Ron Cowie reacts to Stephen King’s Daily Beast article titled, “Tax Me For F@%&’s Sake!”
I’m going to talk to you about unrealistic expectations and high school sexuality.
Let’s say America is the high school sweetheart of our school. She’s beautiful, smart, aristocratic, and highly athletic. Everyone wants America to eat at their lunch table; especially the exchange students. Oh sure, the D&D club doesn’t like America but they all smell like milk, onions, and whatever else the British eat (cigarettes and booze).
I ask America to the prom. She says “of course,” and I feel like I’m the luckiest teenager in the world. I go into debt making reservations at the steakhouse, renting a limo, buying some flowers, renting a tux, because I’m investing in what I hope to be the best night of my teenage years. Maybe America and I have a bright future?
Prom night arrives. At dinner, America orders the king cut prime rib but only takes three bites. She drinks all the scotch from my hip flask on the way to the dance. She’s allergic to pollen and can’t wear the flower. America dances with everyone else but me. She makes out with the Chinese exchange student and slow dances with the rich guy. She smokes dope with the Organic Farming Club behind the gym.
After the dance, America gets carsick and ruins my tux. She keeps talking on her cell phone with the rich kid (whom she loves to hate) about how she needs to be free and her parents don’t understand her.
After that, America says she’s still hungry and wants pancakes. At this point, my driver suggests I can still save the evening by putting the pancakes and coffee on my dad’s credit card. “He’d be an asshole for not letting you do it.”
I like pancakes too, so I do it. After that, America gets a text that there is a great party and the rich kid picks her up from the diner. I get a smile and a hug for my efforts. “Let’s do this again sometime,” she says before disappearing into the teenage midnight.
It would be great to castigate America for being such an ungrateful and self-absorbed person, but what were my expectations? What did I really think was going to happen? I thought, foolishly, that taking America to the Prom would make me popular. I thought a relationship with her would solve all my teenage problems.
America is complicated. Her parents don’t speak to one another. Her dad is going bankrupt and their pastor is sleeping with her mom. Her cousins have been fighting about who gets to sit where at the Thanksgiving table for decades. Her brother is a pothead and her sister is Canadian (I don’t know what they do up there). America has been told all her life that she’s special and she doesn’t quite know what that means because everyone tells her something different about what they think “special” is.
In light of that, America is doing the best she can. She’s perfectly broken. Every now and then America has to change, but that’s hard to do when plenty of people like her just the way she is as long as she does what they say.
The solution isn’t giving her more money or cutting up her credit cards. Maybe we could help America by lowering our collective expectations and start to live sanely in our own worlds. We don’t need to take her bad behavior lying down, but we also can lead by example.
You can switch the gender around to fit your preference but the point is a relationship with America will never be simple or just a matter of money.
PS You have a potty mouth.
Photo courtesy of Jim, the Photographer