The Wall Street Journal 's popular columnist Jason Gay delivers a hilarious and heartfelt guide to modern living.
" The book you hold in your is a rule book. There have been rule books before—stacks upon stacks of them—but this book is unlike any other rule book you have ever read.
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Nov 2015
From the cover
This was not long ago: I was back home, in Massachusetts, in the house I grew up in, sitting in the same kitchen I'd sat in my entire childhood and adolescence, eating . . . I have no idea what I was eating. Probably peanut butter. Random refrigerator finds dipped in peanut butter. It was very late, close to two in the morning. My mother was asleep. My father was asleep. I'd just come from work, if you could call it "work," because I had been about fifteen minutes away, covering the World Series as a sports columnist, which is about as stupid lucky a job as you can have, the kind of job that makes you think one day a stern-faced man with a clipboard is going to show up and say, There was a terrible mistake. This isn't your job. You're supposed to be managing a karaoke bar for dogs. In the morning I had to fly back to New York City, and I knew that upon waking, I would bicker with my dad about what time we needed to leave the house. This was always a comical argument, our version of Abbott and Costello. With no traffic, you can get from our house to the airport in a half hour. I believe leaving ninety minutes in advance is reasonable. My father preferred to leave in 1987.
In the darkness the kitchen looked so small. Let me be the ten thousandth person to point out that the house you grew up in does not resemble the house you visit as an adult. Its scale is lost, its proportions change, and the artifacts of your childhood have been rearranged or have vanished altogether. That woolly couch, the one with the painful buttons on the back . . . where did that couch go? New discoveries reveal exotic, previously unknown details about your parents. There is truffle oil in the cabinet. Truffle oil. When did Mom and Dad start liking truffle oil? It's like finding a koala bear pawing around in the garage.
I went upstairs to my room, which hadn't been my room for more than two decades, and really was never fully mine, because for most of my childhood I shared it with my brother and a series of uncooperative cats. Privacy existed only in my thoughts. I knew this room to be the room where I became myself, or had fantasies of future selves that would never happen. This is the room where I wanted to be Larry Bird. Where I wanted to be Prince. Where I wanted to be Sting. (Yes, I wanted to be Sting. I'll come down and fight you right now.) It was the room where homework was done, or homework was not done, where girls were called and the fathers of girls were hung up on. This was the room where I found out a kid I knew from school, a teammate, had been killed in a car accident, the first moment I truly felt impermanent. This was the room where I learned I'd gotten rejected by a college. This was the room where I got rejected by another college. Then another college. I got rejected by a lot of colleges.
Things improved. I left this room and snuck into a school (thank you, sleepy admissions officer at the University of Wisconsin–Madison!) and found a job and experienced love and heartbreak and finally met the woman I would marry, Bessie. I'd gotten sick with cancer and recovered to the point that I'd forgotten it happened. I'd been blessed to get work that let me fly around the world and meet people I'd never dreamed of meeting and a handful of schnooks I hoped never to meet again. I'd been dispatched to Super Bowls, Summer and Winter Olympics, World Cups, and the snooty-pants golf Masters. If you're not impressed by any of that, I once saw a photograph of a bird on top of a mouse on top of a cat on top of a dog.
I sat awake in that room and all of that backstory rushed over me. I had been so happy and so unhappy here....