a black hole.
However, last year he nearly did. We almost lost Randi to a heart attack, and for a few months we weren't sure he would pull through. But now he is back in fighting trim, and I decided to talk to The Man about what happened last year.
See why we love him?
In fact, Hal Bidlack worships him as you can see here:
Hal is pretty tall, and Randi is, um, not so tall. After Hal introduced Randi at the speaker dinner, Randi walked up to the mike and made a face when he saw it was well over his head. Feigning impatience and royal disdain, he crossed his arms and turned away. Hal saw this, leapt to the mike and lowered it for Randi, getting on his knees and cracking Randi up. It was a beautiful moment, and I'm glad I got it (even if it's a little fuzzy).
After the meeting, a few of us went to the Peppermill, a sort of skeptic hangout at TAMs, and Randi joined us. That was a delight. We had conversations that were amazing (of course!). Rebecca (of Skepchick fame) took a picture of the two of them together and complained he never smiles in pictures. She showed him the picture from her camera, and just at that moment he grinned, and I was quick on the trigger of my camera:
I already miss everyone, especially that bald little guy. I am so, so proud to call him my friend. He's little, but he's a giant, a true giant among men.