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Freethought Today · December 2013

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Meet a Michigan Member

Name: Eric C. Sanders.

Where I live: Macomb County, Mich.

Where and when I was born: Detroit, Jan. 19, 1950.

Education: Two semesters at Wayne State University; the full course at Electronic Computer Programming Institute, Detroit (1971); variety of trade courses from McCormack & Dodge and IBM, along with lots of on-the-job training.

Occupation: First I was a kitchen boy at a Girl Scout camp, then everything from short-order cook and pizza delivery boy to mainframe computer operations, to 20 years’ mainframe computer programming to cabbing, and now retail service in a gun shop. 

How I got where I am today: Luck. My bum knee got me out of the Army on a medical discharge after being drafted in spite of a doctor’s note, but my discharge was a week too early to qualify for G.I. benefits. As a result, I never finished a degree and lost a house. While a student at computer school, though, I met a fellow who wound up recommending me for progressively better jobs in information technology.

Finally, my job was eliminated, and I was invited to go someplace where my lack of a degree would not be important. Then an acquaintance was fired from the job I now hold. That’s only half of the story. I know no one up there likes me.

Where I’m headed: Short term? I’m going to find out whether my investment choices, along with Social Security and what earnings I can garner, will support me the rest of my life. Long term? Recycling, obviously.

Persons I admire: Anyone who can stay cool while his tectonic plate heads hellward — haven’t known that many such people, certainly not admirable ones. 

Not personally known? Writers Bob Heinlein and Louis L’Amour, Medal of Honor winners Audie Murphy and Rodger Young, cartoon creators R. Crumb and Michael Maltese, and singers Eddie Van Halen and Janis Ian. Plus the person who first thought up writing and reading -— greatest invention in history.

A quotation I like: There are a bunch. Ecclesiastes 9:11. 1 Corinthians 13:2. Matthew 25:40. Henry James on the three things important in human life (all end in “be kind”).

“People said there was one law for the rich and one law for the poor, but it wasn’t true. There was no law for those who made the law, and no law for the incorrigibly lawless. All the laws and rules were for those people stupid enough to think like Cockbill Street people.” (Terry Pratchett) 

And lastly, Abraham Maslow: “He that is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail.”

These are a few of my favorite things: A companion who listens. Foley that means it [accurate sound effects]. Tenderloin (skillet fried). Meatloaf that’s meatloaf. Snacks unconcerned with nutrition. Beautiful women who love to eat and drink. A book, or a movie, that is its own story. Any pistol with inverse rails. Folks who carry concealed, unconcerned with fashion. Manual transmissions. Air conditioning (thank Willis Carrier)!

These are not: Wal-Mart. Nutritious “snacks.” Religious people who do not know God, let alone Her shoe size. Teachers who don’t. Cooks more concerned with presentation than with comfort. Parents who shouldn’t. Governments.

My doubts about religion started: My childhood researches into the art and science of shoplifting led to me being sentenced to read the Revised Standard Version from cover to cover. The content was my first real brush with formal English literature, but it did not persuade me that its writers knew anything that I didn’t. It was just too inferior to really imaginative fiction, such as the works of Heinlein or Conan Doyle.

What I wished for as a child: Real proof that I was important to someone else — important for a reason unique to me.

Ways I promote freethought: Speaking and writing to anyone and everyone, always the truth as closely as I can discover it.

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