Name: John Pidgeon.
Born and raised: Green Bay, Wis., though some there would deny it.
Family: My wife Marianne, five kids, two grandkids.
Education: Master of arts from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Also, my private library, which is among the largest north of Chicago. It has 30,000 volumes on history, science, philosophy, great literatures of the world, and other subjects falling under the umbrella of the liberal arts and humanities.
Occupation: Retired social worker; freelance writer/editor appearing in Poetry, Poetry Daily, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Journal of Nietzsche Studies, Rosebud, The Wisconsin Academy Review, and other literary/scholarly venues no one’s ever heard of.
How I got where I am today: Inquiry, plain and simple.
Where I’m headed: Hell, if others have their way.
Person in history I admire: A set of quintuplet kindred spirits: Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Robert Ingersoll and H.L. Mencken.
These are a few of my favorite things: The score to “The Sound of Music,” the stories of the Edwardian satirist Saki, the novels of Cormac McCarthy, secular existentialism, toddlers, and the Oxford comma.
These are not: Religious bigots; small-mindedness of any nationality, color or creed.
My doubts about religion started: When, as a boy, I received a Rand-McNally globe for Christmas (the irony) and suddenly realized that 70 percent of the planet was covered with saltwater, not to mention that the continents all appeared to have been slowly torn apart from one another at the seams/coasts, and thus, obviously, did not come into existence as they appear now.
Before I die: What? Who said anything about dying?!
Ways I promote freethought: Read, write, repeat.
Why I promote freethought: Because any other kind of thought would be less than free.
By John Pidgeon
Where Freud might view a father figure, and Marx a common fix, or Nietzsche see a dream deferred, a minor mental trick:
the bearded one, the baritone,
the listener after wishes,
grand old manufactured one,
crown of human hitches.
Whatever be our justifications,
whatever be our cross,
how telling we tell little ones
there is no Santa Claus.
How odd that God, deciding to turn author,
learned Greek, and that he did not learn it better.
They hadn’t even thought to write it down,
Not one word of what they’d heard or seen,
The first generation who had known him,
So convinced were they that he would come
For them while yet they breathed, believed, begot,
Till not one was left alive who could forget,
Thus leaving their children’s children to write,
Disagree, augment, diminish, rewrite,
Distill a mixture of contradictions,
Of special pleadings and repetitions,
For some three hundred fifty years before
Constantine ordered closed the canon door,
One line belying all that came to be:
‘My father, why have you forsaken me?’