_To Jacob_
I now refer to teenagers as [_punks_],
modern music as [_all the same garbage_],
and twentysomethings as [_romantically masochistic_].
Lately, Jacob, trying on second-hand jeans at Courage My Love
feels like sitting on a warm toilet seat in a public bathroom.
I don’t know why, but it’s probably the reason my house
reeks of Ikea now: a mixture of pine, polyurethane and
sugared guilt; Afghans sewn by Swedish virgins
and bookshelves the colour of affluent wooden dentures,
appropriated from the wealthy mouths of our forefathers,
proudly displaying my dusty dog-eared socio-political-historical
dissertations, and a dark, growing mass of pulp horror. This is not
a dumbing down, Jacob, it’s just that when I’ve spent the day
swinging from a ladder, wishing death upon the squirrels
digging under my eaves trough, Stephen King speaks to me
in a way that Jacques Derrida, Noam Chomsky or
Jared Diamond can’t. The people at Home Depot run
when they see me, Jacob, and my sponsored child,
finger in her nose, peers at me from her dirt village
in Kenya. The coffee from her country tastes like spiced earth,
and yes, I am aware of this awful arrangement, just as I am aware
of the sunflower heads that I keep in tap water
and how they droop over the mouth of the Chinese fertility vase
like tragic street lamps: they’re beautiful Jacob,
and I’m beginning to need comfort now and then, the
occasional taste of bliss. I could never understand
my father’s fascination with [_Hee-Haw_], nor my mother’s
obsession with gaudy ornaments, but when I was 24
I went to a communist cell meeting at Ossington and Bloor
to find no garbanzos, no angels or sentiment, just a Spanish
cross-dresser railing against his parents. There should have been
a manual for being a thirtysomething, Jacob, much like the Sex Ed
handouts we got in grade six, but with more unwanted hair and tips
on how to hide internet porn from your wife,
how to use a caulking gun without making a sticky mess,
and how to cope with the realisation that despite Billy Corgan’s rage,
we’re headed for tea cosies, Werthers Candies, and purses filled
with warm pennies. Jacob, I must tell you that when I sat in a heated
leather bucket seat last week, I found heaven dawning
along my spine.

fn0. _Arc_ 60, Summer 2008

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