|Ex-priest walks around
to promote World Peace
By Scott Upchuk
SABLE ISLAND, N.S. On All Saints Day, Fred W. Lipschitz, Snr., a lapsed priest of Scientology (and father of the publisher of the Notional Pest -- ed), will begin his walk around the world. Expected to take many years, Dr, Lipschitz's "pilgrimage", is to begin from a desolate beach on Sable Island, Nova Scotia. For his walk, Dr. Lipschitz will be clothed only in a worn, chain-mail jacket and will carry no luggage beyond a few personal belongings. These include a small notebook containing a short personal list of inspirational aphorisms and pithy sayings, which he says, "guide my thinking and every movement."
Dr. Lipschitz, who now admits to agnosticism after a disagreement with the late L. Ron Hubbard over the meaning of 'engram transportutation', is a greying, slightly wizened man of indeterminate age. With a face that can hardly be described as pleasant, his perpetual scowl is occasionally enlivened with a disingenuous lopsided grin, which give him a look of slightly fishy pixiness.
In a wide-ranging interview conducted in his cluttered basement apartment near Dalhousie University in Halifax, he said that he expects to do a complete revolution of the globe by the middle of the present century. "I may be dead by then, but others will carry on," he said.
Over tea and a plate of his home-made chocolate chip cookies, I asked him why he is undertaking such a difficult challenge when already he has an accomplished track record and is now perched in the middle range of category three senior citizenship. Shouldn't he be relaxing and sopping up the rewards of a well-earned retirement?
Impatiently brushing aside the compliments, he explained: "I have written a book, which I believe with all due modesty, will do much to rid the world of racism, bigotry, and help foster world peace. As I near the end of my days, I believe that with the help of my book, I can still make a difference in a bitterly divided world that needs to come together into one human family, undifferentiated as to colour, race or religion, living in peace and harmony under a loving and just God."
'looking forward with pleasure'
As we sat chatting, munching his delicious cookies (he refused to give me the recipe), Dr. Lipschitz was upbeat about the coming arduous walk and "looked forward with pleasure" to the many world leaders he hoped to meet. He said that his only regret is that his book, Spreading the Gospel -- Working with Chinks, Wops, and Niggers, is not getting the critical attention it deserves.
He hopes that this "strange" lack of recognition will be corrected by the publicity he expects to gain from his solo, around-the-world odyssey. "During my walk, I intend to distribute dozens of copies of my book to as many religious leaders and heads of government as will meet with me," he said. "I am especially anxious to meet with the top men of China and the Taliban in Afghanistan; these are examples of leaders desperately searching for new ways to foster peace and understanding."
This is not the first time Dr. Lipschitz has embarked on a quixotic mission to right a world full of perceived wrongs. In the early nineties, he and his wife attracted much local media attention in The Sable Island Gleaner, when, as pairs dancers, they set out to Lindy Hop their way across Canada. This bizarre stunt was meant to draw attention to the threat to the environment posed by the vast amount of unsolicited junk mail that clutters our mailboxes.
Starting from St. John's, Nfld., on Christmas Day, 1991, they got as far as Glace Bay, N.S., when they had to call a halt when Margaret Lipschitz developed a cramp in her right leg, Fred attempted to continue on alone, but he got only a few metres when he found that without his wife, his solo hop dancing was direction-less and he could not maintain a straight line.
Notional Pest will be on hand when Dr. Lipschitz begins his journey to bring you all the details of this wonderful odyssey.
Scott Upchuk, Notional Pest