the life of richie

A SINGLE MAN

Posted in is, Rich's book club by Rich on January 25, 2010

Rich went to see A Single Man last week which was, of course, not quite the Isherwood book, but lovely still. (And he rather imagines that it was what it will be like, he writes to his friend Barney.) “In truth, I can’t quite imagine you teaching eighth grade, darling –– I have great sympathy for anyone who works with middle schoolers…” he writes to his friend, three months after he received the original message on Facebook, as if no time had passed at all. “In middle school, they are just hot bundles of angst and acne –– once angelic stars gone all supernova. Just hormone factories.”

In class during the “getting to know you” segment on the first day, one girl in his Thursday afternoon block course mentions that she has fifteen piercings, and a boy named Joe calls out from across the room, “Where?!” –– and then realizes, “Sorry; I didn’t mean to ask that (shouldn’t have asked),” but Rich continues the interview unfazed: “So, are you finished then, or are you planning on getting more?” And the girl concedes to being finished –– for now. The boy named Joe is the only student in all of Rich’s classes this term majoring in literature; most are studying computers or accounting or nursing. There are several novitiate x-radiographers in the pierced girl’s company this Thursday; Rich doesn”t know what to say to them about x-radiography, except, “Well, you’ll all have jobs –– the health care industry is booming (booming, he says), and everyone is getting so old. In ten years, kids, it’s going to be bleak: just us and a bunch of old people roaming the stark planet. So, anyway –– radiographers, ex x-radiographers! –– in high demand! (Booming!)”

As he and his friend Emily drive home from the college, on their way to Atlantic City, Rich converses with her about grotesque pop culture idols while also wondering, What will happen to us though, Joe? I asked, “What do you want to do with a literature degree?” and you said, “Oh, I don’t know, man.” To major in literature: the world, the whole world! But I think that we are rather like x-radiographers too, Joe… and explains to Emily the ten surgeries Heidi had as he had watched two interviews with her three nights ago.

And thinks: this is what it will be like. That. And.

It is called Rich. Or sometimes Richie. And will be Richard.

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