(a chapter within Wonderbread Man, novella, foundation for a film)
A story, a good one, has a hero. This tale may not have what you are looking for in a gallant, enigmatic, stalwart, patient man. His virtues, for heroes have, above all else, virtues can be said to be quite pedestrian. He has no nobility. No wealth or struggle. No progression from a climb or fall from grace or station. No protagonist to meet face to face, to out battle, out think, out maneuver, up end. He has no tragic flaw like Achilles who we know was dipped and thereby cloaked to be impervious in battle save for the place where the Gods clasped their two thumbs and forefingers just behind his ankles. He has no hubris, or over weening pride and shares no use for calling out his foes, vandals, in order to aggrandize or extol himself.
This can not be a bildungsroman, or novel about a journey of self discovery or coming of age for he knew quite young what he would be. London, good old Jack, would have no time for it without blustering wind storms, capsizing waves, frozen tundra, or a one-eyed Jack to get in the way.
He, too, has no tragic love affair or concubine to bring him from one social or aristocratic circle or strata down the Charybdian spiral (from Charybdis, the monster, that of a whirlpool in the straights of Messina that upended Odysseus and crew as you may remember), or has he been visited by any ghosts to revenge a death, upset a throne, frighten a virtuous murderer, or take him on a candle lit journey in a town or down a cavern to provoke his miserable life.
Perhaps, he is an anti-hero? One who has none of the qualities emboldened to most of literature but rather, more of a grotesque creature, where you, the reader hold a higher ground and dynamism. Is this the story of a Cockroach? A disfigured man? “Perhaps, my mother died today, or perhaps yesterday, I don’t know.” Shall he be likeable? Distant? Snarky? Abrasive? Or is he just plain. For what is the story of one person in a world of 7.173 Billion? 1 of 313.9 million US citizens or Americans whatever you want to call them? 1 of 8.186 million Virginians? 1 of 323,000 Chesterfield County residents? 1 in 23,226 Midlothians? 1 in 858 in my housing development? 1 in 26 of my current living relative namesakes? 1 in 7 of my family? 1 in 4 of my home? 1 in 2 in my couple? 1 in 1. 1 of 1.
So this is where the story starts. This is where he speaks:
Perhaps, I am more like Narcissus, heroic enough to love himself to death as he stared into his bold and chiseled reflection in a pond. Narcissus’ own egotism turned him into a pale water flower, nourished by the agent of his own demise. So this is my tale which I stare and contort my visage against the backdrop of my own reflections.
The story of our generation is that of numbers, figures, desolate and whole, decimaled and punctuated, living in a universe of their own calculation, a city of gargantuan speed and agility resting on the head of a pin. This is why I wish to share my time in the humanities before I drove a truck of 1200 loaves of soft, white bread in dotted cellophane wrappers each day into grocery store, back alley bays.