Family and Relationships
A low-grade, persistent terror plagued me throughout the summer before sixth grade, because in June I’d found out I was to spend the next year in Rabbi Friedberg’s class at my Orthodox Jewish Hebrew school.
I worked weekend nights and a couple of afternoon shifts during the week. Sometimes I requested more hours just to get away from home. Being away meant I didn’t have to deal with the sadness that lingered in our house.
When my brother was twelve, I found six mice nailed to the wall of the abandoned tree house in the woods near our apartment. He spent a lot of time there. It seemed to me the little mouse faces were frozen in agony. As though they’d been alive when he’d hammered the nails through them.
We experience two kinds of violence: the violence done to us by others, and the violence we do to ourselves. The latter hurts more, because it’s of our own making.
You do not have cramps. That’s invented by women who want attention. We don’t go in for that kind of malingering — that’s what it is. You have cramps because you eat too fast. You don’t chew.
Just one time I had done something nice. Just one time I had left some forlorn teenage girls an offering of chocolate and words, and suddenly I was the local pedophile. I hadn’t left them Fifty Shades of Grey.
My dad’s name was Ed, but his friends called him Eddie. In old photos he is Jack Nicholson handsome, with devilish good looks and a mischievous gleam in his eye. I can see why my mom fell for him.