If he says it one more time, I will kill him. This
is not hyperbole. I have cause, just cause, to take him out-my son,
the new teenager, the purveyor of the non sequitur, the little
!@#$#% who thinks this is the pinnacle of high comedy.
Dad, guess what?
Wait, let me stop right here. You need context for this to
make sense. You have to know the buoyant hope with which I
unconsciously respond to my son; you need to envision his beatific
dome turning to me in the car, a smile on his face that can melt
steel, a sparkle in his eye foretelling outstanding accomplishment,
recognition, genuine inspiration.
I mean, you have to believe, the way I always believe,
that this time, this grin, this smirk is heartfelt. This time it's
not a sucker's bet. You have to let your mind unspool histrionic
scenarios of potential greatness: He's on the honor roll; he got
picked as valedictorian; he invented flubber.
You have to be standing there elbow deep in sink-water
splendor thinking about your other life, the one wherein you stand
with an insouciant slouch against the dark mahogany bar of a
private club that is feting your recent literary-
You have to be hauling a bag of dog food up onto your
shoulder, envisioning yourself trim and well-jeaned, worn flannel
sleeves rolled up, neighborhood soccer moms slowing down their
minivans and thinking how lucky Mrs.-
You have to be on your knees in the laundry room fishing
underwear out of the dryer vent and wondering how in the name of
God-I mean, how is it even possible? Did the underwear pull the
lint screen out? Did they transmogrify themselves into
You have to be asleep, deep into the dream about the
mahogany bar, Don Draper just finishing his riveting extemporaneous
speech lauding your singular character, rolling it into a metaphor
about Scotch, people crying, the reporter from Life magazine
applauding, and you-
You have to be hunkered over your old Royal, like an anvil
with buttons, your mind reeling with the pure, unadulterated
beauty, the sheer mind-bending brilliance of the first sentence of
your first screenplay, when the main character-a perfect blend of
Cary Grant, Tom Hanks and Bruce Campbell-looks into the camera and
WHAT!? WHAT?! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY-WHAT? WHAT?
WHAT? WHAT? WHAAAAAAAT?!!!!
Christopher lives in Chicago with his wife and kids and can also be found at deathbychildren.com.
See more of Christopher's stories here.
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