Monday, November 16, 1987

Life 101

a short story

“Okay, class dismissed. See you back here in ten years to discuss your grade.”

So my wife finally left me - and took the kids. I spiraled downward into a stupor and lost my job.

“Then what happened?”

Well, I got a job at a car plant, but that only lasted three months. Then I was a waiter. Then a janitor, a cook, and then a security guard.

“What about your personal life?”

My relationships weren’t lasting any long than my jobs. Bosses were kicking me out of their offices; girls were kicking me out of their beds. Occasionally I even slept with this woman who was married to a real creep. I was convinced she was going to leave him.

“And did she?”

Of course not. But I left her. Not her so much, just that town. I couldn’t hold a job and finally got evicted from my apartment. My brother in Omaha said I could come live with him.

“How did that go?”

Fine, for awhile. I wasn’t finding a job, but I needed some time to take it easy. I was going to museums and libraries - and the occasional massage parlor. I was reading a lot and painting. I was also watching a lot of TV. Eventually it was just the TV - and the occasional massage parlor.

“How did your brother react?”

He finally kicked me out. He couldn’t take it anymore. Then my parents took me in. They insisted I go back to college and finish my degree. I could live there as long as I was doing that. I commuted thirty miles every day. I quit after three weeks.

“So then what?”

I begged an ex-girlfriend to take me back. I moved in with her and she supported me for awhile. She got her ass pinched at a truck stop for forty bucks a night and was fucking one of the regulars occasionally. We didn’t last long.

“Wow. Do you realize you have not succeeded at anything?”

So my parents keep telling me.

“Why do you think that is?”

If I get bored with something, I quit. I won’t do it if it doesn’t make me happy.

“So is it working?”


“Congratulations. A+.”

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