by Jefferson Navicky
You make my life sound so exciting! Just the way you say it, the way you articulate my phrases . . . it makes me think . . . who the fuck is that? Because that’s not my life. I didn’t do those things. Or if I did, they were so long ago I don’t even remember them — curse the internet and its digitally ubiquitous memory! And those people never said those things about me. Or if they did, they were talking about some other person who punches the time clock with my card.
Me? I just ran out of eggs this morning. And I typed too much last night so that now my wrist hurts. When did I get so feeble? I don’t know what to have for dinner tonight. I never do! I put it off every night, hoping my wife will say, ah fuck it, let’s go out! My hands smell weird, like cheese, I guess, or that stuff that gets wedged and grows between your toes.
Isn’t it funny, it’s like I watch myself walking down the street today. And I say to myself, hey great shoes, buddy, I like those pants, where’d you get them? You look like a tree frog who’s got a nice tailor. In a good way. You look NPR sexy.
And then I think about my father. Specifically when he brought my brother and me back to his hometown. We visited all his family, including Uncle Al, the octogenarian who may or may not have been a real uncle. My brother, nine years old, sat in a chair and Uncle Al started talking to him, only him, as the rest of us silently watched. “You look good. Your family’s handsome. Great kids. How you been?” My brother looked like he might cry. My father realized what was happening and interrupted. “Uncle Al, that’s my son. I’m over here.”
You hear that?
That’s not me. It may look like me, may sound like me, but it’s not.
I’m over here.