Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chapter Eight: Nonsensical Majesty

Things were beginning to get out of control at The Lit Snob, but luckily, this week's reader was going to be on time, and everything was getting back on schedule.

"Everyone, I'm glad to see you all back again," Todd said to the audience. "I'll just get right to it. This week's reader will be reading the first chapter of his latest autobiography."

"Thank you Todd. Hello everyone. I hope you enjoy the beginning of my story. I've written every chapter in a different style to challenge the reader to follow the story. It may fall flat or get really popular. I guess we'll see."



His mother said when he was born in a hospital in Worcester that certain things would happen during his lifetime that would be different than the men from generations prior. When she brought him back the duplex in Grafton, he would be different than his father and grandfather and ...

He would get along with his brother, unlike the pairs of boys in the family for generations back as far as the eldest members of the clan could remember.

He would go to college, get a real education, and get out of this shithole suburbia that has reigned in the entire family as they become entangled in a web of low-paying temporary-fix jobs that disintegrate lives.

He would not become an angry, alcoholic bastard who betrayed his family by forgetting so often that he had one.

He would make his mother proud.


"Mommy what are you watching?"
"The Super Bowl sweety, the Bills and the Cowboys are playing. You want to watch? I know you love football."

"Mom, I don't want to move again. When you bought a house with Dad in Hopkinton, you went bankrupt and had to sell it and had to move to Ashland. Now you're buying another house in Upton with Kevin. It's not a good idea. I don't want to make new friends again."
"This is my life. I've gone through hell and back with your father and now I'm with someone and I'm happy and we want to make a life together. You'll make new friends. You're going to college in six years, and you'll never see any of them again anyway, so don't worry about it."

"I told you we'd end up moving out. And Kevin was an asshole, just like I said. Too bad it took you four years to realize it. I don't want to switch schools again, not in my sophomore year."
"You won't. We're moving a town over and I'll drop you and your brother off at school on my way to work. It's just the three of us now, we'll be happy."

"I'm going to go out with Ashley tonight, Mom, I really don't want to go hang out with you and Jack at his place."
"Fine, have a good weekend. We'll see you on Sunday, I guess."

"I called Dad, I'm going to move in with him so I can stay in school in Upton."
"I guess that's that then."

"I'm sorry Mom. I never should have left."
"It's ok. Jack is basically kicking us out. We're moving in with you're uncle down the Cape. It's just for the Summer. It will be ok."


He's almost 21 now. He's already started drinking occasionally, and even smokes pot when he feels like it. He writes, fairly well, and his father is dying somewhere in a hospital bed. He's not sure where because he hasn't spoken to him in three years.

He tries to forget he exists because it's too hard. That's why he didn't write as much about him in the earlier chapters. The cold, hard reality that his life has been far from perfect, far from terrible is too hard for him to grasp because he's only ever seen the two extremes on TV.

Dysfunctional families have been laughing and getting through problems in 22 minutes plus ads for the past two decades, or at least as long as he's been watching TV.

He gets along with his brother, is going to college, and is already in debt trying to pay for it. That high wire that keeps you balanced between having a legitimate shot at climbing the economic ladder and being sucked into crappy job after crappy job is getting tougher to stay on. And that Marx book he's reading is making him wonder if he should be trying to climb the ladder at all.

He guesses he makes his mother proud.

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