Chick Chom Tang and I are very much alike: childless, suburban-bred, TV-culture baby boomers who somehow missed the boat on the Promises of Youth. Neither of us has ever come close to marriage. Both of us have been poor (by American standards) all our adult lives. As solid and supportive as our families have been, they probably still regard us as disappointments, difficult to explain in the annual Christmas letter, the funny uncles in the family tree. We console each other in weekly beer-drinking sessions, telling fond tales of childhood and ancient female conquest. The strong difference between us is that, while I try to be realistic about my circumstances, Chick believes his life has not yet begun.