She called me the leper messiah, but told me I didn’t know it. That sort of shit is big stuff when you’re only 18 years old. At the time I didn’t have the appropriate reference, but she was most definitely a total blam-blam.
Sarah … shit, I can’t remember her last name. But I know it was Sarah with an H, and I knew that she lived in Ardmore.
She didn’t really let me hook it up, but she did let me get close enough to teach me a few things. These were things that were reinforced over the next couple of years by girls – some of whom were actually women – who thought I was “cute” and “smart” but still a “boy.” They were:
1) The single most important thing you can do to a woman is make her laugh. Period, that’s it. If she’s laughing, you’re on your way.
2) Women like guys – and that means boys and men – who are intelligent, that don’t all day talk about baseball or some other sport. Of course, guys know that it is actually okay to talk about baseball all day – National League baseball, of course – but it’s best to pick your spots. And I’ve found that intelligence (or knowledge) is best acquired in one of the following two ways: reading and traveling. Do both of these, and you can’t help but give yourself more game. Also, if you live Back East anytime before the age of 25, say you’re from California – and, yes, you do surf.
3) Find the right balance between emoting and not being a pussy.
4) Love your mother.
So I found my sense of humor, somewhat sarcastic yet self-deprecating, and I read any book I could get my hands on. Everything from Tom Clancy to Genet and Camus, Erica Jong and James Joyce and James Dickey. Sonnets, soliloquies and sweeping epics. Descartes, Dostoyevsky, Dexter; Ehrenreich, Engells and Eudora Welty. Baldwin, Bronte, Bashevis Singer.
You get the idea.
I read a lot.
And, of course, I loved my mom like I’d never love another.