Straight literary fiction.

OWED TO JOE

It’s amazing. Utterly amazing. I mean this thing called self-righteousness. I mean, how else can one believe that they know everything about everything? How else can they believe that they know what is best for others? Or what someone else should do as work?

Take Joe for instance. Always trying to tell those around him what to believe, what to do, how to act…and yet, never quite measuring up to his own measurements. It wasn’t that he didn’t work. No, it was more a case of when God came knocking, he ignored the call. In other words, when Joe had a chance to become successful, he was too afraid to take hold and try. He turned away, thinking he couldn’t afford to follow his calling.

In the end, he couldn’t afford not to. He lost out on an opportunity of a lifetime just because he didn’t want to go through a time of leaner pickings, so to speak, in order to taste the sweetness that is success. He was too hung up on his ideal of working for someone else to achieve your own success. An ideal that became the undoing of his health and family.

And his idea of family? Well, I am not sure he knew what family was supposed to be. I do know that he believed you could raise two kids and have a wife and still do it all on a single person’s budget. Another fallacy that he still could not shake even after he had been forced, by his failing health, to retire. He believed that children could raise themselves. They should be perfect from day-one. They should never have better than him. Never be allowed to be better than their station in their life.

Berate them. Tear their little psyches apart. Be harsh with them. Yell at them. Treat them like dirt. Expect them to grow into copies of yourself. They’ll still grow into respectable human beings.

But, what if you, yourself, are not a respectable (or respected) person? What if your name, both first and last, is synonymous with being less than desirable? What then? How is one to become respectable when the one who is supposed to be their role model is not respected or respectable? Can it actually be done?

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