Thursday, June 22, 2017

the last book I ever read (Denis Johnson's Seek: Reports from the Edges of America & Beyond, excerpt eleven)

from Seek: Reports from the Edges of America & Beyond by Denis Johnson:

The most spectacular character-building was being undertaken by one of my classmates, a paralyzed kid in a wheelchair. His houseboy pitched his tent for him on a metropolis of jungle fire ants and drove away, and this boy spent the weekend trading his supply of ice-water—a big jug of it he had—for insecticide and bug repellant. Although we weren’t friends, just vaguely acquainted, under these unusual circumstances I suddenly recognized that we were a lot alike. He allowed himself to be enrolled in everything, clubs, Little League, choir, and so on, but he refused to stick to his script—we were supposed to admire and pity him and he was supposed to be cool, but actually he acted like a big brat, uncontrollably dissatisfied and constantly sneering or complaining or acting defeated. I still see him slumped over in his wheelchair, flushed with baby anger, squirting poison fumes into the dirt around him.

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