A Storyby T. Coraghessan Boyle
All I wanted, really, was to attain mythic status. Along the lines, say, of James Dean, Brom Bones, Paul Bunyan, my father. My father was a giant among men, with good-sized trees for arms and fists like buckets of nails, and I was not a giant among men. I wasn’t even a man, though I began to look like one as I grew into my shoulders and eventually found something to shave off my cheeks after a close and patient scrutiny, and I manfully flunked out of three colleges and worked at digging graves at the Beth-El cemetery and shoveling chickenshit at the Shepherd Hill Egg Farm till I got smart and started bartending. That was a kind of wreckage, I suppose—flunking out—but there was much more to come, wrecks both literal and figurative, replete with flames, blood, crushed metal and broken hearts, a whole swath of destruction and self-immolation, my own personal skid marks etched into the road of my life and maybe yours too.