Chapter 4

doomed, all of us doomed :-)

Just to reassure everyone, the image above has little to do with tonight’s chapter. Neither Sean nor Holden are doomed, thank God! Otherwise our story would be over much sooner than planned. Since the chapter takes place mostly inside Wigglesworth Hall, however, it seemed only appropriate to share this image with you after completing my internet research this week.

By the way, consider the name Wigglesworth for a moment; is that a cool name or what? Wouldn’t you love to live in a dormitory named Wigglesworth if you were in college? Or better still to make passionate love to someone named Wigglesworth in Wigglesworth Hall for that matter?

Think about the possibilities; once you finished the deed, you could actually ask your partner whether he or she got their wiggles worth? Thanks for that, Dan!

As for the image, I just happened to be reading my copy of The Day of Doom before sitting down to write this post. Originally published in 1662, that’s a religious poem written by Michael Wigglesworth.

Not that Wigglesworth Hall is named after Michael Wigglesworth; it isn’t. From what I could learn doing my research, the place is named after Edward Wigglesworth; not just one Edward Wigglesworth but two of them, a father and son.

The father, apparently known to some as Doubting Wigglsworth for his more questioning religious views, was a member of the Class of 1710 while his son graduated from Harvard with the Class of 1749. Neither of those classes held reunions this year as best I could tell, but apparently the father and son lived for nearly seventy years on the site where the residence hall is now located.

So that’s how Wigglesworth Hall got its name.

By the way, the father was the first holder of the Hollis Chair of Divinity at Harvard, the oldest endowed chair in the United States, the first professorship in theology in the country, and considered to be the most prestigious endowed professorship in America in the early 19th century, at least if Wikipedia is to be believed. The father was appointed to the Chair in 1722, his son succeeding him in 1765.

Neither of these gentlemen apparently is noted for much else although they were, respectively, the son and grandson of Michael Wigglesworth, a much more interesting character in my humble opinion. Yale historian Edmund S. Morgan has characterized Michael Wigglesworth as a “morbid, humorless, selfish busybody;” someone who exemplifies all the negative stereotypes we have about Puritans.

Whether Morgan can be entirely trusted in this harsh judgment is hard to say because, although educated at Harvard, Morgan taught most of his life at Yale, perhaps best known as Harvard’s arch-rival and the loser of the last eight meetings between the Harvard and Yale football teams.

It can make one bitter.

As a totally irrelevant side note, Yale was apparently founded in 1701 “to counter Harvard’s drift from orthodox Calvinism” (at least if an article at is to be believed).

How about them apples! Bulldog, Bulldog, bow wow wow!

Quoted below is an especially lewd paragraph from Wikipedia about Michael Wigglesworth that seemed to me to be worth noting.

[Michael] Wigglesworth believed that he was essentially not worthy of believing in God as a result of merely being human. When he underwent a series of nocturnal emissions in his early life, he was thereafter convinced of his damnation. Through his diaries, he recounts his struggle to remain pure and good, despite continually relapsing into what he viewed as man’s natural depravity.

Omigod, the horror! Michael Wigglesworth apparently considered himself damned because he had wet dreams as a boy.

Shocking as that may be, it’s apparent Michael did find other outlets for his, uh, emissions as he did go on to father Edward Wigglesworth, who in turned fathered his own son, also named Edward, both discussed above; and although not relevant to anything else in this post, I should probably note the younger Edward also fathered a son named Edward Wigglesworth as well.

Sadly, however, none of the three were ever nicknamed Fast Eddie by the local girls , at least as far as I could find out on the internet.

Which is not to say Michael Wigglesworth didn’t have issues, of course. He did. Among many other things, he apparently lusted for some of his young male charges as a teacher at Harvard. If the link works, which is doubtful, you can find out more about this here; although, compared to Michael’s youthful emissions, the article I’ve linked to makes for rather, uh, dry reading.

If the link doesn’t work and you insist on knowing all the disgusting details, try googling The Curious Case of Michael Wigglesworth and you may be able to access the article.

Alas, you may also be disappointed as it seems Michael heroically managed to avoid doing anything nasty like bedding one of the young lads; much to their regret, perhaps, although Michael was definitely not the hottest dude in Cambridge from the images I’ve seen of him.

Whew! Is all of that interesting or what? You see the lengths I’ll go to provide you with worthless trivia about Harvard.

In any event, as you’ll recall, Sean eluded campus security last week by gaining entrance to Wigglesworth Hall and then being rescued by our story’s second main character, a student at Harvard College named Holden.

We learned a bit more about both Holden and Sean in that last chapter; and we’ll learn still more tonight. Whether it will be enough to keep you happy is hard to say. But, then again, as Michael Wigglesworth understood all too well, happiness can be a pretty elusive thing in life.

Don’t believe me? It’s all there in The Day of Doom, which describes a judgment day on which a vengeful God renders his decision on each of us, going into detail as to the various categories of people who think themselves excusable who will nonetheless end up in Hell.

Let’s hope you’re not one of them for reading or commenting on this chapter 🙂


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