Monday, September 24, 2007

Viva le beat!

J. Brown of Los Angeles sends in this adorable little tale of quality mother and son reading time. And to think we here at the TBG thought Goodnight Moon was as good as it gets:

In the summer of my 12th year I was a very skinny kid. Too skinny. So skinny I once overheard my mom asking my father, “When is he going to get muscles?” My dad laughed and told her to stop worrying. But she wasn’t the type to let go of anxieties that easily.

That was also the summer my mom and I started to read the same books together. Not together like over-the-shoulder-together. That would be creepy. We’d buy two copies of the same paperback and read them at the same time. But I was a faster reader than her and would always be 20-30 pages ahead. The book we were reading around the time she expressed concern for my lack of anything resembling a manly physique was “Papillon,” the French prison story.

One day I was reading and came to a point where the narrator remarked that many of his fellow prisoners were “so skinny…because they’d been masturbating too much.” I closed the book and thought, “Fuck. She’s going to think that’s the reason.”

Now let the record state that I was masturbating a lot that summer. But I knew that had nothing to do with how skinny I was. One look at pictures of my dad when he was a kid would tell you that it was genetics. But that’s not what my mom was going to think.

Sure enough, a couple days later, we were sitting in the family room both reading when I felt her eyes boring into me. I looked up over the top of my book. She was holding her book and just staring. With that heavy, accusing, stare. She didn’t say anything. Never even brought it up, not even after we finished the book. But she knew I knew what she was communicating with that stare. “Stop jerking off and you’ll grow to be a man.” I looked back down and kept reading.

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